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UK Sweet & Nut Spreads Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Sweet & Nut Spreads 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?

Key points included

  • Green packaging initiatives resonate
  • Gut health messages hold potential for the category
  • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes

Covered in this report

This report covers all sweet spreads that can be used to spread on bread and toast for example, but can be used in many different ways, and includes:

  • Jams, marmalades and honey
  • Chocolate and hazelnut spreads (also includes caramel, toffee and marshmallow spreads)
  • Peanut butter and other nut butters
  • Syrup and treacle
  • Fruit curds

Sales through foodservice and catering outlets such as cafés, restaurants and canteens are excluded.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

Further innovation in no added and reduced-sugar products is essential in view of government reformulation targets and widespread consumer concerns over sugar. Where a lower sugar content results in a less sweet taste and more sophisticated flavour profile, this could also help companies retain users in the category for longer Alice Baker
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Sweet spreads volume sales remain resilient over 2014-19
              • Rising value sales and falling volumes projected for 2019-24
                • Figure 1: UK retail value sales of sweet and nut spreads, 2014-24
              • Peanut butter leads on value sales but jam/conserve leads on volumes
                • War on sugar continues
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Own-label continues to lead the market but sales fall in 2019
                      • Figure 2: Leading brands’ shares in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by value, 2018/19*
                    • Rise in no added sugar, high protein and vegan claims in 2018
                      • More crossover brands enter the sweet spreads market
                        • Advertising spend falls in 2018
                          • Hartley’s leads on value and Rowse on ethical perceptions
                            • The consumer
                              • Over eight in ten adults eat sweet or nut spreads
                                • Figure 3: Usage of sweet and nut spreads, by type, May 2019
                              • On bread/toast is the leading usage occasion for sweet spreads
                                • Figure 4: Usage occasions for selected types of sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                              • Dessert-inspired flavours and superfood ingredients attract interest
                                • Figure 5: Interest in innovation in sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                              • All-natural ingredients are most widely seen as worth paying more for
                                • Figure 6: Attributes seen as worth paying more for in sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                              • Sugar concerns surround the category
                                • Figure 7: Behaviours relating to sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                              • Palm oil is a deterrent to many
                                • Figure 8: Attitudes towards sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Companies must continue to promote usage occasions beyond bread
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Further NPD needed in reduced- and no added sugar products
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Ethical attributes are an underexplored opportunity
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Sweet spreads volume sales remain resilient over 2014-19
                                                    • Rising value sales and falling volumes projected for 2019-24
                                                      • Peanut butter leads on value sales but jam/conserve leads on volumes
                                                        • War on sugar continues
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Sweet spreads volume sales remain resilient over 2014-19 despite demonisation of sugar
                                                            • …but sugar concerns and changing eating habits limit growth
                                                              • Figure 9: UK retail value and volume sales of sweet and nut spreads, 2014-24
                                                            • Volume and value sales fall in 2019
                                                              • Rising value sales and falling volume sales projected for 2019-24
                                                                • Retailer price competition to curb the effects of inflation
                                                                  • Ageing population to hinder volume sales
                                                                    • Figure 10: UK retail value sales of sweet and nut spreads, 2014-24
                                                                    • Figure 11: UK retail value and volume sales of sweet and nut spreads, 2014-24
                                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                                  • Market Segmentation

                                                                    • Honey leads on value sales but jam/conserve leads on volumes
                                                                      • Figure 12: Value and volume sales of sweet and nut spreads, by segment, 2017-19
                                                                    • Sweet spreads see falling or flat volume sales over 2018-19 due to decline in carrier products
                                                                      • Honey’s sales slip after years of growth
                                                                        • Nut butter trend runs out of steam
                                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                                          • War on sugar continues
                                                                            • Sweet spreads sector makes progress on sugar reduction…
                                                                              • …but no added sugar and low/reduced sugar claims remain niche
                                                                                • Natural sugar of fruit drives up sugar levels
                                                                                  • Grey area around whether no added sugar claims can be made on products with sweeteners
                                                                                    • Various factors affect sweet spreads prices
                                                                                      • Sweet spreads’ high import reliance makes future trade relations crucial
                                                                                        • Seasonal workers are important for fruit harvests
                                                                                          • Weather extremes of 2018 and 2019 affect fruit production
                                                                                            • Volatility in cocoa prices affects chocolate products
                                                                                              • Demographic changes in the UK to hinder the category
                                                                                                • Ageing population offers little support for sweet spreads…
                                                                                                  • …with the exception of marmalade
                                                                                                    • Slowing growth in the child population to limit sales growth
                                                                                                      • Weakness of carrier products impedes the category
                                                                                                        • Ongoing decline of pre-packed bread pushes down sweet spreads volume sales
                                                                                                          • …as does the fall in home baking
                                                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                            • Own-label continues to lead the market but sales fall in 2019
                                                                                                              • Rise in no added sugar, high protein and vegan claims in 2018
                                                                                                                • More crossover brands enter the sweet spreads market
                                                                                                                  • Advertising spend falls in 2018
                                                                                                                    • Hartley’s leads on value and Rowse on ethical perceptions
                                                                                                                    • Market Share

