Nutrition bars trend grows

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd July 2013

The nutrition bars sector continues to show rising levels on interest, in line with even ahead of the market for cereal bars as a whole, according to market research organisation Innova Market Insights.

According to Innova Market Insights, growth in the sector has reflected rising interest in healthy and convenient snacks suitable for consumption on-the-go.

“While convenience is the leading positioning for cereal bars overall, used on over 90 per cent of total launches in the sector, health has also been a key driver,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“This is not only in terms of the importance of nutrition and performance bars, but also in the perception of offering a healthier snack alternative to products such as confectionery, biscuits and cakes,” Ms Williams said.

Over three-quarters of global launches in the 12 months to the end of April 2013 were positioned on a health platform of some kind, ranging from “passive health” (that is, ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘low calorie’ etc) to “active health” launches (that is, ‘vitamin-fortified’, ‘digestive health’, ‘weight management’ etc). This rises to over 90 per cent in Australasia, just under 85 per cent in teh US and to just two-thirds in Asia, according to Innova Market Insights.

‘Clean label’ most popular cereal bar health claims

According to Innova Market Insights, the most popular health claims overall in the cereal bars sector concerned ‘clean label’ options, with 27 per cent of launches recorded using an ‘additive-free’, ‘preservative-free’ or ‘natural’ claim, or both. This figure rose to over 38 per cent if ‘organic’ claims were included.

Interest in fibre content was also high, with 25 per cent of introductions featuring ‘high-fibre’ or ‘source of fibre’, rising to over 31 per cent if ‘wholegrain’ claims were added. ‘Low’ and ‘light’ claims (that is, low in fat, calories and/or sugar) were also popular, and were used on over one-fifth of new products.

Sports and alertness positioning

Just over 22 per cent of global cereal bar launches were marketed on a sports/recovery and/or energy/alertness positioning, down from just under half in 2005, when launches of bars with a sports or energy positioning peaked, according to Innova Market Insights.

Innova Market Insights said this indicated how interest in the market has moved to new areas, most notably a more general positioning as an ‘anytime’ nutritious snack or meal replacement.

Cereal bars sector sees overall growth

New product activity levels in the cereal bars sector were relatively high overall, according to Innova Market Insights, which reflected the variety of formats, ingredients and target markets available. The total number of global launches recorded by Innova Market Insights continued to rise in the 12 months to the end of April 2013.

Growth due to ‘move to mainstream’

Innova Market Insights said the dynamic growth in the market over the past decade is “largely attributable to a move to mainstream”. Nutrition and performance lines are now much more widely available and consumed on a more casual basis, by an increasing range of consumers looking for healthier and more portable snacks for active lifestyles.

“The cross-pollination between more specialist nutrition and performance bars on the one hand and more mainstream cereal and snack bars on the other has been key to continued growth in the market as a whole,” Ms Williams said.

“Healthier ingredients and formulations adding value to the standard bars market, while improved taste profiles, more indulgent flavours and a more everyday lifestyle positioning support the desired nutritional properties in the performance sector,” Ms Williams said.


Nutrition bars trend grows