A 2018 report from Bord Bia states that people still identify strongly with traditional snacks such as crisps, biscuits and chocolate. However, gaps have been identified in the snacking market apart from the actual product, indicating that price, format, size and the creation of clear and transparent language being important factors in the consumer’s mind. A separate report from Mintel (July, 2018) notes that three quarters of consumers worry that snacks that claim to be healthy may be high in sugar, fat or salt. This highlights the need for snack companies to be transparent in their nutritional contents and cleaner labelling.

GlobalData (2018) report that the Irish savoury snacks sector is expected to grow from €399.4 million (US$450.5 million) in 2017 to €465.5 million (US$546.7 million) by 2022, at a CAGR of 3.1%. In volume terms, the sector is expected to grow from 29.3 million kg in 2017 to 32.5 million kg by 2022, registering a CAGR of 2.1%.

GlobalData identify potato chips as the largest snack category with value sales of €194 million in 2017 and volume sales of 12.5 million kg. Hypermarkets and supermarkets are the largest distribution channel for snacks, accounting for 59.9% of value share in 2017. Convenience stores and drinks specialists account for 22.1% and 10.4% of value share, respectively.

Source: Global Data (July, 2018)

Per capita consumption of savoury snacks in Ireland is expected to grow from 6.1kg in 2017 to 6.5kg by 2022. It is higher when compared to the regional (3.8kg) and the global levels (2.3kg) in 2017. This statistic corresponds to reports from Mintel (2018) that obesity levels remain high in Ireland and in some cases are worsening as consumers move from being overweight to obese. 

Bord Bia’s research found that 70% of consumers snack each day and discovered that almost half (48%) of Irish consumers eat snacks between meals, while the UK showed (46%) almost identical patterns. On top of this, the report found that the number of eating occasions per day is rising and that snacking is more prevalent amongst a younger profile.

Source: Bord Bia (January 2018)

The same report says that 90% of Irish consumers worry about what they eat and that 3 in 4 people are “trying to be good”. However, crisps (22%), biscuits (19%) and chocolate (16%) are still the most prevalent snacks consumed. Fruit is the only ‘healthy food’ that scored highly, with products such as rice cakes, seeds and granola bars scoring between 0 and 2%, respectively

Current Trends

Between 2011 and 2015, Mintel (2016) report that there was a 257% increase in new product launches claiming to be high in protein, while a 124% increase was seen in snack food product launches that claimed to have low, no or reduced sugar. A key outcome is that people are looking for healthier versions of the snacks they love.

Information Sources:

  1. Bord Bia. Healthy Snacking Uk and Ireland. January 2018
  2. Savoury Snacks in Ireland. July 2018

An in-depth look at Bord Bia’s presentation on how Irish UK and consumers are snacking can be found here.