Healthy snacking

We are officially a nation that loves to snack, there are apparently more than 19 billion snacking opportunities in the UK per year, and more than two-thirds of consumers snack at least five times a week (Kantar). The healthy snacking bar market is now worth £365m and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.95% during the forecast period of (2019-2024) (Mordor Intelligence).

Consumer trends and greater awareness is driving category growth

The growth in the category is in line with growing consumer demand for healthier alternatives to traditional snacks. One of the main drivers of this is the increased awareness of what we should and shouldn’t be putting in our bodies and how frequently we should and shouldn’t be doing it. However, there is still an ‘epidemic’ of sorts out there. For it is claimed that by 2030, half of the UK could be obese if current consumption trends continue. This is something that both retailers and brands have a responsibility to help prevent. Which is certainly true of the healthy snacking category. As with everything there are those doing it right and those who are faking it – and worse – hoodwinking trusting shoppers into purchasing products which aren’t actually healthy at all.

healthy snacking

Many experts believe that healthy, low-calorie snacks in between meals can be a really useful way to help you to manage your weight. By doing so you are providing your body with a steady flow of energy throughout the day. Which should reduce cravings that could lead to you making unhealthier choices.

healthy snacking

Three of the biggest trends in healthy snacking


Arguably the area with the most awareness amongst customers at the moment within healthy snacking category is protein. Protein is key as part of a healthy, balanced diet and should be considered in new product development. The UK private health and fitness market is now worth £3.2bn. Growing 20% between 2015 and 2018, according to Mintel. Opportunities certainly lie ahead for associate nutrition. With the sports food and drink industry growing by a reported 12% up to £77m in 2017-18. The biggest success story has been global sports and nutrition brand, Grenade. Who have just recently reported to be outselling all other chocolate bar brands in UK supermarkets. There most popular brand, ‘Grenade Carb Killa’, has a 31% share of the total market and has driven 78% of the growth.


Packed full of natural nutritional benefits, the nut is a staple ‘health’ classic. The nut sector is already worth £317m and we are accustomed to snacking on nuts on most eating occasions. Couple this with their ability to straddle both the sweet and savoury flavour profiles (more on this next). It’s this flexibility, alongside the crunch that gives the nut the edge over most other ingredients. Not least, they are filling and therefore hit the spot with consumers who look to healthy snacks as a way to keep them fuller for longer and prevent over-indulgence. Long live the nut!


It used to be that a snack was either sweet or savoury and that they were two very clearly defined categories. However, now we are seeing brands offering both experiences in one to customers. but now brands are offering both. We love sweet and savoury because of a brain experience called sensory specific satiety. Basically, we’re wired to desire a variety of foods and tastes. Eventually we’ll tire of the same taste over and over again. However, by combining sweet and savoury together we avoid sensory specific satiety and it keeps us coming back for more.

Authenticity remains the key in the healthy snacking category

As the category grows, we should expect to see more of the traditional big snacking brands entering the market. Using their experience and clout to start to win back market share from some of the smaller disrupters. The key for any brand entering this space though is to remember one key word – authenticity. To generate long term loyalty in this category you need to have ultimate honesty about what is in your product and what the health benefits are.

Faking it, or misleading customers in today’s market is a lose-lose. It’s pretty easy to read the ingredients list and see what is contained in these bars. You will find products in the ‘heathy snacking’ category, containing high levels of sugar, glucose, corn syrup or other derivatives. Keeping the product as natural as possible is critical when aiming the deliver against the needs of consumers in this growing category. For more insight into the authenticity trends, check out our insight report into Generation Z HERE.

tasty healthy snacking

Some of my particular favourite brands in the healthy snacking category

Aldi – Foodie Market – Orange and Choc Chip Cacao Brownie Bars

Not super healthy, but still pretty good, but ultimately bloody delicious and great value. I will typically devour one on sight and be seen giggling hysterically in the corner for 5 minutes afterwards out of sheer joy.

Nakd Bakewell Tart

Naked are the godfathers of this category, pure and simple. Innovative and upfront with their ingredients. No crap just taste. These are super sweet but really feel like you’re having an indulgent treat.

Aldi Brazil Nut & Cherry Paleo Bar

Aldi smashing it out of the park again with these bad boys. Cold pressed and using only 4 ingredients they are bang on trend, amazing value and god damn stone cold tasty.

YES! Sea Salt and Dark Choc

It really delivers on the sweet and salty/savoury combo which makes them super moreish. A little high on the sugar, compared to others that are pure natural ingredients, but for a big brand like Nestle this is a positive step in the right direction. Plus the packaging is made from 100% recyclable paper – which gets them an extra bonus point!

Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).