gluten free hobnobs

United Biscuits is set to offer gluten-free biscuits in the McVitie’s portfolio for the first time, as the brand moves to improve the accessibility of its most popular sweet biscuit ranges.

Rolling out from early July, McVitie’s Gluten-Free Original Hobnobs and McVitie’s Gluten-Free Milk Chocolate Hobnobs offer the same “great signature taste and crumbly texture” as the ‘regular’ biscuits, and will be supported by a digital and PR campaign. UB expects the range to reach £3m of sales in its first year.

Free-from was important to McVitie’s as it sought to make its reach as wide as possible, giving consumers with specific dietary requirements the chance to enjoy a “McVitie’s moment”, said brand director Kerry Owens.

“The free-from sweet biscuit segment continues to expand, with 55% of UK consumers now open to buying gluten-free products.”

Available this month from McVitie’s will be To Go, the brand’s first on-the-go sweet biscuit range. Available in two formats, the individual twin-pack (rsp: 50p/35g) offers a choice of Digestives and Hobnobs, both as milk chocolate variants, while the multipack (rsp: £1.39 to £1.59) - containing six twin-packs - comes in milk chocolate Hobnobs, with Digestives in original, milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

The new line-up will be supported by in-store activity and TV ads due to air later in the year.

“The way people are consuming snacking products has shifted in recent years, and we have invested significantly in research and shopper insights to build and evolve our understanding,” said Owens. Busy lifestyles and the decline of the traditional three meals a day had led to shoppers “valuing convenience and portability in products to make life that little bit easier”, she added.

McVitie’s saw a 1% fall in its sales value to £464.5m in 2015 [Nielsen 52 w/e 2 January 2016].