|Title:||United Kingdom top five chocolate biscuit bars by retail sales and sales growth in pounds sterling and percentages for the year ended May 12, 2012|
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TOP X BESTSELLERS
Chocolate biscuit bars: XXw/e XX May 2012
SALES CHANGE [pounds sterling]m y-o-y%
Kit kat XX.X -X.X
Own label XX.X -XX.X
Rocky XX.X XX.X
Penguin XX.X -X.X
Blue Riband XX.X -X.X
The glamwich has got competition this year, it seems: the 'manwich's Although lunchbox consumption has dipped among young men, the number of XX to XX-year-old men eating lunchbox meals has shot up XX.X% to XX.X million in the past year--the sharpest rise in consumption by any demographic group [Kantar Worldpanel XX m/e February 2012].
And as well as propping up sales of more traditional sandwich fillings--think ham, cheese and anything with mayonnaise--they are rather partial to treats. In the out-of-home market--food bought from sandwich shops, service stations and the like--XX to XX-year-old men have grown their consumption of chocolate by XX% year-on-year and their consumption of crisps by XX% [Kantar Worldpanel XX m/e February 2012].
They're not the only ones with a taste for sugary and salty snacks. Kids, who are once again driving the overall lunchbox market, have also contributed to the rise in consumption of snacks and sweets, with chocolate biscuit bars now featuring in X.X% more lunchboxes than a year ago; chocolate confectionery in X% more; biscuits in X.X% more and cake in X.X% [Kantar Worldpanel].
That's not to say lunchboxes have suddenly become unhealthy, however. Fruit remains the second most popular lunchbox component and yoghurts have reversed a decline in consumption as lunchboxes evolve from collections of snacks to more rounded meals.
But will the rise of the rugged manwich, with its more calorific fillings, halt the healthier lunchbox in its tracks? Will women take the easy way out when buying for their families and buy more crowd-pleasing cheap treats? Or will men follow women and reduce their lunchbox consumption over the coming year-and with it their confectionery and crisp intake?
In many ways, men in their Xos and XXX are late to the lunchbox party. The straitened economy prompted an increase in lunchbox consumption among women and young men last year, and this year their consumption has actually tailed off as many switch from packed lunches and bought sandwiches to even cheaper options, namely leftovers, fast food snack options-or nothing at all.
But now the blokes seem to be doing what women did last year: making their own butties-to the extent that they've largely plugged the gap left by the defection of women in the critical XX to XX-year-old group. Among XX to XX-year-old men, lunchbox consumption of sandwiches has risen by X% year-on-year, outstripping growth in their consumption of food-to-go sandwiches, which rose X%.
Unlike women, who favour lighter 'glamwich' fillings such as hummus and red pepper, the manwich will often contain the same fillings, but in bigger portions, as a kid's sandwich. Often, that means cheese or ham, the two most popular ingredients in adults' sandwiches, featuring in XX% and XX% of sandwiches respectively, according to Katy Ryan, director of insight & innovation at Adams Foods. Other classic fillings include chicken, tuna and egg.
Health seems to be less of a priority for men, which is why crisp and sweet consumption has risen so much. However, it is not just the blokes who are eating treats. The weak economy has made it more acceptable for parents, too, to buy snacks for their kids. "People's focus is much more on value than the health agenda at the moment, with the idea of treating your child much less taboo than a few years ago," says Howard Hunter, director of bread distributor Coulton's Quayside.
Even parents who adhere to health guidelines in other lunchbox items often regard one indulgent item as a permissible pudding substitute to get through the day, agrees RH Amar marketing director Simon Fry, citing a surge in sales of The Original Waffle Company single-wrap waffles in Asda, where they form part of a pick-and-mix range on an ongoing four-for-El deal.
Another reason for rising consumption of sweet treats is the sheer number of deals on offer. "The chocolate biscuit bar market is swamped with promotions and they are getting deeper-with reductions at XX% versus XX% the year before-to combat rising prices," says Tim Eales, industry insight director at SymphonylRl. "Even with the extra depth, prices are up X%."
It's a trend that's manifesting itself in a schizophrenic market performance for biscuit bars (not all of which, of course, end up in lunchboxes). Some have promoted heavily and had success--Rocky, for instance, has grown sales by XX.X% in value and XX.X% in volume over the past year [SymphonyIRI XX w/e XX May 2012).
Others appear to have paid the price of slashing their activity. "Twix has reduced the level of deal and suffered in sales, as has Breakaway--and own label is not dealing very much," argues Eales, an assertion that seems to be borne out by the figures. Sales of Twix have fallen X.i% in value and XX.X% in volume; Nestle's Breakaway is down X.X% in value and XX.X% in volume; and own-label volume sales have fallen XX.X%, with value also down (by XX.X%) [SymphonyIRI].
Penguin, meanwhile, kept promotions essentially static year-on-year, running just one more in the past XX months [BrandView. co.uk] and, like the brands actively cutting promotions, has recorded a X.X% decline in value sales [SymphonylRl].
Not all of those who have turned away from these brands have simply switched to confectionery on offer, though. Women in particular have heard the health message and are looking for healthier snacks either for their families or themselves.
Although consumer demand for indulgent biscuits has increased, healthier alternatives continue to present significant sales opportunities, believes Nick Stuart, commercial manager at UBUK. And Clinton Orchard, marketing director of fruits, nuts and seeds supplier Whitworths, maintains the threat of child obesity and the five-a-day message will continue to influence parental choices.
