A mere 6% of British adults say they haven’t changed their spending habits in response to the economic downturn. But while Brits are buying fewer big ticket items, spending on non-alcoholic drinks is set to increase 25% over the next five years, and spending on in-home food is set to rise 18%, the market researcher says.
“Food is one essential that people are really unlikely to cut back on,” said Mintel senior food analyst Alex Beckett. “But that isn’t to say that manufacturers have been resting on their laurels during this time. The rate of innovation has been exciting.”
Home baking on the up
In particular, sales in the home baking have increased 84% over the past five years, reaching £410m in 2012.
“Home baking has been interesting to observe,” Beckett said. “It is a form of leisure activity now, buoyed along by television.”
He said that those aged 25 to 34 were most likely to be frequent bakers, so the sector will be interesting to watch as the population continues to age.
“Of course, it might not be flavour of the month in a couple of years as well,” he added, suggesting that there could very well be a change in television programming.
Cake bars vs. cereal bars
On the flip side, over the past two years, sales of bread and baked goods grew just 1.5% to £3.6bn.
“Cakes and cake bars are not enough of an affordable treat. They lack the functional appeal or health appeal of cereal bars,” he said.
“…Cereal bars in particular have had rocketing performance over the past two years. I think they are really succeeding with cutting into this area of permissible treating.”
Crisps, nuts and snacks grew 29% over the past five years to hit £3.3bn in sales, and Beckett said he was surprised in particular by how many over-65s regularly consumed unflavoured nuts. It is currently a category dominated by private label, so there could be big opportunities for branded manufacturers to tap into the area.
“Over-65s are really high users of nuts compared to younger consumers,” he said. “…We could see the consumer audience extend down for once from over 65s.”
Air-popping is another area that Beckett said will be interesting to watch in the future, as air-popped snacks allow consumers to have the full flavour of fattier snacks, but with fewer calories.