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Super snackers

The boundary between meals and snacks is blurring. So says Colette Noé, senior director for consumer and market insights at Pladis. "Most people understand a meal to be influenced by cultural traditions around timing, setting and specific food groups. Snacks, on the other hand, are highly personalised and variable mini meals." And as with most things, it's millennials who have a lot of influence over the UK snacking industry. Noé calls them the 'taste makers', saying they make much quicker purchases and buy fewer groceries online than you might think.

Our national pastime

The average person in the UK now eats crisps, nuts or popcorn seven times a week, making us the largest (possibly literally) snackers in Europe. This news comes courtesy of Channel 4's recent documentary called Secrets of our Favourite Snacks. For the show, Kantar spoke to 11,000 people about their snacking habits. It found that the UK's snacking hotspot was the North West, where people were the most frequent buyers, and 8pm-10pm was the most popular time to indulge. And their favourite flavour? Good old cheese or cheese & onion.

Crisp and spry

The crisps and snacks market in the UK is in slight growth (up 0.8%) making it worth some £3.3bn (Kantar Worldpanel data 52 weeks ending March 27, 2016). And although four out of every five pounds spent on crisps and snacks goes through the major grocery multiples, this still leaves 20% (over £600m-worth) through convenience stores.

Healthy appetite

If you're keen to stock some healthier snacks in your store as an alternative to the traditional fat-laden favourites, then you're in luck as more and more suppliers are launching into the market. And unlike in the past, these better-for-you snacks taste good too.

Watch and earn

Snacking in front of the TV has always been something of a national pastime for us Brits. But it became more of a planned event during the recession, when cash-strapped consumers swapped nights out for more nights in. You'd find family and friends gathered around TVs to watch the latest episodes of The X Factor and Strictly accompanied by plenty of drinks and snacks.

Go one better

According to Nielsen State of the Nation 2015 data, 'better for you' is now a significant category within snacking, with 60% of consumers actively looking for healthy options when they're shopping and 46% of UK households having bought healthier crisps and snacks in the past year.

Salt sellers

The UK is Europe's biggest crisp and snacks market, worth £2.2bn a year with us consuming 100 packets of crisps per person per year (Nielsen data). It's little wonder then that the new flavours and new formats keep coming.

Healthy sales

The term 'healthy snacking' could easily be deemed an oxymoron as snacking for many is a big bag of crisps in front of the telly. But concerns about obesity and fat and sugar content in food have encouraged the big snacks suppliers to come up with healthier alternatives to the fried potato crisp. Pepsico is a case in point. Yes, it gives us the UK's number one potato crisp in Walkers, but it has also been working hard to come up with more healthier alternatives.

Snack attack

It seems that consumers just can't help themselves when it comes to crisps and snacks. Despite the health lobbyists' best efforts, potato crisps, tortilla and corn snacks were consumed by 81.7% of UK adults last year, according to Key Note's Snack Foods 2014 report.

Better for you?

You just have to look at the success of online firm Graze, whose sales have doubled, to recognise the demand for healthy snacks. The company now delivers more than 300,000 Graze healthy snack boxes a week direct to consumers' homes.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 4 November 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East130.9367.90138.13126.75
East Midlands130.73139.73126.64
London130.73139.60127.04
North East129.5562.90137.10125.31
North West129.9963.90138.40126.48
Northern Ireland128.05133.57124.33
Scotland130.6059.30137.24126.23
South East131.4566.90139.66127.42
South West130.7674.90137.94126.68
Wales129.84136.06125.42
West Midlands130.4059.90137.63126.57
Yorkshire & Humber130.02139.47126.29

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