Nutrition issues even infiltrate sweet spreads, Mintel

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mintel

Higher fruit content is a big draw for consumers of sweet spreads in the UK, as they are still looking for nutritional value and fewer additives, according to a new report from Mintel.

The market researcher calculates the 2010 sweet and savoury spreads market was worth an estimated £664 million in 2010, up 30% since 2005. It is split almost evenly between sweet and savoury varieties; even though more people eat sweet spreads than savoury, savoury spreads tend to cost more and have a shorter shelf-life, which bumps up the value.

In the sweet category jam remains the most popular spread, with a value of £106m in 2010, followed by honey with £88m, marmalade with £56m and peanut butter with £40m. The latter has been a star riser for the category in the last two year, with sales growing by 43 per cent representing a u-turn on declining sales since 2002.

Commenting on the findings of the new report, called Sweet and Savoury Spreads​, Amy Lloyd, senior food analyst at Mintel, said nutrition is one of several factors driving peanut butter’s revival.

“Manufacturers have responded to consumer concern over health issues and the emergence of more natural varieties with less additives are helping to reposition peanut butter as a healthier option,”​ she said.

Other factors are that it is seen as a low cost treat during the recession and, like chocolate spread, it is more commonly eaten throughout the day than jam and marmalade, which may be considered as primarily breakfast foods.

Chocolate spreads, which have seen an increase in sales of 41% over the same two years to stand at £31 million in 2010.

On the other hand, attempts to position brand-leading chocolate spread Nutella as a breakfast food with a £10 million advertising campaign ‘Wake up to Nutella’ since 2007, do not appear to have made great inroads with consumers – even though overall sales have grown by around 41 per cent since 2008.

As for savoury spreads, the highest value varieties are chilled pate, paste and sandwich filler, with combined sales of £196m in 2010. Cheese spreads came in at £91m, and yeast spreads like Unilever’s Marmite at £49m, representing 11 per cent growth in the last two years.

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