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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Sweet Biscuits and Snack Bars - UK 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

The UK market for sweet biscuits was worth £1.83 billion in 2019. Despite concerns about sugar, consumers are continuing to snack on sweet biscuits, reflecting the snacking culture in the UK and the appeal of sweet biscuits as treats despite strong competition from other snacks


The sentiment that it is OK to eat small amounts of sweet biscuits every day as part of a balanced diet is ensuring continued purchasing. Portion-sized packs, a focus on quality over quantity and more seasonal launches, including new flavour variants, will all help encourage people to keep buying.

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.

The permissibility of eating small amounts of sweet biscuits each day is continuing to support sweet biscuit sales. Portion-size packs, healthier biscuits, seasonal lines and a quality over quantity approach all offer opportunities for brands in biscuits, but familiar favourites offering crunchy biscuits and chocolate coatings will remain most popular Richard Caines
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Value sales of sweet biscuits and cereal bars keep growing
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
            • Consumers continuing to snack on sweet biscuits
              • Figure 2: UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, by segment, 2018 and 2019
            • Lack of progress on sugar reduction in biscuits
              • Snacking culture drives eating of biscuits
                • Companies and brands
                  • McVitie’s strengthens lead in sweet biscuits
                    • Figure 3: Leading brands’ shares in the sweet biscuits market, by value, 2018/19*
                  • Own-label makes gains in chocolate biscuit bars
                    • Figure 4: Leading brands’ shares in the chocolate biscuit bars market, by value, 2018/19*
                  • Belvita increases sales through healthier focus
                    • Figure 5: Leading brands’ shares in the breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars market, by value, 2019/20*
                  • Limited L/N/R sugar activity
                    • New flavour twists a continuing feature of NPD
                      • Increase in healthy claims in cereal/snack bars
                        • The consumer
                          • Nine in 10 Brits eat sweet biscuits
                            • Figure 6: Frequency of eating sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, December 2019
                          • Targeting out-of-home eating important
                            • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
                              • Figure 7: Purchase drivers when choosing sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, January 2020
                            • Familiar favourites tick the right boxes
                              • Plenty of interest in healthier biscuits
                                • Figure 8: Attributes most sought in the perfect sweet biscuit, January 2020
                              • Chocolate confectionery extensions have strong appeal
                                • A quarter interested in cookie dough for snacking or baking
                                  • Figure 9: Interest in different product features in sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, December 2019
                                • Daily sweet biscuits permissible for seven in 10 eaters
                                  • Replacing biscuits with cereal/snack bars seen as an easy healthy swap
                                    • Figure 10: Attitudes towards sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, January 2020
                                  • Me-time and sharing occasions deserve limelight in marketing
                                    • Figure 11: Behaviours related to eating sweet biscuits, January 2020
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                    • Opportunity for healthier products and portion-sized packs
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Texture and flavour development needs to be central to NPD
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Promote cereal/snack bars as an easy healthy swap
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Value sales of sweet biscuits and cereal bars keep growing
                                                        • Snacking culture will keep people spending
                                                          • Sweet biscuits benefit from treating and sharing occasions
                                                            • Sweet biscuits to pass £1.99 billion in 2024
                                                              • Slowdown in growth for cereal bars
                                                                • Lack of progress on sugar reduction in biscuits
                                                                  • Sugar a big concern for consumers
                                                                    • Snacking culture drives eating of biscuits
                                                                      • Projected decline in number of young adults
                                                                        • Ageing population unlikely to benefit sales
                                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                          • Value sales of sweet biscuits and cereal bars keep growing
                                                                            • Figure 12: Total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                          • Snacking culture will keep people spending
                                                                            • Figure 13: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                          • Forecast methodology
                                                                          • Market Segmentation

