crispsWith the continued move towards healthier living, sales of crisps and snacks suffered over the last five years. Now, with manufacturers responding to changing consumption habits, the market has seen a recovery.

2008 saw a 5% year on year increase, valued at £2.5 billion. The 2007 market, valued at £2.4 billion, was the first year to exceed 2003 sales value.

Manufacturers have been responding to two key consumer issues.

Firstly, the health profile of crisps has been improved by the development of baked crisps, the increased use of sunflower oil for crisp frying and the introduction of crisps based on alternative ingredients to the traditional potato, such as vegetables or wholegrain. This ‘better for you’ sector has seen a massive 47% growth in the last, albeit from a small base, to the value of £138m.

Secondly the repositioning of crisps and snacks as an indulgent treat for adult consumers has also served the market well. While for many the emphasis is on healthier living, for others occasional crisp eating means a reason to indulge. The result is the development of a substantial market for premium crisps and snacks sold at higher prices, specifically targeting adults. This is the second fastest growing sector, seeing 12% growth in the last two years, now worth £594m.

Market growth for premium crisps and snacks is likely slow down in 2009 as many people find their incomes squeezed. Crisps are expected to perform more strongly than snacks, increasing by 7% at current prices, whereas snacks are expected to drop by 4%.

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