Spreads GettyImages-610744160

There’s no sweetening this pill: it’s been an unsavoury year for jam,  nut butter and honey. They’ve lost £19.2m between them after shifting 12.5 million fewer kilos. 

It’s a trend noted by Ferrero UK, owner of  leading hazelnut spread brand Nutella (not included in this data). “During lockdown, we saw shoppers in core grocery categories stocking up or buying more as they spent longer periods of time at home,” says Jason Sutherland, sales director at Ferrero.

“However, as life returned to normal and shoppers began to look for more on-the-go options, we noticed a slight category decline.”

The impact is clear in jam & preserves, the largest and fastest-falling of the three sectors covered by this report. Volumes have declined 10.1%, with seven of the top 10 brands recording a fall in units, and six also declining in value.

To a degree, this trend is the result of soaring inflation, says NielsenIQ analyst Jack Norris. “Trying to juggle the underlying macro factors with keeping production costs low, while also keeping up with consumer tastes, is showing to be a difficult task.”

Not for everyone, though. Bonne Maman cemented its place at the top with an 3.7% increase in volumes, driving an extra £3.1m. Mackays also bucked the downward trend.

“Bonne Maman and Mackays both market their authentic product credentials and quality,” explains Norris. “Both have grown their range this year to continue to conform with the ideas of natural and authentic products with less sugar and better health in mind.”

Demand for healthier spreads, however, has failed to buoy nut butter. Shoppers have shelled out £9.5m less on brands, in a sector that’s down £10.5m overall.

As with jam, this is due to sales settling in the wake of the pandemic, insists Ecotone UK, owner of Whole Earth, which this year launched Drizzler squeezy peanut butter (see Top Launch, below).

“Peanut butter was the perfect item to stockpile,” says Ecotone marketing director Adele Ward. “What we’re seeing now is a rebalance in the category.”

For honey, the story is very much the same, as it deals with a 5.7% fall in volume sales – the equivalent of roughly 3.6 million jars.

Top Launch 2022

Whole Earth Drizzler | Ecotone

Whole Earth DRIZZLER_GOLDEN_ROASTED_320g-391edb-original-165089

Peanut butter was given the squeezable treatment this year, with the rollout of Whole Earth Drizzler in Super Smooth and Golden Roasted (rsp: £3.30/320g) in a bottle made from 100% recycled materials. Claiming to be the first squeezy peanut butter in UK supermarkets, a unique production process makes it runnier than its jarred equivalent. After making its debut in Waitrose and Tesco in May, Drizzler’s distribution extended to Sainsbury’s, Asda, Ocado, Spar and Morrisons – backed by a £1.5m push.

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2022: How can brands stay in focus?