Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Snack, Nutrition And Performance Bars market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Snack, nutrition, and performance bars comprised one of the food categories to post sales declines in 2020 (dipping nearly 6%), hamstrung by a reduction in away-from-home activity for which bars typically shine. However, key drivers of the mature category remain strong and a rebound is forecast for 2021. Widespread interest in healthier snacks and functional foods as well as holistic healthy living trends should drive positive, stable growth through 2025. Opportunities will hinge on how suppliers respond to diverse, and sometimes competing, demands as consumers seek new flavors, healthy indulgence, functional benefits and high value propositions.

While category growth was slow but steady from 2014-19, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, dollar sales declined nearly 6%. While instance of bar consumption remained fairly steady in the wake of the pandemic, less expensive snack bars held tighter to gains than more premium, specialized performance, nutrition, and weight loss bars.

Mintel forecasts sales to rebound in 2021 and projects the category to resume fairly steady growth through 2025. Bars are well positioned with key demographics, such as 18-44 year olds and parents. Expanding consumption occasions and expanding low-sugar, all-natural, and plant-based protein bars can help appeal to these groups. Innovating in the domains of functional benefits, especially those related to immunity and other health benefits (heart, digestion, focus, stress reduction) can also expand the reach of bars and support ongoing market growth.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Food and Foodservice market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on snack, nutrition and performance bars
  • Role of bars in consumers’ overall diet
  • Reasons behind consumption changes in the category
  • Desired amounts of protein and sugar in bars
  • Snack market share.

Covered in this report

Brands: Regrained, Wolo, Purely Elixabeth, Brite Bites, Truth Bar, Bright Bar, IQ Bar, Jimmy!, Lupii, Orgain Organic, Clif Bar, Protein Puck, Kize, General Mills (Nature Valley, Läraba), Kellogg (Rice Krispies Treats, Nutri-Grain Bars, Kashi), Simply Good Foods, Kind, PepsiCo (Quaker), Millville, Happy Belly.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Beth Bloom, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven consumers to increase at-home cooking and snacking. While this has benefited most snack categories, it undercut those options oriented towards meal replacement and eating on the go. With re-emergence underway, bars are well positioned for a quick recovery and sustained five-year growth. In particular, bars have been at the forefront of BFY snacking trends, functional foods, and specialized diets, especially those featuring plant-based proteins, which can help consumers get on track with wellness.
Beth Bloom
Associate Director, US Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: Market context
            • Economic and other assumptions
            • Executive Summary

                • Top takeaways
                  • Market overview
                    • COVID-19 drives 2020 declines, but market poised for a rebound
                      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                    • Impact of COVID-19 on snack, nutrition and performance bars
                      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on snack, nutrition and performance bars, march 2021
                    • Challenges
                      • Pandemic leads to less on-the-go consumption
                        • Figure 3: Reasons for decreasing bar consumption, January 2021
                      • Value is a central challenge, especially as consumer confidence has dipped
                        • Figure 4: Barriers to purchase, January 2021
                      • Opportunities
                        • Bars can serve a range of functions across diverse occasions
                          • Figure 5: Role of bars in overall diet, January 2021
                        • Growth opportunities exist for base of engaged consumers
                          • Figure 6: Increased bar consumption, on the basis of gender, age, HH income and parental status, January 2021
                      • The Market – Key Takeaways

                        • Bar sales fall in 2020, but are forecast to rebound in 2021
                          • Snack bars buffer larger category loses; specialized bars struggle
                            • Demographic trends promise growth and suggest opportunities
                              • COVID-19 makes healthy eating and immunity a priority
                                • Bars to support plant-based diets, holistic health and sustainable practices
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                  • Dollar sales dip during the pandemic, but poised for a rebound
                                    • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                    • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                  • Key macroeconomic indicators
                                    • Figure 9: US. Unemployment, April 2018–September 2020
                                    • Figure 10: U.S. Consumer Confidence, January 2019–January 2021
                                  • Impact of COVID-19 snack, nutrition and performance bars
                                    • Figure 11: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on snack, nutrition and performance bars, march 2021
                                  • Opportunities and Challenges
                                    • Lockdown
                                      • Re-emergence
                                        • Recovery
                                          • COVID-19: US context
                                            • Learnings from the last recession
                                            • Segment Performance

