We live in an increasingly busy world, where efficiency and convenience are often no longer a preference but a necessity. The average commute for UK workers is 54 minutes and nearly 20% of full-time employees in the UK work more than 45 hours per week.

With increased time spent on the go, spontaneous snacking has become part of a daily routine - consumers are often eating snacks as soon as they buy them. In addition, public awareness of government health policies means consumers are increasingly aware of the nutritional value of their food choices, and are taking control of their calorie intakes. Therefore, there is a clear need and commercial imperative for the food industry to respond to this lifestyle change - it should seek to provide easy and quick snacking options for the consumer.

Nevertheless, it’s important to recognise that the main reasons for snacking are still for pure enjoyment - delicious taste and a pleasurable experience. To achieve consumers’ combined wants, we’ve seen substantial demand for single-serve packs across all snacking categories.

Single-serve packs not only help consumers easily monitor their snacking calories, but also enable food manufacturers to reach their obligations under the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal. Success has been seen already with other snacking categories: for example, the adapted product ranges within confectionery.

“Single-serve packs help consumers to monitor their snacking calories”

While biscuits are the number-one snacking choice in the home, only 5% of traditional biscuits are available in take-out formats designed for the busy consumer. This demonstrates a clear opportunity for a broader portfolio of sweet biscuits to be positioned as relevant for all occasions (particularly for adults) rather than just in the home.

These category and consumer insights, combined with the fact that post-recessionary shoppers are savvier than ever before, mean the sweet biscuit category must adapt and revolutionise itself. The potential value for this market has been identified as £240m - a significant opportunity for manufacturers and retailers.

As industry leaders in innovation, we have already launched individual versions of our bestselling brands in multipacks into the market, with high proportion of adult consumption; demonstrating our track record of success in this burgeoning sector and our understanding of consumers’ needs. As people’s days get busier, the home comfort of a favourite biscuit on the go will certainly be a welcome addition to an industrious day at work.

Our brands include some of the nation’s most loved biscuits, with one in four households purchasing Maryland Cookies. We are excited that single-serve Maryland Mini Cookies and Maryland Gooeys have hit shelves. With this latest proposition, we are not only helping our consumers manage snacking portions and calorie intake, but once again are driving the evolution of the biscuits category.

Stuart Wilson is chief commercial officer at Burton’s Biscuits