Baby boomers key to keeping biscuit category alive: pladis

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Insight from pladis reveals the importance of baby boomers for the biscuit snacking category. Pic: pladis
Insight from pladis reveals the importance of baby boomers for the biscuit snacking category. Pic: pladis

Related tags: Snack food

Baby boomers are the fastest growing consumer segment and crucial to the success of the biscuit snacking category, says pladis, so it is critical to pay close attention on how to market to this demographic.

The McVitie’s maker recently released results from a survey into the snacking behaviour of UK consumers that confirms the importance of the Baby boomer.

Baby boomers have more income than millennials,”​ Colette Noé, senior director for consumer and market insights at pladis told BakeryandSnacks. “Overall, later lifers are in better financial shape than the rest of the population, boasting the highest spending power among all age groups.

“In 2015, those aged 60-64 years earned more than 25% above the average earnings of all age groups,”​ she said.

Indulgent influences

“This makes this group a key target market for luxury and indulgence items.”

According to the GCT Survey of 2016, consumers in their 60’s ranked highest among all age groups when it came to looking for products limited in sugar (55%), salt (50%) and fat (47%).

“They are more active and will create demand for snacks which support their dynamic lifestyles,”​ said Noé.

“Biscuit buying is part of their routine and they are more determined to cut through the choice in the supermarket aisle to get to the value product, so need to be marketed to in different ways.”

The tastemakers

Millennials, on the other hand, still wield a lot of influence over the UK snacking industry, particularly through their high levels of social media use.

“Technology is transforming the way they shop, make choices, purchase and share their purchases afterwards,”​ said Noé.

“We call them the ‘tastemakers’ among their peer group. They make much quicker purchases and buy fewer groceries online than you might think.

“We know that Millennials are a more visual generation than their parents were; they need to be tempted by a particular type of packaging or instantly register how a product fits into their busy lifestyle,”​ she added.

The younger consumer are also snacking more than any previous generation, triggered largely by the erosion of traditional food rituals such as set meal times.

“The boundary between meals and snacks is blurring. Most people understand a meal to be influenced by cultural traditions around timing, setting and specific food groups. Snacks, on the other hand, are highly personalised and variable mini meals,​” said Noé.

Biscuit break

Pladis reports that, in 2016 in the UK, biscuits were consumed on average three times a week and on nearly six billion occasions.

“This makes the category the second largest snack food behind chocolate, outperforming crisps and popcorn,”​ added Noé.

“Sweet snacks still far outweigh savoury in terms of popularity for shoppers and pladis has seen excellent growth in its McVitie’s cake products.”

The £2.2bn ($2.9bn) company – established last year through the conglomeration of United Biscuits, Ulker, Godiva Chocolatier and DeMet’s Candy Company – launched McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive Thins earlier this year. It also rolled out its Godiva Masterpieces collection through Sainsbury’s in the UK, making the luxury chocolate more accessible to a new audience.

Heading for health

Pladis said it has plans for further category expansion and tapping into new snacking sectors next year.

“Health and wellbeing remained top of mind for shoppers in 2017 and pladis aims to constantly respond to trends offering consumers a wide choice of products,”​ Noé hinted.

Key insights:

  • There is an increasing demand for products that are easy to buy, store, transport and consumed ‘on the go’
  • Consumers want portion control but won’t compromise on taste, quality or familiarity
  • Consumers are looking for a more ‘sensory’ experience – as seen by the explosion in salted caramel flavoured snacks in 2017
  • Consumers want variations of old-favorites, veering towards a well-known brand, but in a new format
  • Baby boomers are crucial to the success of a particular snacking category, so pladis pays close attention to how it markets effectively to this demographic
  • Younger consumers are snacking more than any previous generation, triggered largely by the erosion of traditional food rituals such as set meal times.

Related topics: Retail & Shopper Insights

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