Paddington BearPaddington bear would be outraged: traditional jams and marmalades are under attack as one in ten Brits ditch them in favour of peanut butter and chocolate spreads.

Research from Mintel says peanut butter sales have increased a tasty 20% in the last two years, growing from £47m in 2010 to £56m in 2012. Volume sales increased 17% to reach 14 million kg in 2012.

Chocolate spread also posted sweet growth with value sales rising 24% from £37m in 2010 to £46m in 2012. But this was down to rising prices rather than increasing sales. Volume has remained steady at 11 million Kg over the past two years (2010 to 2012).

Nearly one in ten (7%) Brits say they have switched from jam or marmalade to peanut butter or chocolate spread.

Winners and losers by volume 2012 (2010)

  • Jam 36% (39%)
  • Marmalade 21% (26%)
  • Honey 16% (17%)
  • Peanut butter 13% (12%)
  • Chocolate/nut spreads 11% (11%)
  • Fruit/cheese curds 3% (3%)

Winners and losers by value of sales 2012 (2010)

  • Jam 30% (32%)
  • Honey 28% (27%)
  • Peanut butter 14% (13%)
  • Marmalade 14% (16%)
  • Chocolate/nut spreads 12% (10%)
  • Fruit/cheese curds 2% (2%)

Breakfast choices

Kiti Soininen, head of UK food, drink and foodservice research at Mintel, says: "Peanut butter and chocolate spread have become popular choices for the family breakfast, gaining share at the expense of traditional favourites jam and marmalade.

"Both spreads have benefited from increased innovation and marketing campaigns to widen usage occasions. Moreover, growing economic pressure has forced more consumers to cook at home, so variety has become particularly important especially for households with children."

Overall, sales of sweet spreads reached £389m in 2012, up from £367m in 2010 (an increase of 6% between 2010 and 2012).

Jam tomorrow?

Despite the increasing popularity of peanut butter and chocolate spreads, the nation remains sweet on jam. Jam is bought by 67% of consumers and is still the largest sector within the sweet spreads category, with a value and volume share of 30% and 36% in 2012 respectively.

But, while jam accounts for the biggest market share, sales have remained flat at £118m between 2010 and 2012.

Paddington: end of the line for marmalade?

The worst news is preserved for marmalade; while Paddington Bear's favourite accounted for 14% of the market value in 2012, sales have fallen 7% over the past two years to £56m in 2012. In terms of age, usage of marmalade peaks among the over 55s (57%) compared to 18% of 16-24 year olds.

"While sales of marmalade have suffered of late, there is no doubt that the market could benefit from an ageing population. Steps to enhance the health image of marmalade products by incorporating more added health benefits such as vitamins, energising ingredients, antioxidants and added fibre, could offer product standout."

Honey, I'm home

Finally, it seems there is a growing buzz about honey in Britain today. Honey has shown resilience to rising prices in the sector, growing ahead of the overall sweet spread market. Value sales of honey increased 8% between 2010 and 2012, to reach £107m. Meanwhile volume sales grew 6% (reaching 18 million kg in 2012).

"Honey usage has been driven by its health positioning and natural credentials, as well as premium varieties such as Manuka. Honey's natural health associations have given it a more up-to-date image, than other more traditional spreads," concludes Soininen.

Brand awareness

In terms of brands, there were strong performances by Nutella, Rowse, Hartley's and Whole Earth in their respective chocolate spread, honey, jam and peanut butter sectors.

Nutella achieved one of the highest growth rates in 2012, almost 12% in value and 10% in volume terms, well above the category average.

The love it or hate it Marmite saw sales decline between 2011 and 2012, but it remains the leading brand in the savoury spreads category by some distance.

On the way out were Princes and Shippam's pastes and spreads, significantly underperforming the sector as a whole. In dips, Doritos (PepsiCo) achieved growth of 8% in value and 6% in volume sales during 2011-12.