With an increasing awareness among consumers on healthy eating, snack bars have become immensely popular replacing chocolates, cakes, and biscuits as the go-to snacks. Snack bars manufacturers are introducing the health aspect into their products regarding the protein and fiber content. The global snack bars market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period. The category fared well despite the economic recession as they are considered as affordable comfort food.
Mars, the privately held company best known for its confectionary brands like M&M’s and Snickers, announced on November 29, 2017 that it will buy a minority stake in Kind, the maker of wildly popular snack bars. The investment could lead to Mars eventually buying all of Kind in the future, based on its history with similar investments; marks the latest effort by a legacy food giant to follow consumers’ healthier eating habits.
Snack bars brands have been very responsive to consumer trends such as demand for nutritious snacks containing fiber, Functional snacks, low-carb snacks, protein fortified snacks and offering satiety. Snack bars with fortified functional ingredients are about to see notable demand. Snack bars have also responded to diet trends such as gluten-free and Paleo diets, and as such launches of grain-free and even meat-based snack bars have increased. The sugar content of snack bars is likely to be increasingly scrutinized by health-conscious consumers and is a constraint for the category. These snack bars are the inexpensive source of nutrition which has resulted in the replacement of other traditional foods. The rising demand for ready-to-eat (RTE) food is expected to be a major factor in influencing snack bar market growth in near future. Hectic lifestyle of the working middle-class population has increased the consumption of cereal bars as snacks between meals.
Ample availability of substitute nutritional foods is expected to hinder the market growth.
The snack bar market is segmented based on type and ingredients. There are various products available as snack bars such as breakfast bars, energy bars, fruit bars, granola, nutritional bars and others. However, among all the available options, granola bars accounted for the highest sales followed by breakfast/cereal bars. The sales for granola bar increased by 3.8% in 2016, and they make up for three- fifths of the snack bars market. Fruit-based snack bars such as Nakd in the UK and Cactus in Scandinavia are playing a big role in this category. %.This format utilizes fruit as binder and sweetener agent, enabling the snack bars to make “no added sugar” claims which resonate with an increasingly sugar-wary consumer. Nutrition bar market grew 34% reaching 2.2 billion USD and had a market share of 39.6. About the ingredients, consumers preference is in protein-rich healthy ingredients, in particular ingredients such as coconut oil, super fruits, whole grains and partially hydrogenated oils. The performance bar segment has seen an increase in demand for less processed protein source. As a result, snack bars containing organic whey protein have emerged. There is an increase in the use of plant-based protein sources like soy, rice pea, and hemp. The overall rise in the trend of snacking between meals makes snack bars an extremely viable option.
The US remains the largest market for snack bars with the highest sales accounting for 42% of the global sales. North America was the largest regional market for snack bars in 2013. Asia- Pacific has witnessed a strong growth over the past few years on account of increasing household income. India and China are two leading markets in Asia- Pacific region, responsible for triggering the market growth. The rise in the living standards of the middle class population is expected to result in increasing demand. Japan and the UK are the other significant markets accounting for a 35% cumulatively. Snack foods are the best options for consumers who prefer on-the-go breakfast and who would be interested in portable and convenient snacking options.
The global snack bar market is a fragmented market consisting of many small and large players worldwide. The companies such as Kellogg, Natural Valley, Alpen and Jordan are the major players and consists of various products in the snack bar market. Quest brand has performed very well in the nutritional bars segment, and it has grown 450% by distribution gains and strong sales in the existing channels. The sales of Nature Valley protein bars grew by 10% in both value and volume.
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