                                              • Snack bars tread water amid the 2020 storm, other segments struggle
                                                  • Figure 12: Year-over-year dollar sales change of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, by segment, 2019-21 (fore)
                                                • “Other” channels expand share, brands must boost ecommerce relevance
                                                  • Figure 13: Total US sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, by channel, at current prices, 2018-20
                                              • Market Factors

                                                • Snack demand remains high amid pandemic; bars struggle with at-home focus
                                                  • Figure 14: Anticipated 2021 work situation, November 2020
                                                • COVID-19 has made healthy eating a higher priority for 42% of US adults…
                                                  • Figure 15: Change in priorities due to COVID-19, eating healthy, field date September 17-25 2020
                                                • …brought attention to the severity of the obesity epidemic
                                                  • Demographic trends suggest opportunities and challenges
                                                    • Figure 16: US Population by generation, 2015–25
                                                • Market Opportunities

                                                  • Immunity support in demand in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
                                                    • Figure 17: Percentage of functional product innovation containing an immunity support claim, 2014-21
                                                  • Expand functionality to support wider physical and mental benefits
                                                    • Figure 18: Functional ingredient experience and interest, by generation, December 2020
                                                  • Focus on plant-based proteins
                                                    • A more holistic approach to wellness, with equity and sustainable practices
                                                      • Figure 19: Clif Bar ad – Raising the Bar: CLIF Coffee Collection, 2020
                                                  • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                    • MULO sales fall in all segments, snack bar resilience is seen
                                                      • Kind is the only leader to post MULO gains in 2020
                                                        • General Mills and Kellogg’s see bright spots with indulgent treats
                                                          • High-protein, keto-friendly and indulgent offerings draw consumer interest
                                                          • Market Share

                                                            • Among six major suppliers, only Kind posts positive MULO sales growth
                                                              • General Mills leads the market, but loses share
                                                                • Kellogg’s indulgent Krispie Treats and Nutri-Grain bars do well, buoy sales
                                                                  • Clif Bar, PepsiCo, Simply Good Foods see sales dip and shares decline
                                                                    • Figure 20: Share of sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, by company, 52 weeks ending November 29, 2020
                                                                  • Sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars by company
                                                                    • Figure 21: Multi-outlet sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                                  • Snack bars appeal with affordable indulgence and fun, familiar tastes
                                                                    • Kind bars sees sales climb in 2020 with focus on low sugar, simple ingredients
                                                                      • Figure 22: Kind ad – be kind to yourself, 2020
                                                                      • Figure 23: Multi-outlet sales of snack bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                    • “Good value” and “fun” perceptions anchor snack bar appeal
                                                                      • Performance bars struggle with value
                                                                        • Performance bar leader Clif Bars continues to sponsor top athletes, promote sustained energy, and diversify offerings
                                                                          • Figure 24: Clif Bar ad – Sustained Energy Featuring Venus Williams, 2020
                                                                          • Figure 25: Clif Bar ad – Just Keep Going, 2020
                                                                        • Strongest performance bar sales are in protein-heavy bars
                                                                          • Figure 26: Multi-outlet sales of performance bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • Challenges to nutrition bars similar to those hampering performance bars
                                                                          • Figure 27: Multi-outlet sales of nutrition bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • High protein, high fiber, and breakfast focus poised for a rebound
                                                                          • Weight loss bars suffer from perceptions of being less natural, lower value
                                                                            • Figure 28: Multi-outlet sales of weight loss bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                          • Indulgent flavors, plant proteins, and Keto focus find favor
                                                                          • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                            • Two thirds of US adults purchase bars
                                                                              • Concerns about price are a key barrier to those who don’t buy bars
                                                                                • Protein and sugar content are top factors shaping bar choice
                                                                                  • Engaged bar consumers leaned in to the category during the pandemic
                                                                                    • Snacking remains prime occasion for eating bars
                                                                                    • Bar Purchase

                                                                                      • Two thirds of US adults purchase bars
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Bar purchase, January 2021
                                                                                      • Bar purchase is higher among men than women
                                                                                        • Figure 30: Bar purchase, by gender, January 2021
                                                                                      • Instance of purchase peaks among 25-34 year olds, drops among those 45+
                                                                                        • Figure 31: Bar purchase, by age, January 2021
                                                                                      • Parental status is a key driver of bar purchase
                                                                                        • Figure 32: Bar purchase, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                                    • Role of Bars in Overall Diet

