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The conventional idea of a ‘snack’ is a between-meal nibble that satiates hunger pangs. But, in today’s monotonous world, it has become much more significant. Millennials nowadays are frequently snacking because of their on-the-go lifestyles. They are relying on these food items as a source of nutrition more than ever. Owing to this reliance, the industry is exhibiting numerous innovations, such as high-protein edibles, plant-forward products, and exotic flavors. Above all, the trend of providing healthy snacks fulfilling nutritional requirements without changing the taste is growing exponentially across the globe.
As per Fortune Business Insights, the healthy snacks market is set to exhibit a CAGR of 4.2% by 2027. The high demand for functional food and beverages to lower the risk of chronic health conditions is anticipated to bolster growth. Lisa Richards, author of ‘The Candida Diet,’ mentioned that today, people are beginning to think about what they are putting into their bodies. Hence, they are looking for snacks that would deliver more than just carbs and calories.
Out of all regions, Europe is considered to be at the forefront of the healthy snacks industry. Rising mental illness, hectic daily schedules, and surging geriatric population are the major factors driving regional growth. Simultaneously, several prominent companies, especially in the U.K., are investing huge sums in developing unique products to attract more consumers.
COVID-19 Pandemic: ‘Always at Home’ Scenario to Challenge Companies in Europe
Be it nuts, popcorns, roasted chickpeas, Greek yogurt, or granola bars, the healthy snacks category has been disrupted by an overcharging event- the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the European Snacks Association (ESA), the pandemic has severely affected snacking occasions. With reductions in mobility, it has changed to ‘always at home’ from ‘anytime, anywhere.’ Some of the manufacturers are striving persistently to enhance the former occasion by creating comforting elements. Besides, lockdown measures have also reduced impulse shopping. Therefore, companies are adapting to such settings to provide consumers with moments of delight and relief.
Fortune Business Insights Lists Top 10 Healthy Snack Manufacturing Companies in Europe
Founded in October 2012 by Thomas H. McInnerney, it is one of the leading manufacturers of healthy snacks in Europe. With annual revenue of USD 26 billion, the company ranked number 117 on the Forbes 500 list in 2018. Its name was derived from the Latin word ‘mundus’ and ‘delez,’ meaning ‘delicious.’ Its portfolio includes brands, such as Oreo, Jell-O, Cadbury, Halls, Tang, Belvita, and Toblerone.
In September 2020, SnackFutures, the innovative arm of Mondelez, launched a new cracker brand called NoCOe in France. These are packaged with compostable and recyclable materials.
Named after the best-selling soft drink Pepsi, the company was founded by Caleb Bradham in August 1920. It produces grain-based snacks, beverages, and similar other products. It started broadening its presence in Europe in the 1980s. Some of the company’s primary brands sold in the region include Quaker food products, Tropicana juices, Frito-Lay snacks, and Pepsi-Cola beverages. It manufactures and distributes 7UP in Europe through a license agreement.
In April 2019, PepsiCo U.K. introduced ‘Taste Us. Love Us.’ campaign. It included corn, whole grain, and low-fat products from Snack-A-Jacks Crispies, Sunbites, and Walkers Oven Baked ranges to help people better understand the benefits of healthy snacks.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Europe, the company specializes in the manufacturing of dairy products, tea & coffee, breakfast cereals, ice cream, bottled water, frozen food, snacks, and confectionery. Some of its notable brands are Maggi, Vittel, Kit Kat, and Nescafé. The company started publishing Nutri-Score on all of its products sold in Europe to support the nutritional label in 2019. The company is one of the major shareholders of L'Oreal.
In September 2020, Nestlé introduced its new range of YES! snack bars in various European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Germany, and the U.K. Each bar contains 10 grams of plant protein and a blend of peas and nuts.
Popularly known as Kellogg's, the company was founded in February 1906 by Will Keith Kellogg in Michigan. It is a reputed manufacturer of convenience foods and cereals. It markets numerous brands, including Eggo, Pringles, Corn Flakes, Cheez-It, and Frosted Flakes. The company’s largest factory is located in the United Kingdom.
