Jam croissant breakfast

Source: Unsplash

As well as more time at home in the mornings, many Brits had more cash to spend on breakfast items

Jams & spreads brands found themselves in a sticky situation as they tried to improve on the record sales of 2020. But don’t let the sector’s £13.1m decline distract you. The market is still up by more than £60m on pre-pandemic levels (note this year’s read of the market doesn’t include chocolate spreads, and market leader Nutella is worth £56m alone).

Several factors helped drive this performance. More time spent at home meant more cooked breakfasts and lunches, requiring extra preserves, spreads and nut butters. Plus, home-baking boomed.

Not only did Brits have more time to spend in their kitchens, many also had more cash thanks to a break from the expenses of normal life, such as pricey commutes.

“Many shoppers turned to baking to pass the time and because some consumers had spare money they looked to trade up in certain areas – in particular, jams – for their baking exploits,” says NielsenIQ senior client manager Ben Upjohn.

“When the country started to unlock, consumers were still capped by restrictions. Therefore, growth behind big brands such as Bonne Maman is in part down to people meeting outside for picnics and baking cakes to share with friends and family.”


Kids-focused jam brand Hartley’s, however, saw sales dip by 4.5% as it struggled to improve on its 9.8% growth recorded in 2020. “Hartley’s has struggled partly because kids have not been going to school with packed lunches for large parts of this year,” explains Upjohn. “Shoppers are also a lot more health-conscious, meaning many are looking for healthier alternatives.”

That nut butters have delivered the strongest performance in spreads provides evidence of this health consciousness. Whole Earth may have dipped £1.6m (5.9%), but it’s still up £1.7m on 2019 (although direct comparisons aren’t possible). “Whole Earth has retained its number one position thanks to the brand’s commitment to spread goodness through products that are better for you and better for the earth,” says marketing & category director Bryan Martins at owner Ecotone UK.

As part of that commitment, Whole Earth is a supporter of the Sumatran Orangutan Society. In the wake of COP26, sustainability claims like these and Pip & Nut’s (below) could well become more important.

Top Launch 2021

Glass jars | Pip & Nut

Pip and Nut glass jars

Source: Pip & Nut

Pip & Nut’s July decision to ditch plastic and  switch to 170g and 300g glass jars is a key step in its journey to becoming net zero, says the brand. The jars hit the shelves in the summer in a bid to support “a wider agenda set by supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s who have all made commitments to reduce plastic packaging in store”, said the brand’s founder Pip Murray. It seems to have hit the right note.  Pip & Nut has realised growth of 5.1% to £7.9m in the past year.

The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2021: who’s up, who’s down – and our overview of the key trends