In October 2011, Whitworths expanded its 'high fruit buttons' brand Frootz, pitched as a healthy alternative to sweets. It's not alone in continuing to roll out healthy and convenient lunchbox NPD. In June, Nature's Finest added a mandarin variant to its range of ambient fruit snacking pots. Premier Foods, meanwhile, has been exploring the market for indulgent-but-healthy snacks. In March, it rolled out a range of Ambrosia rice snack pots, backed by a Eiom spend to communicate that Ambrosia is naturally low in fat.
One area in which healthier treats often lose out in comparison to less healthy I alternatives is merchandising. It's not hard to locate chocolate bars or crisps in a supermarket-but there can be a lack of consistency and clarity on where to find fruit pots and snacking packs, for example.
Philip O'Connor, founder of Elite Healthy Foods, believes retailers could do more--although he also suggests manufacturers need to help themselves. "Greater communication by brands and suppliers on where to find such products, as well as better signposting, could certainly help to alleviate this problem," he says.
Elite Healthy Foods developed its own take on the good-for-you treat--jus Fruit Pieces, a leo% fruit snack, which, like Frootz, is positioned as a healthier version of sweets, though not necessarily for kids. "We spotted a need for new products to bring new consumers--namely, female adults--into the category," says O'Connor.
Something certainly needs to be done to attract women back to the lunchbox market. As kids eat more lunches, women are cutting back. Their consumption has fallen by X.X% year-on-year--a marked change from last year, when consumption, especially among the under-XXs, increased.
One way they could be enticed back, believe suppliers, is by offering them more sandwich options that differ from what other members of the family might be eating, but don't add to the shopping bill. "Variety is key," says Warburtons marketing controller Megan Harrison. "There has been a trend for consumers choosing different products for different family members," she says. Even if everyone wants a different filling, there is "a lot of value" in making sandwiches, particularly for larger families, she adds.
Given the current state of the economy, it's easy to see why (despite the lack of consumption growth) sandwiches remain the most commonly consumed item in the lunchbox, appearing in XX%, and why consumers continue to trade down from pricier food-to-go outlets by making their own sandwiches.
They are increasingly trying to replicate shop-bought sandwich recipes, too. Research carried out by Adams Foods in April 2012 across X,XXX consumers revealed XX% of consumers try to reproduce sandwiches seen in shops, adding ingredients such as sweet chilli sauce (nearly one in five consumers) or olives or pesto (one in to consumers). One in three use high-quality cheese to "add glamour" to their sandwiches, says Ryan, and one in five look to interesting bread varieties to make their lunches more exciting.
These varieties extend beyond loaves to 'sandwich alternatives' such as wraps, thins and pittas. It's no great surprise given the amount of NPD this sub-sector has seen that sandwich alternatives overtrade among XX to XX-year-olds and have seen strong sales growth over the past year, albeit from a low base. Value sales have risen XX.X% and unit sales XX.X% [Nielsen XX w/e XX May 2012].
While some men may be more interested in sandwich alternatives because they offer variety, sales have also been buoyed by the perception, particularly among women, that they offer a healthier alternative to 'stodgy' bread. Some bread brands, too, are benefiting from their healthier positioning. Take 'bread-shaped health food' Burgen, sales of which have risen XX.X% in value and XX.X% in volume [SymphonyIRI XX w/e X June 2012].
This suggests health remains a powerful driver in the lunchbox market, despite the rise of snack foods. Alongside the rapid growth of the sandwich alternatives market, it also explains why there has been such a rash of health-focused NPD from leading bread manufacturers. In January, Warburtons entered the half-and-half market with a White Plus Wholegrain loaf-and it has also rolled out a White Plus Milk & Calcium loaf, tapping into the market for fortified food, which, as The Grocer reported last week, has been exploding in recent months (The Grocer, Focus on Functional Food & Drink, XX July 2012).
There has also been lots of health-related NPD in lunchbox drinks. "While consumers focused on the basics in the recession, making price their priority, we are now seeing a trend for healthier options," says Michael Walford, Ribena group brand manager.
Much of the activity has focused on the kids' market. In March 2012, for instance, GlaxoSmithKline launched new Ribena Plus Immunity Support, which provides looX/X of the RDA of vitamin C and XX% of vitamin A and E in a XXXmX serving, and Healthy Bones, which provides XX% of the RDA of calcium.
Outside the fortified arena, Gerber Juice Company is planning a LazyTown range of juices and smoothies later this year. Based on the kids' TV show-which features
* The lunchbox market has risen X.X% in value and is now worth [pounds sterling]X.Xbn.
* It is now children who are driving the growth of the lunchbox occasion. They account for XX% of occasions and their consumption has grown by X.X% year-on-year. Consumption among children aged six to iX has risen by XX% and they now account for XX% of total lunchbox occasions.
* However, XX-XX year old men have shown the most significant increase in consumption: XX.X%.
* Lunchbox consumption in schools has increased by X.X% -and consumption at work has grown by i.X%, again driven by men aged XX to XX who eat XX.X% more lunchboxes in the office.
* Leftover lunches such as pasta and rice continue to grow in popularity, with consumption increasing by XX% and XX%, respectively.
* The proportion of Brits who eat lunchboxes at least once a fortnight has not changed year-on-year-it is still XX%.
Laura Mtuulen at Kantar Worldpanel
RELATED ARTICLE: Shoppers encouraged to stock up by promos
Over the past XX months, promotional activity has been ramped up in many of the categories catering to the lunchbox shopper.
In the juice drinks and smoothies market, the number of deals on smaller packs (below Xooml) has almost tripled, from XXX In 2010 to 2011 to X,XXX in the year to July 2012 [BrandView.co.uk].