Healthy snacking products such as nuts, popcorn, baked and vegetable crisps/chips, and individually portioned fruit are helping to boost on-the-go product sales across Europe, according to a new study by IRI.
The market insights firm analysed the top FMCG categories across six major European countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands) for its Top Categories 2017 report and found that snacking products are a key driver of ambient sales right across the Continent.
Overall, the ambient food category was worth €96 billion across these countries last year (€MAT value change IRI, p/e October 2017), and it grew by 1.4% on average. Germany and the Netherlands showed the biggest growth, with ambient sales up 2.3% year on year in both markets.
'[Within this] crisps and salty snacks, with total sales of €6.3 billion (+3.7% YoY), was a common growth driver across all countries, ranking inside the top ten for absolute growth year on year in all but two countries,' IRI wrote.
EXTRA: Click here for details on how alcohol categories performed across these key European markets.
Health and well-being appears to be increasingly important for shoppers, influencing consumer choice when it comes to categories such as snacking.
'[Double-digit growth of vegetable chips, for example] is being fuelled by new product development, including root vegetable, pea, rice and lentil variants, from niche and mainstream brands,' IRI wrote.
The demand for healthy options is also extending to the beverage category, it found, with bottled mineral water volumes now growing ahead of colas across all countries (+3.3% vs -3.4% YoY).
"Our analysis of the best-selling macro-categories in 2017 throws up some interesting developments, in terms of the changing profile of the typical European shopper," said Olly Abotorabi, senior regional insights manager at IRI.
"Quick and easy access to food and drink choices is becoming more important, so manufacturers and retailers will need to maximise opportunities here," Abotorabi added.
Abotorabi noted that the on-the-go consumer is also increasingly demanding more convenient pack options, to fit in with his/her busy lifestyle.
"Portability and resealable packaging, for example, are increasingly valuable assets in delivering convenience for the on-the-go consumer," he noted, "but they will need to balance this with demand for healthier options, as sugary snacks become less attractive to shoppers, and offer alternatives more suited to guilt-free grazing, such as nuts and seeds, fruit and popcorn.”
IRI: Top FMCG Categories 2017 (combining macro-category data across six countries)
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