                                                                            • Sweet biscuits benefit from treating and sharing occasions
                                                                              • Figure 14: Total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, 2014-24
                                                                            • Regular sweet biscuits are the segment’s growth engine
                                                                              • Figure 15: UK retail value and volume sales of sweet biscuits, by biscuits and chocolate biscuit bars, 2017-19
                                                                            • Segment to pass £1.99 billion in 2024
                                                                              • Figure 16: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, 2014-24
                                                                            • Slowdown in growth for cereal bars
                                                                              • Figure 17: Total UK retail value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                            • Segment to reach £771 million by 2024
                                                                              • Figure 18: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                            • Lack of progress on sugar reduction in biscuits
                                                                              • Sugar a big concern for consumers
                                                                                • Figure 19: Concerns about selected ingredients in food and non-alcoholic drinks, June 2019
                                                                              • Snacking culture drives eating of biscuits
                                                                                • Figure 20: Reasons for snacking, March 2019
                                                                              • Projected decline in number of young adults is bad news for the market
                                                                                • Figure 21: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2014-24
                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                              • McVitie’s strengthens lead in sweet biscuits
                                                                                • Own-label makes gains in chocolate biscuit bars
                                                                                  • Belvita increases sales through healthier focus
                                                                                    • Limited L/N/R sugar activity
                                                                                      • New flavour twists a continuing feature of NPD
                                                                                        • Increase in healthy claims in cereal/snack bars
                                                                                          • Cereal/snack bars entice shoppers with appealing flavours
                                                                                            • Mondelēz is the biggest advertiser on sweet biscuits
                                                                                              • McVitie’s and Cadbury Biscuits the most trusted brands
                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                • McVitie’s strengthens lead in sweet biscuits
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Leading brands’ sales in the sweet biscuits market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                • Own-label makes gains in chocolate biscuit bars
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Leading brands’ sales in the chocolate biscuit bars market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                • Belvita increases sales through healthier focus
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Leading brands’ sales in the breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars market, by value and volume, 2018/19 and 2019/20
                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                • Limited L/N/R sugar activity
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Examples of new launches in sweet biscuits making L/N/R sugar claims, 2019/20
                                                                                                  • Healthier biscuits still have a small presence
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Examples of new launches of healthier biscuits, 2019/20
                                                                                                    • New flavour twists a continuing feature of NPD
                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Examples of new launches in sweet biscuits with new flavour twists, 2019/20
                                                                                                      • New texture and flavour combinations adding to variety
                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Examples of new launches in sweet biscuits with different texture combinations, 2019
                                                                                                      • Soft bakes see more launch activity
                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Examples of new launches of soft bake products in sweet biscuits, 2019
                                                                                                      • Growing premium focus on NPD in own-label products
                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Examples of premium and luxury launches in sweet biscuits /cookies, 2019
                                                                                                      • Increase in healthy claims in cereal/snack bars
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Healthier claims in new launches in the UK retail snack/cereal/energy bars market, 2015-19
                                                                                                      • Cereal/snack bars entice shoppers with appealing flavours
                                                                                                        • Tempt them with chocolate
                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Examples of new launches in snack/cereal/energy bars with a focus on chocolate, 2019/20
                                                                                                        • Nuts feature in more launches
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Examples of new launches in snack/cereal/energy bars with peanuts or peanut butter, 2019/20
                                                                                                        • Bakery and dessert flavours add differentiation
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Examples of new launches in snack/cereal/energy bars with bakery or dessert flavours, 2019/20
                                                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                        • Adspend is split equally between biscuits and cereal bars/breakfast biscuits
                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sweet biscuits, shortbread, cereal bars and breakfast biscuits, by media type, 2016-19
                                                                                                        • Mondelēz is the biggest advertiser on sweet biscuits
                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sweet biscuits/ shortbread, by advertiser, 2019
                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sweet biscuits/ shortbread, by top brands, 2019
                                                                                                        • Cadbury Fingers highlights the kindness of sharing
                                                                                                          • Bahlsen launches ‘A Little Bit Fancy’ campaign
                                                                                                            • Lotus Biscoff focuses on link with coffee
                                                                                                              • McVitie’s ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign supports mental health
                                                                                                                • Belvita biggest advertiser in cereal bars and breakfast biscuits
                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cereal bars/breakfast biscuits, by advertiser, 2019
                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Figure 40: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cereal bars/breakfast biscuits, by top brands, 2019
                                                                                                                • Nakd launches first TV campaign
                                                                                                                  • Nestlé runs TV campaign for Yes! snack bars
                                                                                                                    • Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares targets parents of teens
                                                                                                                      • Nature Valley looks to get people outdoors
                                                                                                                        • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                        • Brand Research