                                                                                      • Bars play leading role as snacks, hunger satisfaction is key
                                                                                        • Figure 33: Role of bars in overall diet, January 2021
                                                                                      • Younger consumers use bars for a wider range of occasions and benefits
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Role of bars in overall diet, by age, January 2021
                                                                                      • Parents see bars as playing diverse, robust role in their family’s diet
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Role of bars in overall diet, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                                    • Barriers to Purchase

                                                                                      • Value is a prime concern to those who don’t buy bars
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Barriers to purchase, January 2021
                                                                                      • Price is stronger barrier for men, women are concerned about sugar
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Barriers to purchase, by gender, January 2021
                                                                                      • Older consumers cite a range of barriers to purchase
                                                                                        • Figure 38: Barriers to purchase, by age, January 2021
                                                                                    • Bar Attributes of Importance

                                                                                      • Protein and sugar content are top factors shaping bar choice
                                                                                        • Figure 39: Bar attributes of importance, January 2021
                                                                                      • Men more attentive to protein source, women to sugar content
                                                                                        • Figure 40: Bar attributes of importance, by gender, January 2021
                                                                                      • Concern with sugar, calories, artificial ingredients high among those 55+
                                                                                        • Figure 41: Bar attributes of importance, by age, January 2021
                                                                                      • Parents are less concerned with price, more focused on ingredients
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Bar attributes of importance, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                                    • Change in Bar Consumption

                                                                                      • A third of bar eaters increased their bar consumption in 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 43: changes in bar consumption in the past year, January 2021
                                                                                      • Engaged users turned to bars during the pandemic
                                                                                        • Figure 44: Increased bar consumption, by gender, age, HH income and parental status, January 2021
                                                                                      • Improved health profiles increased consumption
                                                                                        • Figure 45: Reasons for increasing bar consumption, January 2021
                                                                                      • Pandemic compromises the value of bars
                                                                                        • Figure 46: Reasons for decreasing bar consumption, January 2021
                                                                                    • Bar Consumption Occasions

                                                                                      • Snacking remains prime consumption occasion
                                                                                        • Figure 47: Bar consumption occasion – Nets, trended, November 2019 vs January 2021
                                                                                      • Half of bar eaters turn to bars for afternoon snacking
                                                                                        • Figure 48: Bar consumption occasion as snack, time of day, January 2021
                                                                                      • Breakfast stands out as key opportunity for meal replacement
                                                                                        • Figure 49: Bar consumption occasion, as part of or replacement of meal, January 2021
                                                                                    • Amount of Protein Sought in Bars

                                                                                      • More than half of bar buyers seek protein in the 5-14g range
                                                                                        • Figure 50: amount of protein sought in bars, January 2021
                                                                                      • Men seek more protein, with 54% seeking 10g-19g
                                                                                        • Figure 51: amount of protein sought in bars, by gender January 2021
                                                                                    • Amount of Sugar Sought in Bars

                                                                                      • Low sugar bars are widely sought
                                                                                        • Figure 52: amount of sugar sought in bars, January 2021
                                                                                      • Women drive demand for very-low-sugar bars
                                                                                        • Figure 53: amount of sugar sought in bars, by gender January 2021
                                                                                      • 18-34s more tolerant of higher sugar totals
                                                                                        • Figure 54: amount of sugar sought in bars, January 2021
                                                                                      • Parents, weighing diverse factors, may tolerate higher sugar content
                                                                                        • Figure 55: amount of sugar sought in bars, by parental status January 2021
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                        • Sales data
                                                                                          • Forecast
                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Total US retail sales and forecast of performance bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Total US retail sales and forecast of performance bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Total US retail sales and forecast of nutrition bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Total US retail sales and forecast of nutrition bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Total US retail sales and forecast of weight loss bars, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Total US retail sales and forecast of weight loss bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                    • Figure 65: US supermarket of snack, nutrition and performance bars, at current prices, 2015-20 (est)
                                                                                                    • Figure 66: US convenience store sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, at current prices, 2015-20 (est)
                                                                                                    • Figure 67: US sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars through other channels, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)

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