Peanut butter a ‘rising star’ in UK’s sweet spreads market

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th April 2013

Sales of peanut butter in the UK are on the rise, according to new market research from Mintel, leading the global market research organisation to label the spread a ‘rising star’ in the sweet spreads market.

While it seems that jam and marmalade are falling out of favour with Brits, sales of peanut butter have increased by 20 per cent in the last two years alone, growing from £47 million in 2010 to £56 million in 2012. Volume sales have also increased by 17 per cent over the same two year period to reach 14 million kilograms in 2012.

Peanut butter is not the only sweet spread that’s gaining popularity in the UK. According to Mintel’s research, chocolate spread sales also rose 24 per cent from £37 million in 2010 to £46 million in 2012. But while value sales have increase, volume has remained steady at 11 million kilograms over the last two years.

Mintel’s research found that almost one in ten (7 per cent) of Brits said they have switched from jam or marmalade to peanut butter or chocolate spread.

“Peanut butter and chocolate spread have become popular choices for the family breakfast, gaining share at the expense of traditional favourites, jam and marmalade,” said Kiti Soininen, Head of UK Food, Drink and Foodservice Research at Mintel. “Both spreads have benefited from increased innovation and marketing campaigns to widen usage occasions. Morever, growing economic pressure has forced more consumers to cook at home, so variety has become particularly important especially for households with children,” she said.

Overall, sales of sweet spreads reached £389 million in 2012, up 6 per cent from £367 million in 2010. Despite the increasing popularity of peanut butter and chocolate spreads, the UK still loves its jam. Jam was bought by 67 per cent of consumers in 2012, and is still the largest sector within the sweet spreads category, with a value share of 30 per cent and volume share of 36 per cent in 2012. But while jam accounts for the biggest market share, sales have remained flat at £118 million between 2010 and 2012.

Marmalade sales fall

Marmalade, on the other hand, has seen a fall of 7 per cent in sales over the last two years from 14 per cent in 2010 a value of £56 million in 2012. Consumption of marmalade peaks among the over 55s (57 per cent) compared to just 18 per cent of 16-24-year-olds.

“While sales of marmalade have suffered of late, there is no doubt that the market could benefit from an ageing population. Steps to enhance the health image of marmalade products by incorporating more health benefits such as vitamins, energising ingredients, antioxidants and added fibre could offer product standout,” said Ms Soininen.

British honey sales increase

Honey has shown resilience to rising prices in the sector, growing ahead of the overall sweet spread market. Sales value of honey increased by 8 per cent between 2010 and 2012, to reach £107 million. Volume sold grew 6 per cent, reaching 18 million kilograms in 2012.

“Honey usage has been driven by its health positioning and natural credentials, as well as premium varieties such as Manuka. Honey’s natural health associations have given it a more up-to-date image than other more traditional spreads,” said Ms Soininen.