Opportunities for Fresh Produce in Snacking

Image: Max Pixel

Michal Slawski, Horticulture Department, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

A recent Mintel report on snacking in Ireland shows some interesting trends. Snacking is a frequent habit in Ireland with 96% of Irish consumers doing so at least once a day (Toluna, November 2015).In fact, Irish consumers are most likely to snack twice during a typical day, and snacking is most likely to take place at home despite the increasing portability of snacks and development of on-the-go formats.

48% of snacking sales are through the multiple retailers, while there is 29% in convenience stores and 23% in discounters, with strong growth in these two sectors.

Consumers choose a branded snacking option more often than private label – it has a 70% share of the market.

Health considerations play an important role in the Irish snacking market. Single portion packs, free-from snacks and snacks with added vitamins and minerals such as protein are health-related opportunities for new products that can help snack food producers to tap into the healthy eating and lifestyle trends.

However, indulgent snacks are still popular among Irish consumers. This indicates that there continues to be demand for treat snacks despite a focus on healthy eating habits. The challenge for snack food producers is to combine health and taste to enable people to consume fewer calories without reducing the indulgence factor.

Fruit and vegetables accounted for the largest proportion of snack food sales in Ireland (42%) in 2016. This likely reflects that consumers are taking steps to improve their diets and the effectiveness of the 5-a-day (now 7) message.

Half (49%) of Irish consumers have reduced a number of sweet snacks that they eat because of the negative headlines around sugar, and with childhood obesity a major issue in Ireland, this could explain why 39% of Irish consumers try to watch what types of snacks that their children eat.

At home is the most popular location for snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, for 58% of Irish consumers. 15% of Irish consumers also consume fresh fruit and vegetables at their place of work or study. Irish consumers are least likely to snack on fresh fruit and vegetables when they are on the go.

Fruit and vegetables are very popular for snacking in general, while the fresh cut is probably the best opportunity in the on the go category where they are currently weak. Trends in fresh-cut fruit and vegetables show the introduction of mixed trays of fruit and vegetables. These are often combined with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and also dips or sauces. This is an attempt to increase the indulgence factor.

For more information please contact Michal.Slawski@BordBia.ie