                                                                                                                            • Brand map
                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Key metrics for selected brands, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • Brand attitudes: Cadbury seen most widely as worth paying more for
                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Attitudes, by brand, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • Brand personality: McVitie’s the most accessible brand
                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Brand personality – macro image, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • McVitie’s seen as the most traditional brand
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Brand personality – micro image, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                              • McVitie’s seen as offering good value
                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: User profile of McVitie’s, February 2020
                                                                                                                              • Cadbury Biscuits seen as most delicious and indulgent
                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: User profile of Cadbury Biscuits, February 2020
                                                                                                                              • Fox’s is most strongly a traditional and family brand
                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: User profile of Fox’s, February 2020
                                                                                                                              • Indulgence is Bahlsen’s biggest strength
                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: User profile of Bahlsen, February 2020
                                                                                                                              • Good value a key strength for Maryland
                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: User profile of Maryland, February 2020
                                                                                                                              • Oreo has least traditional image
                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: User profile of Oreo, February 2020
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                              • Nine in 10 Brits eat sweet biscuits
                                                                                                                                • Targeting out-of-home eating important
                                                                                                                                  • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
                                                                                                                                    • Familiar favourites tick the right boxes
                                                                                                                                      • Plenty of interest in healthier biscuits
                                                                                                                                        • Chocolate confectionery extensions have strong appeal
                                                                                                                                          • A quarter interested in cookie dough for snacking or baking
                                                                                                                                            • Daily sweet biscuits permissible for seven in 10 eaters
                                                                                                                                              • Replacing biscuits with cereal/snack bars seen as an easy healthy swap
                                                                                                                                                • Me-time and sharing occasions deserve limelight in marketing
                                                                                                                                                • Eating of Sweet Biscuits and Cereal/Snack Bars

                                                                                                                                                  • Nine in 10 Brits eat sweet biscuits
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Types of sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars eaten in the last 3 months, December 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • More than half of people eat sweet biscuits at least once a week
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Frequency of eating sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, December 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Where and How Sweet Biscuits and Cereal/Snack Bars Eaten

                                                                                                                                                  • Targeting out-of-home eating important for biscuits and cereal bars
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Where sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars were eaten in the last 3 months, December 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Six in 10 eat sweet biscuits with a hot drink
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: How sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars eaten in the last 3 months, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                • Purchase Drivers

                                                                                                                                                  • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
                                                                                                                                                    • Convenience and healthiness offer best scope for differentiation
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Purchase drivers when choosing sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Sweet Biscuit Preferences

                                                                                                                                                    • Familiar favourites tick the right boxes
                                                                                                                                                      • Crunchiness matters to three in ten
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Attributes most sought in the perfect sweet biscuit, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                      • Plenty of interest in healthier biscuits
                                                                                                                                                        • Not everyone likes biscuits too sweet
                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in Product Features

                                                                                                                                                          • Chocolate confectionery extensions have strong appeal
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Interest in different product features in sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, December 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Texture development offers a way of adding differentiation
                                                                                                                                                            • A quarter interested in cookie dough for snacking or baking
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Global examples of new launches of cookie dough for snacking, 2019/20
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Sweet Biscuits and Cereal/Snack Bars

                                                                                                                                                            • Daily sweet biscuits permissible for seven in 10 eaters
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Attitudes towards sweet biscuits and cereal/snack bars, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                            • Replacing biscuits with cereal/snack bars seen as an easy healthy swap
                                                                                                                                                              • Strong demand for a wider range of healthier biscuits
                                                                                                                                                              • Behaviours Related to Eating Sweet Biscuits

                                                                                                                                                                • ‘Me’ time and sharing occasions deserve limelight in marketing
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Behaviours related to eating sweet biscuits, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                • Seasonal ranges offer a boost to biscuit sales
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Total UK retail volume sales of sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Total UK retail volume sales of sweet biscuits, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Total UK retail volume sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the sweet biscuits market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the chocolate biscuit bars market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars market, by value and volume, 2018/19 and 2019/20
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Top claims in new launches in the UK retail sweet biscuits/cookies market, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Top companies in new launches in the UK retail sweet biscuits/cookies market, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Top claims in new launches in the UK retail snack/cereal/energy bars market, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Top companies in new launches in the UK retail snack/cereal/energy market, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: New launches in the UK retail sweet biscuits/cookies and snack/cereal/energy market, by sub-category, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 76: New launches in the UK retail snack/cereal/energy market, by flavour component sub-group, 2015-19

                                                                                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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