Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

UK Kid's Snacking Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Kids' Snacking market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report examines the behaviour and attitudes of UK parents of children aged 7-15 and UK children aged 7-15 in relation to snacking.

Key points included

  • Healthier snacks that kids like will gain substantial following
  • Permissibility will keep unhealthy snacks on the menu for kids
  • NPD and introductory promotions are a necessity in the snacks market
  • Single-serve snacks at risk of backlash over packaging waste

What you need to know

Nearly all parents buy snacks for children, and most buy an array of indulgent and healthy snacks. With most children aged 7-15 eating snacks two or more times a day, this shows the importance of kids’ snacking occasions to the UK food market.

Healthy snacks that kids like will gain a substantial following. While parents put marked weight to health-related factors in kids’ snacks, they also attach high importance to finding snacks their child likes. Half of parents agree it is hard to get children to eat healthier snacks. Strong demand for healthier versions of popular children’s snacks and smaller-sized, single-portion packs stems from these conflicting priorities.

NPD is a necessity in the snacks market, catering for the very strong interest among parents and children in trying new snacks. Pester power is a big influence on snack buying, with sales benefiting from parents and children shopping together, emphasising the importance of appealing packaging and high instore visibility in making an impact at point of sale.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Richard Caines, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

That efforts to limit the amount of snacks children eat are near universal and parents are switched onto the importance of snacks being healthy is welcome news for PHE and indicates that the industry’s efforts to improve the healthiness of their products will appeal. Healthier versions of popular children’s snacks and smaller portion sizes for children are key means for snacks to get on parents’ shopping lists, but new products also have to appeal to kids on taste. Richard Caines
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Child population growth set to slow down
              • Childhood obesity a major health issue
                • PHE advises two 100-calorie snacks a day
                  • School lunchboxes drive demand for kids’ snacks
                    • Packaging waste set to become bigger issue
                      • Companies and brands
                        • Products for children make up a small share of snack launches
                          • Seasonal chocolate and fruit snacks see most kids’ claims
                            • Half of children’s launches have no additives/preservatives
                              • Products tapping into 5-a-day interest
                                • The consumer
                                  • Buying of snacks for kids is almost universal
                                    • Figure 1: Foods typically bought for children to snack on, August 2018
                                  • Seven in 10 parents buy snacks for school
                                    • Children’s preferences are parents’ top consideration
                                      • Figure 2: Factors most important when choosing snacks for children, August 2018
                                    • Most parents buy snacks both for children specifically and for whole family to share
                                      • Eight in 10 parents like to buy new snacks for children to try
                                        • Parents try to limit the number of unhealthy snacks kids eat
                                          • Figure 3: Behaviours related to buying snacks for children, August 2018
                                        • Strong interest in healthier versions of popular kids’ snacks
                                          • Figure 4: Attitudes towards kids’ snacking, August 2018
                                        • Majority of kids snack at least two times a day
                                          • Figure 5: What children think makes a good snack, August 2018
                                        • Kids are big buyers of snacks in their own right
                                          • Figure 6: Snack eating behaviours and preferences of children, August 2018
                                        • What we think
                                        • Issues and Insights