In January 2021, Kellogg’s unveiled W.K Kellogg by Kids Bars, a vegan snack range for kids in the U.K. They are available in two flavors, namely, orange, carrot & strawberry and raspberry & beetroot. These will help to create a balanced diet for children.
Often nicknamed ‘Big G,’ the company manufactures a wide range of products, such as snacks, soups, bakery products, and pizza. Some of its well-known brands include Pillsbury, Annie's Homegrown, Lucky Charms, Betty Crocker, and Trix. In 2015, the company promised to lower its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years by 28%.
In February 2019, General Mills announced that its best-selling U.S. vegan snack brand, LÄRABAR will be launched in the U.K. It includes three flavors, namely, Peanut Butter Choc Chip, Banana Choc Chip, and Apple Cinnamon. It will be sugar-free and will fulfil the high snacking demand from consumers.
Headquartered in Germany, this renowned snack food company annually manufactures approximately 500,000 tonnes of snacks consisting of baked products, potato chips, specialty snacks, and nuts. Three of its most popular brands are Pom-Bear, McCoy's, and Hula Hoops.
In May 2019, KP Snacks, a part of the Intersnack Group, invested around USD 7.5 million to develop a new production site for its Hula Hoops Puft and Pom-Bear brands. This 25,000-square-foot facility is situated in England and aims to operate two more lines dedicated to pellet snacks.
Also called ABF, the company was founded by George G. Weston in 1935. Its ingredients division is considered to be the world’s second-largest producer of baker’s yeast and sugar. It also produces lactose, enzymes, and emulsifiers. Some of its most popular brands are Twining’s, Ovaltine, Jordan, and Ryvita. Its retail division, Primark, has several stores across Germany, the U.K., and Spain.
In March 2018, Associated British Foods’ subsidiary, Jordans introduced Children’s Cereal Funny Crisp in France. It was launched to cater to the increasing demand for healthier snacking options for kids.
It is one of the largest food manufacturers in Central and Eastern Europe. It has become number two worldwide in the sweet biscuits category through its core focus on biscuits, confectionery, cakes, and chocolates. Its business units contain Gözde Venture Capital, Yıldız Non-food, Yıldız Food, and Pladis. The company purchased the core confectionery and biscuit businesses from DeMet's Candy Company and Godiva Chocolatier in 2016.
In January 2018, Pladis UK&I unveiled the two latest ranges of ‘go ahead!’ thereby providing customers with more snacking options. The company aims to capture a high share in the alternative snacking segment through its new launches.
The Hero Group is a Swiss manufacturer of consumer food items specializing in nutritional snacks, jam, baby food, and infant formula. Its operations are based predominantly in Turkey, Europe, Middle East, and North America. Its ‘classic’ range of products includes Rösti, fruit juices, and tinned ravioli. The company was founded in 1886 by Gustav Zeiler and Gustav Henckell.
In November 2018, the Hero Group joined hands with goodforgrowth GmbH, a German organic baby food company. The latter’s portfolio includes 00% organic fruit and vegetable snacks named Freche Freunde® for babies. For school children, the company provides organic breakfast cereals called Rebelicious® containing less sugar.
The company produces organic food and beverages. Along with the iconic Clif Bar, it focuses on a wide range of energy bars and sports drinks tailored to women and children. It removed shrink-wrap and switched to organic ingredients, thereby saving $400,000 annually. The company is majorly investing in wind energy to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.
In June 2018, Clif Bar & Company launched CLIF® Energy Granola, CLIF® BAR Sweet & Salty, and CLIF® Fruit Smoothie Filled Energy Bar. These were specially developed for adventurers who are rapidly inclining towards wholesome and tasty food to energize busy days. The company aims to offer on-the-go snacks by adding this new range.
According to the ESA, 2021 will exhibit the popularity of items that champion convenience. Sedentary lifestyles and a mobile work environment with a shortage of ‘me time’ will help the healthy snacks market to evolve in Europe. Ready-to-eat, convenient, and portable packaged snacks will flourish in such scenarios. Additionally, the surging usage of e-commerce websites would enable manufacturers to recreate the impulse purchase technique in the upcoming years.
Written by Reeti Banerjee