Traditional biscuits win over the young
Filed under: News
That is despite innovation in the UK biscuit market being at an all-time high - new launches more than doubled in the UK between 2007 and 2011, rising to more than 300 in the past 12 months, according to analyst Mintel.
Biscuits not boringSix in ten (60%) of 16- to 24-year-olds disagreed that traditional biscuits are boring, compared with 55% of their older counterparts (aged 55+).
The research found that it is mainly younger consumers seeking solace in a biccie – the majority (70%) of 16- to 24 year-olds would opt for biscuits as an indulgent treat, compared with 62% of the 55+ market.
Mature consumers, however, are far more likely to keep alive the time-honoured tradition of dunking - only 46% of younger consumers (16-24) enjoy a biscuit with a hot drink as opposed to 63% of the over-45s.
Text generationAlex Beckett, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: "The youth of Britain is growing up immersed in digital media, text-speak and cutting-edge gadgetry but this doesn't mean they don't appreciate a good old-fashioned Custard Cream.
"They may lack TV support or big-name brands, but the humble Bourbon, Malted Milk and Custard Cream are cherished by teens and students.
"Maybe the lack of try-hard advertising appeals to them – or maybe these biscuits are just better value than the increasingly chocolate-laden new launches. Either way, the youth of austerity Britain has respect for our biscuit heritage."
Crumbs!An increasing number of Brits can't keep their hands off the cookie jar, with 86% eating sweet biscuits in 2011 compared with 83% in 2010. Today 15% of Brits confess to eating sweet biscuits once a day or more and nearly half (47%) admit they like to treat themselves with foods that are not good for them.
And when it comes to eating occasions, it seems biscuits are seen as a good way to help productivity, with nearly two in five (38%) of Brits munching on them at work or college or university, rising to 58% users in full-time education.
Guilty feelingsOverall, nearly two fifths (36%) of British biscuit eaters say they feel guilty about eating biscuits, a figure that rises to almost half (46%) of all women. A strong demand for healthier biscuit options is also reflected in the fact that 40% of consumers admit they would eat more if they were lower in sugar.
"Women have rather a conflicted relationship with biscuits. They are more likely than men to indulge in them as a treat, but are then far more likely to feel guilty about it. Unfortunately, the healthy biscuits that are on the market are tarnished with a bland reputation, making that chocolate biscuit all the more tempting," Beckett said.
Low-fat munchiesHealth issues could be the battleground for the biscuit industry, as two in five (40%) consumers believe there aren't enough healthy biscuit options available. At the same time almost half (48%) of consumers think low-fat and healthy biscuits taste "bland".
In 2011, "no additives or preservatives" was the most used health claim for new products, accounting for a quarter (25%) of new product launches in the sweet biscuit sector in the UK.
Scottish shortbreadIt is Scottish consumers who eat the most sweet biscuits, with 20% of consumers in that region eating them once a day or more.
They are closely followed by those in the North of England with 19%, 16% in Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside, 15% in the South West, 14% in the South East and Anglia, 13% in the East and West Midlands, while 12% of Londoners and those in the North West have biscuits every day.
Sales soarIn terms of value, total retail value sales have climbed by a sweet 26% since 2006 to reach £1.4bn in 2011. And it appears the sector has unwrapped success for the future too, as Mintel expects it to grow a further 21% to reach £1.7bn by 2016.
But it is the appeal of everyday biscuits, or plain biscuits, such as digestives, that have boosted the fortunes of the market, with sales value up 14% in just one year (2010-11). Children's biscuits are also doing well, with their sales up 8% over the same period to reach a market value of £143m in 2011.
Conversely biscuit bundle packs have suffered, with value sales down 14% over the past year to a value of £6m in 2011. Chocolate biscuit bars and special biscuit treats have also crumbled over the past year with declines of 10% (a market value of £174m in 2011) and 3% (a market value of £133m in 2011) respectively over the period.