Special Feature

Healthier Snacking

Healthier eating is high on the agenda in the UK. Many shoppers are switching from traditional confectionery, biscuits and crisps to healthier alternatives, so it’s important you’re stocking the right range.

How important is healthier snacking?

Rates of obesity in the UK have been rising steadily since the 1980s. Severe obesity has increased 3-fold in women and 7-fold in men, and almost 30% of the population in England is now classified as either obese or severely obese. There are many associated health risks, and these complications cost the NHS more than £6bn per year.1

Trends towards healthier eating habits have emerged over the last few years. Healthy eating took a hit during the pandemic, with many people turning to indulgent foods during lockdown, but we’re now seeing a resurgence. A massive 89% of shoppers in the UK say they are trying to improve their diet.2

There has been plenty of confusion caused across the industry by the introduction of HFSS regulations, but the direction of travel is towards healthier choices. This means there’s a big opportunity for convenience retailers to make the most of the changing trend and grow sales of healthier alternatives such as protein bars, cereal bars and dried fruits, nuts and seeds.

Healthier Snacking – 2 Shelf

Shelf 1 (top):

  • Grenade Fudged Up protein bar
  • Grenade White Chocolate Cookie protein bar
  • Grenade Salted Caramel protein bar
  • Grenade Oreo protein bar
  • Grenade Salted Peanut protein bar
  • Grenade Cookie Dough protein bar

Shelf 2 (bottom):

  • Grenade Peanut Nutter protein bar
  • Grenade Caramel Chaos protein bar
  • Grenade Lemon Cheesecake protein bar
  • Kind Caramel Almond Sea Salt bar
  • Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar
  • Eat Natural Almond & Apricot with yoghurt coating bar
  • Trek Cocoa Oat protein flapjack

Healthier Snacking – 1 Shelf

Shelf 1:

  • Grenade Cookie Dough protein bar
  • Grenade Oreo protein bar
  • Grenade Salted Caramel protein bar
  • Grenade White Chocolate Cookie protein bar
  • Kind Caramel Almond Sea Salt bar
  • Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar
  • Trek Cocoa Oat protein flapjack

89% of shoppers in the UK say they are trying to improve their diet.2

There is no formal definition of ‘healthy’ that applies to all foods and drinks. Different shoppers are looking for different things when choosing a healthier snack, so it’s important to stock a wide range of products. The common theme is ‘better for you than the usual choice’.

Categories that usually fall under the heading of ‘healthier’ include:

  • Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds
  • Cereal bars (including breakfast bars)
  • Protein bars
  • Protein snacks (e.g. healthier flapjacks)
  • Dried meat snacks (e.g. jerky or biltong)
  • Children’s healthier snacks (e.g. raisins)

55% say “Healthier versions of my favourite snacks are appealing”4

Morning Snacks

are generally more healthy, being chosen for energy or stimulation, to get a portion of fruit or veg, or for other general health benefits.

Afternoon Snacks

are more convenient, with consumers listing ‘quick to prepare’ and ‘lighter/not filling’ as key decision drivers.

Evening Snacks

are more likely to be indulgent, with the majority of occasions being eaten ‘for relaxation’, ‘as a treat or reward’, or because ‘I fancied something sweet or savoury’.

70% of dessert eaters believe they can be both healthy & indulgent8

Protein Bars

Protein bars make up one of the largest healthier snacking categories, worth £107.4m in the total UK market6 and £10.6m in the symbols and independents channel10. Grenade is the market leader with 66% share in symbols and independents10.

7 of Grenade’s key SKUs have recently been reformulated to comply with HFSS regulations.

  • Jaffa Quake
  • White Chocolate Cookie
  • Peanut Nutter
  • Caramel Chaos
  • Birthday Cake
  • Dark Chocolate Mint

44% of shoppers believe that replacing sweet biscuits with cereal or snack bars is an easy way to be healthier7

Dried Fruits, Nuts & Seeds

The dried fruits, nuts, and seeds category (abbreviated to DFNS) is worth £793m in the total UK market.9

Smaller packs are useful in lunchboxes, whilst larger packs are more commonly used for snacking at home. The end of pandemic restrictions and the return to workplaces saw a surge in sales of smaller packs, boosted by increased pressures on household finances and many shoppers switching to packed lunches as a cheaper alternative to buying lunch at work.

Cashews, walnut halves, and almonds are among the top-selling products, alongside mixed nuts and mixed fruits & nuts.

The best-selling brand in the market is Whitworths.

Top 5 Children’s Snack Flavours

  • Raisins
  • Mixed fruits
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Blackcurrant

Seasonal Snacking Trends

Adult snacking sales are fairly consistent throughout the year, experiencing slight dips during the Easter and Summer holidays, followed by a steady build-up to the peak at Christmas.

Children’s snacking sales are lower during the summer holidays followed by a peak when the schools return, due to the high level of use in lunch boxes.


1: Public Health England: Health survey for England, 1993-2019 (three-year average)

2: Mintel COVID-19 and Food & Drink: A Year On – UK, May 2021

3: Mintel Attitudes Towards Sports Nutrition: Inc Impact of COVID-19, UK, August 2020

4: 1,894 internet users aged 16+ who have eaten snacks in the last 2 weeks. Lightspeed/Mintel, July 2021

5: Harris Interactive survey of 2,111 consumers, 1,930 who eat healthy snacks (via

6: IRI Total Marketplace, UK, Total Protein Bars, 52w/e 2nd October 2022

7: Mintel Report – Sweet Biscuit and Snack Bars – UK, March 2020

8: Mintel Desserts – UK, March 2021

9: Kantar Worldpanel – Dried Fruits, Nuts and Seeds – Total Market – Value Sales – L52w 10/07/22

10: IRI – Protein Bars – Symbols and Independents – Value Sales – MAT to 17/04/22

11: Kantar Worldpanel – Total UK – L52w 05/09/21

You may also like
Explore effective strategies for retailers to align dental care product offerings with consumer demands, maximising sales potential in this thriving market segment....
Discover how DCS's impartial category and ranging advice transformed QD Stores' household, health, and beauty range, boosting sales and profitability. Learn how data analysis, shopper trend insights, and strategic planning led to outstanding results....
Learn why planning your winter medicine range in advance is essential for convenience retailers. Explore valuable insights, must-stock products, and category trends at for enhanced sales....