When it comes to snacking, the choices are incredible and so they should be given research that says snacking in the UK has near universal appeal, with 99.8% of us indulging in snacks.

A Harris Interactive survey, conducted last year, found that 71% of 18-35-year-olds snack at least once per day, with men three times more likely to snack more frequently than women. As for preferred snacks, while crisps, chocolate, sweets and biscuits are big, savoury pastries are the fifth most popular choice for young, pre-family shoppers.

Ginsters is the go-to brand here as more people buy Ginsters than any other brand in savoury pastry over one in four households (28%), according to Kantar data. This equates to over 10% more households than the next nearest brand (17.7%). In addition, Ginsters products are purchased an average of 7.4 times a year which is more than any other savoury pastry brand. Last year, Ginsters’ repeat purchase rate was 61% compared with the next nearest brand’s 52%.

According to Mike Smith, marketing director at Ginsters, getting the basics right is key, ensuring that you have the right space, range and display. "Snacking is a broad category; across savoury and sweet, chilled and non-chilled. Shoppers work from a script of learnt behaviour, established over time, using visual cues to familiarise themselves. Over two-thirds of visual cues are colour based and shoppers use brands as signposts to help orientate themselves before making their selection. As the number one savoury pastry brand, our livery the black and white wood carved illustration and red logo is a category signpost: shoppers see ’Ginsters’ and they know they are at the food-to-go fixture."

Smith says the company works with independent retailers to understand the right product ranges for their stores, and provides merchandising support and point-of-sale material, while also helping to drive value in their stores via meal deals.

"Shoppers often look for interesting meal deals and inspiring choices with variations in the options available.

"Well-stocked shelves are essential, so consumers have a variety to choose from and can make a quick decision while on the go. Freshness of products is key to this, along with a range of healthy options, including those that cater to different dietary requirements. Positioning savoury snacks alongside food-to-go products encourages consumers to trial said snacks and is more likely to boost cross-category purchasing."

Recent launches from Ginsters include Bitesize versions of its savoury pastries. A Cornish Pasty four-pack and Sausage Roll five-pack were launched late last year while more recently, Classic Bitesize Cheese & Onion Pasties, in four- and eight-pack cartons joined the range, expanding the offer to appeal to vegetarian and flexitarian demand.

Crunch time

You can’t talk about snacks without mentioning crisps which are enjoyed at many points throughout the day a meal deal at lunchtime and eating in front of the latest TV boxset in the evening are just two examples.

According to Him data, the most important factors to shoppers when purchasing crisps and snacks on food-to-go occasions are price at 85%, brand at 77% and pack size at 72%. "Stocking the right range is crucial to making the most of the food-to-go occasion," says Matt Collins, trading director at KP Snacks, "but it’s equally important to have the right promotions and displays in place to entice the shopper. Retailers can help encourage cross-category purchases by grouping products such as snack foods, sandwiches and soft drinks together as these are the three most commonly purchased items in a meal deal.

"Meal deals play an important role at lunchtime and are a key mechanic to increasing basket spend. Our insights show that, at 49%, the most in-demand item shoppers want in their meal deal is crisps or snacks. And 39% of consumers specifically want nuts in their meal deal while 27% look for healthier options.

"Although the meal deal is a key sales driver for food-to-go, the singles market, and in particular the Grab Bag, remains in growth and is valued at £542m and growing at +2% (Nielsen)."

It’s interesting that nuts are mentioned as being popular with consumers as historically nuts have sold very well through forecourt stores. In the total market, KP Nuts is the number one brand. It is more than six times bigger than its nearest branded competitor and is currently worth £60.4m and growing by 4.1% (Nielsen).

Says Collins: "Some 76% of consumers recognise that nuts provide a positive source of energy, fibre and protein which is becoming more and more important to today’s shoppers. KP Nuts plays well to these dynamics with its high protein content and more natural credentials."

The brand offers a wide range of nuts including an on-the-go range which was launched in direct response to the growing trend for healthier snacks, and which sold three million packs in its first year.

Health remains a key driver in the snacks market. Says Collins: "Retailers are giving more space to lighter alternatives to meet this need, and we’ve been a significant part in this change. We’ve been working in improving the health credentials of our products and the way we market them for a number of years."

However, taste remains a barrier and stops some people opting for healthier versions of their favourite snacks. Walkers has taken the bold step of launching its first-ever taste guarantee across its ’Better For You’ range, so if consumers don’t like the taste, they get their money back.

The ’Taste Us. Love Us.’ campaign is across Snack-A-Jacks, Sunbites and Walkers Oven Baked. The packs include a distinctive flash to generate stand-out on zshelf, stating, ’Great taste guarantee, or your money back’. Michal Iwasyszyn, marketing manager for the Better For You portfolio at PepsiCo UK, explains: "We know that shoppers’ number one concern when choosing smarter snacks is the perceived taste, but as soon as people taste our products, the repeat purchase rate is phenomenal. For example, the repeat purchase rate for Sunbites is an impressive 54%."

new products

Kantar data reveals that Mr Porky is the number one pork snacks brand with a 44.9% share. Mr Porky Crackles is the traditional scratching but the more premium Mr Porky Handcooked Scratching is enjoying particular success in the forecourt channel.
Cruga Biltong is supporting Save the Rhino International. For every pack sold, brand owner the Meatsnacks Group will donate to the charity its aim is to raise £10,000.
Peperami recently launched its first-ever chicken variant Peperami Pep’d Up Chicken Bites, made with 100% chicken breast which is baked, not fried. The brand will be supported by a £3m marketing campaign.
Building on the success of last year’s partnership with Alton Towers Resort, Seabrook is continuing as the category exclusive partner with the theme park in 2019. The crisps brand is offering shoppers ’two for one’ entry at the park, worth up to £56 per pack. The brand is doubling its TV spend this year, as part of the deal to ensure continued growth.
Burts Chips added Jim Beam Original BBQ flavour crisps to the range last year. They are described as ’the perfect combination of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon mixed with sweet, smoky BBQ flavours’.

Snack facts

of consumers snack instead of having a proper meal, at least once a week.
of snacks consumers working full time say their busy lifestyles make snacking a necessity.
of snacks consumers feel snacks are important to keep energy levels up throughout the day.
of 16-34-year olds and 52% of parents believe snacks are a ’must-have’ for an evening in.
of snacks consumers think that taste is more important than healthiness.
of UK consumers think unhealthy snacks are fine as part of a balanced diet.
of snacks consumers look for healthy products all or most of the time when choosing a snack.
Source: pladis Annual Biscuit Review 2018