Savoury biscuits sector shows strong global growth

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st October 2013

The savoury biscuits sector recorded a stronger growth rate globally than sweet biscuits in the year to the end of July 2013, according to global market research organisation Innova Market Insights.

The strong growth of the sector was driven by increasingly sophisticated and complex flavours, more interesting shapes, improved textures and an increasing focus on health credentials, Innova Market Insights found.

Growth in the sector was strong despite savoury biscuits accounting for just 10 per cent of new product activity in bakery products globally. Savoury biscuits accounted for just over a quarter of total biscuit and cookie launches in the 12 months to the end of July 2013.

“The sector is also moving away from relatively plain biscuits used as an accompaniment for products such as cheese, savoury spread and wine, and into products positioned as snacks in their own right, suitable for consumption straight from the box or with dips,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

Health claims popular

Savoury biscuits product activity was characterised by the relatively high level of interest in ‘healthy’ options, with over 40 per cent of launches position on a health platform of some kind. This included both ‘passive’ claims, such as low fat, organic, natural, and gluten-free, and ‘active’ claims, such as ‘with added calcium or protein’ or featuring specific benefits such as heart health or digestive health.

In the US, 80 per cent of new savoury biscuit launches had health claims, nearly 60 per cent of launches in Europe, but just 20 per cent in Asia.

‘Natural’ options also a trend

Innova Market Insights said interest in ‘all-natural’ and ‘clean-label’ options appeared to be continuing unabated, with over 20 per cent of the savoury biscuits and crackers launches recorded globally featuring ‘natural’, ‘additive or preservative free’, or ‘organic’ claims.

This trend was particularly evident in the more developed markets, particularly in the US, where the percentage rose to just under half.

Other key health claims featuring strongly in crackers and savoury biscuits included the use of wholegrains, featured on 10 per cent of global launches, and ‘source of fibre or high-fibre’ and gluten-free claims, both featuring on 8 per cent of new products.

Unusual ingredients growing

New or unusual ingredients were also starting to feature more often in product activity, adding interest or a ‘healthier’ image. These ingredients also permitted gluten-free claims.

Nabisco’s Triscuit brand was extended in the US in mid-2013, with Brown Rice Triscuit made with wholegrain brown rice and wheat with pieces of sweet potato or red beans. Other interesting introduction in the US included Blue Diamond’s Artisan Nut Thins, made with almonds, brown rice and seeds.

Not quite a cracker, not quite a biscuit

The sector also broke new ground with ‘composite’ products that sit between crackers and other types of biscuits or snacks, according to Innova Market Insights.

This type of product was illustrated by the 2012 introduction of a Milka Tuc variant in European markets such as Spain and Germany, which combined two of Kraft Food’s well-known brands, Milka chocolate and Tuc salted biscuits. The new product sets a Tuc biscuit into a Milka chocolate to offer a contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the biscuit.

“It is clear that new product activity is helping to drive the savoury biscuits market forward, with innovation designed to increase the product’s appeal as a versatile, nutritious and tasty snack, offering planned and impulse, on-the-go and at-home options for a variety of social and domestic occasions,” said Ms Williams.

Savoury biscuits are a growing trend globally