                                                                                                                      • Own-label loses out to overall decline in the market
                                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by value and volume, 2016-17-2018/19
                                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by value and volume, 2016-17-2018/19
                                                                                                                      • Nutella shifts away from promotions on larger formats
                                                                                                                      • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                        • Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Tesco take the top spots on launch activity
                                                                                                                          • Figure 15: New product launches in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by top 10 companies, 2015-19 (sorted by 2018)
                                                                                                                        • Tesco draws on its history with new tertiary brand
                                                                                                                          • Lidl looks to rival Lotus with new biscuit spreads
                                                                                                                            • M&S experiments with botanical and seasonal flavours
                                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Examples of own-label sweet spreads launches, 2018
                                                                                                                            • Confiture and fruit spreads lead on launch activity in 2018
                                                                                                                              • Honey shows strongest rate of growth in launches over 2015-18
                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: New product launches in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by segment
                                                                                                                              • No added sugar claims grow but remain niche
                                                                                                                                • Brands and retailers take various approaches to cut sugar in their products
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Examples of no added sugar and low/reduced sugar sweet spreads launches with sweeteners, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Examples of no added sugar and low/reduced sweet spreads launches referencing ‘naturally occurring fruit sugars only’ or increased fruit content, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                • High/added protein claims grow, although from a low base
                                                                                                                                  • Nut butter launches supplement high protein claims with additional health claims for all-round healthy positioning
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Examples of nut butter launches with high/added protein claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Grenade enters the category with high-protein chocolate spreads
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Example of Grenade high protein chocolate spread range, 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Sprouted wheat product is promoted as a healthier alternative to chocolate spread
                                                                                                                                    • Leading and niche brands experiment with fortified products
                                                                                                                                      • Rowse claims UK first with Vitamin C fortified honey
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Rowse launches Vitamin C fortified honey, 2018
                                                                                                                                      • Cereal brand launches high-fibre syrup with digestive health claims
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: High-fibre syrup launch from Troo, 2018
                                                                                                                                      • Smaller brands launch vegan honey alternatives
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Examples of vegan honey alternatives, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                      • Ethical claims are rare in sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                        • Organic brands highlight their sustainable practices
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Examples of organic sweet spreads launches referencing sustainable farming methods, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • New honey brand puts the focus on bee welfare
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Honey brand emphasises its high animal welfare, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • No/sustainable palm oil claims rise in 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Organic brands lead on no/sustainable palm oil claims in 2018/19
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Examples of organic chocolate spread launches with ’palm oil free’ labels, 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Nut butters supplement no/sustainable palm oil claims with health claims
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Examples of nut butter launches combining no/sustainable palm oil claims with health claims, 2018
                                                                                                                                          • More crossover brands enter the sweet spreads category
                                                                                                                                            • Gü and Lindt bring a premium element to the chocolate spreads category
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Chocolate spread products from Lindt and Gü, 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Philadelphia with Milka offers potential chilled rival to chocolate spread
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Philadelphia with Milka offers a potential chilled rival to chocolate spread
                                                                                                                                            • Free-from brands explore chocolate and caramel spreads…
                                                                                                                                              • …including breadstick/biscuit-dip products
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Examples of chocolate/caramel spread products from free-from brands, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                              • Marmite extends into sweet spreads with peanut butter
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Marmite extends into sweet spreads with peanut butter
                                                                                                                                              • Pinkster launches jam made with leftover raspberries from its gin-making process
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Craft gin brand uses leftover raspberries to make jam, 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Brands and retailers innovate with flavours
                                                                                                                                                • Cocktail-inspired flavours appeal especially to under-35s
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Examples of sweet spreads launches with alcohol-infused/cocktail-inspired flavours, 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Duerr’s launches new flavours and links up with artists
                                                                                                                                                  • Niche brands experiment with trendy ingredients
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Examples of sweet spreads launches with on-trend ingredients, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                  • Whole Earth draws inspiration from the coffee category
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Whole Earth draws inspiration from the coffee category, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                  • Advertising spend falls in 2018
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sweet and nut spreads, 2015-19 (sorted by 2018)
                                                                                                                                                  • Rowse praises honey as a natural wonder…
                                                                                                                                                    • …and urges people to help save the bees
                                                                                                                                                      • Ferrero promotes Nutella’s suitability for various seasonal occasions
                                                                                                                                                        • Pancake Day campaign repeated over 2017-19
                                                                                                                                                          • Back-to-school campaign portrays Nutella as taking the stress out of school mornings
                                                                                                                                                            • Christmas social media campaign positions Nutella as central to family life
                                                                                                                                                              • Meridian gives out free cookies in experiential campaign
                                                                                                                                                                • Palm oil controversy reignites
                                                                                                                                                                  • Iceland Christmas advert portrays palm oil as destroying the rainforest
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Index of Google searches in the UK with ‘palm oil’ as the subject, August 2018-July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Ferrero defends its palm oil sourcing via YouTube
