That’s the way the cookie crumbles: the stats behind snacking

Billion-dollar company Pladis – which counts McVitie’s, Ulker and Godiva among its brands – has released its analysis on the innovations driving Brits’ desire for biscuits.

3 April 2018

Biscuit breakdown

  • The UK gives the Cookie Monster a run for his money, with an average of 7kg of biscuits consumed per person over a year.
  • Biscuits are purchased by virtually all households in the UK and represent nearly a quarter of sales within core snack foods, with the average household buying biscuits nearly once a week.
  • Biscuit innovation was a key driver of growth in 2017, with 3% of the category’s value coming from NPD and biscuit brands making up two of the top 10 new FMCG launches last year.
  • The top two new biscuit products in 2017 were McVitie’s digestive thins, which earned £15m, and Oreo thins, which took £8m in profits.
  • A third of consumers want added indulgence when it comes to their biscuits.
  • Almost 60% of people enjoyed a sweet biscuit with a drink, while a quarter of people eat their sweet biscuit as a morning snack.
  • Chocolate biscuit bars are most likely to be eaten with a sandwich.
  • Savoury biscuit growth was driven by ‘toppable’ products such as rice cakes and cream crackers.
  • Novelty biscuits – that often come bite-sized and packed in individual bags – fell out of favour; sales were down by 2.9% last year.
  • The average age of the healthy biscuit consumer is 39, with 62% of these healthy options eaten before lunch as breakfast biscuits make up a significant portion of this range.

Rewarding retailers’ own-label offerings

  • Supermarkets own-label biscuit sales were up by 8% last year and play a key role in not only providing a premium offering, but also in differentiating each retailer’s offering.
  • Christmas biscuit sales were up 5.9% to £174m, with supermarkets’ own label popular, as well as shortbread and Belgian assortments.
  • Aldi and Lidl were the big winners when it came to biscuit sales, with the category growing by 13% and almost 15% respectively for the discounters last year.
  • Aldi had the most growth for sweet biscuits, while Marks & Spencer captured the savoury market.

Snacking stats

  • In the future, consumers are expected to demand added functional benefits, new textures and sumptuous flavours when it comes to their snacks, expecting a multi-sensory experience, including a focus on unusual combinations and taste sensations like bitter, sour and umami.
  • The top three reasons people snack are to treat themselves, as a way to take a break during the day and to eat on the go.
  • Snacking is big business, with 94% of adults sneaking a nibble daily and 15% of people doing so four times per day.
  • But 42% of consumers say health concerns have limited the amount of snacks bought compared to 12 months ago.
  • Taste continues to trump health, with half of consumers saying taste is the most important thing when it comes to their snacks.
  • Everyday treats – defined as semi-premium, mostly half-coated with chocolate, cream or mallow filling – are eaten by UK consumers three times a week on average.
  • Shoppers were most likely to buy special treats – snacks that are luxurious, indulgent and often fully coated in chocolate – as a reward, with UK households buying them on average six times per year.

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