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Why Consumers Are Shopping Healthier

Why Consumers are Snacking Healthier

Over the years, consumer tastes have evolved and led to changing demands and expectations from the market. Recently, we have seen this drive demand for more conscientious products. From more kudos for responsible packaging and natural ingredients to the growing range of dietary requirements that have made it into the mainstream, it is clear that consumer priorities are shifting.

Research from Kantar1 shows that consumers are actively seeking out healthier options as they shop and are more likely to shift when they are well-priced and taste good. When these factors are not met, shoppers are more indecisive despite the willingness to change their diets1.

The result of this indecision is that 40% of shoppers reported feeling guilty when buying and eating snacks2. Data also shows that 96% of Britons are likely to snack over a two-week period. Given the growing range of healthier snacking options available on the market today, serving these customers presents businesses of all kinds with the opportunity to both grow their range and increase customer satisfaction.

Consumer demand has shifted in recent years, with more focus put not only on price but the health benefits of the food they eat3. This ranges from the dinner table to confectionery and has been a driving factor in the growth of the healthy snacking sector. Across the segment, there are many benefits that, when associated with quality and affordable products, shoppers are more than happy to purchase.

Snacks and treats that are high in protein have long been popular options, so there it comes as no surprise that these are at the centre of the healthy snacking trend. With a similar fitness focus, energy-boosting bars have a growing presence in the market3 and are somewhat replacing breakfast bars as a supplement to shoppers’ regular diets3. On a similar note, the energy drinks market has been boosted by a new wave of entrants, comprising low-sugar, natural recipes teeming with added benefits. With more consumers incorporating sporting activities and exercise into their daily routines, the snack bar market has both diversified and grown3.


Looking beyond performance benefits, digestive health and immune support have also gained market share in recent years. The growing health awareness among consumers means that across the board people are not only looking for health benefits but are looking to reduce eating times and control their portions, too. With protein proven to stave off hunger for longer, it makes sense that well-informed shoppers are changing their preferences. Some are even swapping out their breakfast for one or two energy or protein bars3.

As this trend shows no sign of slowing down, there is increased demand for dietary-specific foods, too. Consumers are favouring plant-based and natural options – a market shift that predates the pandemic but has continued to grow since. As shoppers have continued to show their preferences for nutritional ingredients, there has been a notable shift in the lines on the market, too. The stock on offer is increasingly conscientious, as manufacturers are leaning more and more toward natural ingredients and more sustainable packaging and practices4.


With the rollout of regulations on high-fat, salt and sugar foods (HFSS) reflecting the direction of consumer mentality shift3, it is as important now as ever for retailers to truly understand their customers. With the change in consumer lifestyles and manufacturers adapting their ranges to both meet demand and HFSS restrictions4, the new breadth of stock to capitalise on the shift means that it is no surprise that the sector is expected to remain in growth until 20305.

This predicted longevity makes perfect sense when you drill down into the motivations behind the shift in shopper behaviour. Much different to a trending flavour or popular line that blows up thanks to a link in popular culture, the conscientious shift to ‘cleaner’ ingredients and healthier products plus the change in consumption habits signal lifestyle changes rather than a passing swell of popularity5. As previously stated, the timing for retailers ties up very neatly indeed with the newly introduced HFSS regulations.

The regulations have been introduced by the government to limit food that is high in fat, salt and sugar present and bought through volume promotions (due to come into force in 2025) and to restrict the placement of HFSS product categories in high-footfall areas in stores such as near checkouts, end-of-aisle units and designated queuing areas (as of October 2022)6.

Key to the success of any retail store is a clear understanding of its customer base. For retailers, adjusting to both the regulations and consumer demand can be achieved simultaneously. With the inclusion of healthier options, particularly in targeted high-footfall areas, complying with regulations and meeting consumer demand can be straightforward. Some manufacturers have introduced non-HFSS lines, which can simply replace stock that used to be in prime impulse zones – the big example being Rowntree’s new Safari Mix, Gummy Bears, and Berry Hearts bags. Another option, of course, is switching up the targeting of these promotional and impulse facings and stocking energy bars, protein bars and other non-HFSS stock, such as energy drinks, that targets the more conscientious lifestyle that consumers are favouring.


Here at Hancocks, we have all of the stock you will need to serve the evolving customer base. Our range not only covers the traditional confectionery that we have specialised in for more than six decades, but you can also find lines to suit the changing modern consumer base. So whether you are seeking an ever-popular pick n mix and chocolate, or drinks with benefits and energy bars, you can stock up in bulk here at Hancocks.


1 Kantar: Shoppers looking for healthier products more often than they think

2 Mintel: Consumer Snacking Market Report 2023

3 Mordor Intelligence: Snacks Market in UK Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024-2029)

4 Food Manufacture: Healthy snacking: The journey towards non-HFSS

5 Yahoo! Finance: Global Healthy Snacks Market Outlook 2023-2030: A Shift in Consumer Preferences Leads to a Savoury Snack Revolution

6 ACS: HFSS Regulations

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