                                                                                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                    • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Key metrics for selected brands, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand attitudes: Hartley’s is most widely seen as good value
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Attitudes, by brand, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand personality: Nutella scores highest on the fun factor
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Brand personality – Macro image, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hartley’s has a traditional and family image
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Brand personality – Micro image, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                          • Nutella is the most recommended brand
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: User profile of Nutella, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Bonne Maman Conserves is seen as high quality and (somewhat) special
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: User profile of Bonne Maman Conserves, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Rowse is most widely seen as natural and ethical
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: User profile of Rowse, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Hartley’s Jam has a traditional and family image
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: User profile of Hartley’s Jam, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Under-25s have the most favourable views of Sun-Pat’s healthiness
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: User profile of Sun-Pat, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                          • Over eight in ten adults eat sweet or nut spreads
                                                                                                                                                                            • On bread/toast is the leading usage occasion for sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                              • Dessert-inspired flavours and superfood ingredients attract interest
                                                                                                                                                                                • All-natural ingredients are most widely seen as worth paying more for
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sugar concerns surround the category
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Palm oil is a deterrent to many
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Usage of Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Over eight in ten adults eat sweet or nut spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jam/conserve has the highest usage
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Usage of sweet and nut spreads, by type, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Under-35s and parents are the core users of sweet and nut spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Usage frequency for sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Youth and family bias is especially pronounced for some sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Marmalade usage peaks among over-55s
                                                                                                                                                                                            • 45% of adults use only one or two types of sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Repertoire of sweet and nut spreads eaten/used, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Parents and under-35s have the most varied repertoires
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Usage Occasions for Selected Types of Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                              • On bread/toast is the leading usage occasion for sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Usage occasions for selected types of sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Jam/conserve brands look to encourage usage beyond bread
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Examples of jam/conserves with on-pack serving suggestions, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Honey benefits from the growth in hot cereals
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Honey also leads on usage in drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Link-ups with supermarkets can help encourage use in cooking/baking
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Interest in Innovation in Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Dessert-inspired flavours appeal especially to under-25s and parents…
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Interest in innovation in sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Niche brands explore dessert flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Selection of curds by The Cherry Tree*, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: International example of a sweet spread with a dessert-inspired flavour
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Dessert brand Gü enters the sweet spreads category
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • …as does chocolate spread with additions
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: examples of chocolate spreads with additions, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunities for link-ups with biscuit brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: International examples of chocolate spreads with biscuit pieces, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Seasonal flavours are an underexplored opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sweet spreads with superfood ingredients appeal to one in five
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • High-fruit spreads are well-placed to tap into interest in superfoods
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Niche brands launch fruit spreads with chia seeds, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • European brands experiment with turmeric and matcha tea
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: International examples of sweet spreads with superfood ingredients, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Companies must consider consumers’ divided opinions on superfoods
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attributes Seen as Worth Paying More for in Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Multiple options for companies to encourage trading up
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Attributes seen as worth paying more for in sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • All natural ingredients are the top attribute people would pay more for
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ethical ingredients appeal to a quarter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Farmers’ pay guarantees should appeal…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • …as should jams and marmalades made from surplus fruit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • European honey brands emphasise their care for bees
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: International examples of honey launches highlighting their care for bee welfare and preserving the bee population, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lemon curds made with free-range eggs could make this aspect more tangible
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • High fruit/nut/cocoa content appeals to one in five
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Explain the purpose of other ingredients in sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Behaviours Relating to Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunities for sweet spreads brands to extend into sweet snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Extending into snacks could help sweet spreads appeal during on-the-go occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Behaviours relating to sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Snacks could also help marmalade attract younger users
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand extensions from sweet spreads brands are rare
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Examples of sweet snack launches from sweet spreads brands, 2017-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sugar concerns surround the category
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Higher concerns over sugar among over-65s helps to explain less frequent usage of sweet spreads
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Taste trumps healthiness for many people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Need for companies making sugar reductions to reassure consumers on taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Allow consumers a say in the reformulation process
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: German supermarket invites shoppers to vote on sugar reduction, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Anti-plastic movement could see some brands losing sales
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Attitudes towards sweet and nut spreads, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Environmentally-friendly packaging claims are widespread in sweet spreads, but little real innovation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Examples of sweet spreads launches promoting their sustainable packaging, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Manufacturers need to strike the right balance on convenience and the environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Palm oil is a deterrent for many
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Use of palm oil is widespread, but no/sustainable palm oil claims rise in 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tangible details of support for the environment should boost the appeal of spreads without palm oil…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • …and of those using sustainable palm oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: International examples of chocolate spreads giving specific details on sustainable palm oil sourcing, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Forecast of UK sales of sweet and nut spreads, by value, best- and worst-case, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Forecast of UK sales of sweet and nut spreads, by volume, best- and worst-case, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Value and volume sales of sweet and nut spreads, by segment, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: New product launches in the UK sweet and nut spreads market, by top 20 claims, 2015-19 (sorted by 2018)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Usage Occasions for Selected Types of Sweet and Nut Spreads

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Repertoire of usage occasions for selected types of sweet and nut spreads, May 2019