                                          • Healthier snacks that kids like will gain substantial following
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Permissibility will keep unhealthy snacks on the menu for kids
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                      • NPD and introductory promotions are a necessity in the snacks market
                                                        • The facts
                                                          • The implications
                                                            • Single-serve snacks at risk of backlash over packaging waste
                                                              • The facts
                                                                • The implications
                                                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Child population growth set to slow down
                                                                    • Childhood obesity a major health issue
                                                                      • Sugar reduction targets focus on nine categories
                                                                        • PHE advises two 100-calorie snacks a day
                                                                          • Restrictions on advertising of HFSS foods to children
                                                                            • School lunchboxes drive demand for kids’ snacks
                                                                              • Less than one in six children reaching 5-a-day target
                                                                                • Packaging waste set to become bigger issue
                                                                                  • After school is the biggest time for kids’ snacking
                                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                                    • Growth in population of children and teens set to slow down
                                                                                      • Figure 7: Trends in the age structure of the UK population (0-15-year-olds), by age, 2013-23
                                                                                    • Childhood obesity a major health issue
                                                                                      • Sugar reduction targets focus on nine categories
                                                                                        • Calorie reduction gets a bigger focus in 2018
                                                                                          • PHE advises two 100-calorie snacks a day
                                                                                            • Restrictions on food advertising targeted at children
                                                                                              • New restrictions on online advertising of HFSS foods
                                                                                                • Further rules mooted
                                                                                                  • School lunchboxes drive demand for kids’ snacks
                                                                                                    • Most parents buy snacks for school for kids
                                                                                                      • Many schools have adopted healthy lunchbox policies
                                                                                                        • Less than one in six children reaching 5-a-day target
                                                                                                          • Figure 8: Proportion of children aged 5-15 eating five portions or more of fruit and vegetables a day, 2006-16
                                                                                                        • Packaging waste set to become bigger issue for snack foods
                                                                                                          • Plastic waste makes headlines
                                                                                                            • Consumers have high expectations that packaging be sustainable
                                                                                                              • After school is the biggest time for kids’ snacking
                                                                                                                • Figure 9: Time of day children eat snacks, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                              • Products for children a small share of launches
                                                                                                                • Seasonal chocolate and fruit snacks see most kids’ claims
                                                                                                                  • Half of children’s launches have no additives/preservatives
                                                                                                                    • Spotlight on sugar spurs leap ahead in claims
                                                                                                                      • Products tapping into 5-a-day interest
                                                                                                                        • Few kids’ snacks tapping into interest in vitamins/minerals
                                                                                                                          • All-natural claims can increase the appeal of snacks
                                                                                                                            • New varieties tap kids’ interest in trying new products
                                                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                              • Products for children aged 5-12 make up a small share of snack launches
                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Proportion of new launches assigned children (aged 5-12) claims in snack categories*, 2013-18
                                                                                                                              • Seasonal chocolate and fruit snacks see most kids claims
                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Breakdown of new launches assigned children (aged 5-12) claims in snack categories*, by sub-category, 2014-18
                                                                                                                              • Half of children’s launches have no additives/preservatives
                                                                                                                                • Figure 12: New launches assigned children (aged 5-12) claims in snack categories*, by claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                                              • Low/no added sugar claims increasing
                                                                                                                                • Spotlight on sugar spurs leap ahead in claims
                                                                                                                                  • Fruit snacks lead in sugar claims, leading brands reduce sugar in treats
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making L/N/R sugar claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Products tapping into 5-a-day interest
                                                                                                                                    • 5-a-day is high on parents’ radar
                                                                                                                                      • Fruit purees and veg snacks explore 5-a-day claims
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making 5-a-day claims, 2017 and 2018
                                                                                                                                      • More free-from claims in kids’ launches
                                                                                                                                        • Allergen-free claims shoot up in kids’ snacks
                                                                                                                                          • Allergen-free label widely adopted by naturally allergen-free products
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making gluten-free claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Few kids’ snacks tapping into interest in vitamins/minerals
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making vitamin/mineral fortified claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity for more focus on fibre content
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories referencing fibre claims, 2017 and 2018
                                                                                                                                          • All-natural claims can increase the appeal of snacks
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making all-natural claims, 2017 and 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Little reference made to number of calories
                                                                                                                                            • Balancing convenience against packaging waste
                                                                                                                                              • Pouches deliver portability but are hard to recycle
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 19: Examples of children’s launches in snack categories making convenient packaging claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Single-portion packs add to packaging waste
                                                                                                                                                • Green packaging claims leap ahead
                                                                                                                                                  • New varieties tap kids’ interest in trying new products
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Examples of range extensions in children’s launches in snack categories, 2018
                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                  • Buying of snacks for kids is almost universal
                                                                                                                                                    • Seven in 10 parents buy snacks for school
                                                                                                                                                      • Children’s preferences are parents’ top consideration
                                                                                                                                                        • Contributing to 5-a-day matters to two in five
                                                                                                                                                          • Most parents buy snacks both for children specifically and for whole family to share
                                                                                                                                                            • Eight in 10 parents like to buy new snacks for children to try
                                                                                                                                                              • Parents try to limit the number of unhealthy snacks kids eat
                                                                                                                                                                • Strong interest in healthier versions of popular kids’ snacks
                                                                                                                                                                  • Majority of kids snack at least two times a day
                                                                                                                                                                    • Kids are big buyers of snacks in their own right
                                                                                                                                                                    • Foods Bought for Children to Snack On

                                                                                                                                                                      • Buying of snacks for kids is almost universal
                                                                                                                                                                        • Sweet treats remain popular snacks
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Foods typically bought for children to snack on, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                        • Nine in 10 parents buy savoury snacks for kids
                                                                                                                                                                          • Fresh fruit is another popular snack option, dried fruit lags
                                                                                                                                                                            • Dried fruit/nuts lag in popularity
                                                                                                                                                                              • Most parents buy kids a wide range of snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Number of different types of food typically bought by parents for children to snack on, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                            • Where Children Eat Snacks

                                                                                                                                                                              • Seven in 10 parents buy snacks for school
                                                                                                                                                                                • Many schools ban unhealthy snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Where snacks bought for children are eaten, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                • School snacks fuel demand for convenient packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Out-of-home and out-of-school snacking also important
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Factors Influencing Choice of Snacks for Children

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Children’s preferences are parents’ top consideration
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Taste is key for winning kids over
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Factors most important when choosing snacks for children, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Low/no added sugar among top health-related factors, but only of interest to minority
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Low/no added sugar beat 100-calorie claims among parents
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Contributing to 5-a-day matters to two in five, vitamins to one in three
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Highlighting vitamins/minerals gives added appeal among a minority
                                                                                                                                                                                              • All-natural ingredients sway one in three
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A third of parents attach importance to single-portion packs
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Few parents are acting on PHE calorie advice for snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Behaviours Related to Buying Snacks for Children

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Most parents buy some snacks just for children and some for whole family
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Behaviours related to buying snacks for children, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Eight in 10 parents like to buy new snacks for children to try
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Price promotions sway eight in 10 parents
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Parents try to limit the number of unhealthy snacks kids eat
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Weekends are key time for relaxing the health efforts
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Kids’ Snacking

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Strong interest in healthier versions of popular kids’ snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Portion control is a key means to drive permissibility
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Attitudes towards kids’ snacking, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Most parents struggle to ‘sell’ healthier snacks to kids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Vast majority of parents think snacks are important to keep children’s energy up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Whitworths Bright Little Nuts range, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Frequency of Kids’ Snacking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Majority of kids snack at least two times a day
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Frequency of kids’ snacking, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • What Makes a Good Snack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Taste leads but snacks keeping them full is important to four in 10 kids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tasting good is top factor making a good snack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Four in 10 kids want filling snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 14-15-year-olds give more weight to satiety
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: What children think makes a good snack, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Being healthy is much less important to kids than taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fun positioning can help sales of kids’ snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Children’s Snack Eating Behaviours and Preferences

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Number of different snacking situations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Snack eating behaviours and preferences of children, August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kids are big buyers of snacks in their own right
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Most kids would want less packaging on snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations, and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology