Crisps fall behind as snacks grow

With consumers spending almost 4% of their total food bills on savoury snacks, is the category as big as it will ever be?

According to forecasts from market analyst Key Note, the answer is no.

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Having watched consumer spending on crisps, nuts and other savoury snacks increase by 30% between 2009 and 2013 to a value of £3.11bn, Key Note is predicting further year-on-year growth to a value of £3.97bn in 2018.

It forecasts continuing trends for healthier snacks and new flavours.

Despite registering growth of 28.2% over five years, the market share of combined crisps, snacks and nuts taken by crisps actually decreased slightly, from 45% to 44.3%.

And according to Key Note, snack nuts’ share fell from 8.6% to 8.1%.

Those drops in market share reflected the sales growth of 33.2% achieved by “other savoury snacks” across the period, which meant the sub-category’s share increased to 47.6%.

Looking ahead the Key Note report predicts the crisps market will grow to £1.64bn in 2018, an increase in sales value of 14.6%.

But the researcher said: “While still significant, growth in this sector is expected to be less substantial than in competing sectors.

“Sales of potato crisps are expected to become a decreasingly influential contributor to total value, with market share falling to 41.3% by 2018.”

Key Note projects that the value of snack nuts will reach £320m in 2018.

And it predicts continuing rises in value and market share for the “other savoury snacks” sub-category.

“Between 2014 and 2018, sales value is expected to increase from £1.58bn to £2.01bn, following growth of 27.5%. Share of the total market will rise to 50.7%.”

It expects innovation in nuts and other snacks will focus on brand extensions, new packs and sizes, convenience products and health.

In crisps it predicts growing demand for new flavours and sees manufacturers responding with products that exploit increasing demand for unusual crisps.