pladis, the UK’s no. 1 Biscuits manufacturer, has announced its second annual biscuit review, Biscuits in Britain 2016: A Year of Change. The report outlines the state of the £2.4 billion biscuit category and examines the social trends that are influencing the way the market continues to evolve.

UK consumers continued to demonstrate their loyalty to biscuits with purchases from 99% of UK households. Biscuits were consumed on average three times a week and on nearly 6 billion occasions in 2016, making the category the second largest snackfood, outperforming crisps, cakes and popcorn.

In 2016 however, the biscuit category faced challenges that impacted its overall performance. ‘The Great British Biscuit Shortage’ had lasting effects across the year and was a significant factor in the overall decline of biscuit sales. The floods across Cumbria following the devastation of Storm Desmond resulted in the closure of pladis’ Carlisle factory. This stopped the production of Everyday Biscuits, the sub-category most regularly purchased by UK households, for four months. The changing promotional landscape was another contributing factor, with retailer promotional strategies changing from multibuy deals to single price points thus driving less volume. These headwinds coupled with a macro deflationary environment meant that any growth coming through in biscuits was negated.

Despite this, pladis maintained its position as the leading biscuit manufacturer with over 22% market share driven by the McVitie’s brand, which realised sales of over £343 million. This was complemented by the biggest sweet biscuit launch for ten years, McVitie’s Digestives Nibbles.1 The success of products like McVitie’s Nibbles has helped grow the Everyday Treats category.

pladis consumer insight research reveals that taste is still an important driver of purchase and consumers choose snackfoods based on key need states, motivated by both emotional and functional reasons. Emotional needs such as connecting with others and rewards are just as important as the functional needs of hunger and health.

In the UK, whilst our innovation has been focussed on developing sharing treats such as McVitie’s Nibbles, pladis has also further enhanced its health and wellbeing strategy to enable its consumers to make informed and wholesome choices, including clear planning around the reformulation of its biscuits and snacks, coupled with enhanced consumer education around the company’s wellbeing agenda.

James Thomas, UK Head of Category Development, pladis comments: “We can be confident about the future as we see biscuits moving with the times and continuing to fulfil both shopper and consumer needs. Biscuits play an important role within Snacking and are well-placed to respond to evolving category drivers and future headwinds. Latest 12we Category performance has shown some promising results, up +2%, reported by Nielsen.”

“The biscuit category will evolve and respond to these challenges by continuing to improve the shopping experience, delivering consumer led innovation and ensuring ranges meet shopper needs.”

1 Nielsen MAT to the 3rd Dec 2016, Total Coverage


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