UK nut market reaches £547m thanks to healthy eating

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fruit, Nut, Seed

The UK market for nuts, seeds and dried fruit reached £547m last year reflecting the continuing trend towards healthy eating and a revived interest in home-baking, according to the latest food report from global research organisation, Mintel.

More education about the nutritional properties of nuts, seeds and dried fruit would help to increase consumption even further and to dispel some consumers’ confusion about such products, it recommends.

Healthier alternatives

The sector also has a big opportunity to help continue current consumption growth by positioning nuts, seeds and dried fruit as healthier alternatives to traditional snacks. “Over a third (36%) of existing buyers state that they buy dried fruit as an alternative to sweets, while 44% of are buying nuts as an alternative to snacks such as crisps​,” according to the report.

But the category’s biggest potential lies in attracting new consumers. The researchers found that 29% of consumers do not regularly purchasing nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

At present, consumption of such products is heavily compartmentalised with older consumers accounting for the highest proportion of products in the nuts and dried fruit segments.

Seeds were identified as being particularly appealing to women aged 35-44.

Mintel identifies the key target of consumers aged under 35 a being the most likely to be adventurous in their attitudes and tastes. “This bodes well for flavour innovation in the sector, especially during the key Christmas period,”​ said the report.

But the report warns that rising costs will continue to limit growth opportunities in the sector as consumption within the category increases with affluence and age. “It is unlikely that manufacturers and retailers will be able to continue to absorb costs such as rising wholesale prices, caused by increased worldwide consumption, the weak pound and poor crop ​harvests,” warn the researchers.

Also included in the report is information about competitor categories such as chocolate, crisps and cereal bars together with forecasts of sales and consumption of nuts, dried fruit and seeds over the next five years.

Mintel’s report, entitled, Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit - UK - September 2010, covers nuts, seeds and dried fruit and nut mixes, eaten as snacks and used for both cooking and baking.

Microbiological issues

Meanwhile, UK-based food and beverage research organisation, Campden BRI plans to compile a definitive document on the microbiological issues related to nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. It intends to design specific practical studies to assist industry, particularly in the area of the validation of decontamination systems.

The review will include the risks associated with the global supply chain, global distribution controls, handling and preparation, potential contamination and microbiological resistance, and decontamination procedures and recommendations.

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