The increasing focus on health has led to the introduction of lighter versions of sweet and savoury snacks, with less sugar, salt and fat

With the overriding focus in the impulse arena being on health, it’s no surprise that many manufacturers are producing lighter versions of existing products.
PepsiCo says it has “been responding to the growing consumer demand for healthier eating by introducing a number of healthier snacks”. And United Biscuits UK says it “recognises that the better for you market is crucial to growth within sweet and savoury snacking”.
UBUK has already reduced fat levels in its products by using oils that are free from trans fatty acids. And it has an ongoing programme in which it expects to achieve an average sodium reduction of 10% across key snacks and biscuits in the next 12 months.
Newly launched Hula Hoops Shake 2 Salt, for example, contains a sachet of salt. It is targeted at parents worried about how much salt their kids are consuming and enables them to control the amount of salt in the product.
The company is also targeting mums with the relaunch of Skips in new packs featuring a nutritional promise of fewer than 100 calories per pack, no MSG, gluten-free and lower sodium.
PepsiCo is also finding mums a good target for its health policies, saying: “Many parents are increasingly aware about the health and nutrition of their children, but recognise kids still want tasty, fun snacks.
“Having only been on the market for three months, Potato Heads Ready Salted and Cheese & Onion flavours are already in the top-selling 25 snack brands in impulse.”
Quaker is continuing to develop its healthier snacks with the introduction of Snack-a-Jacks Chocolate Delights, a range of Snack-a-Jacks Jumbos in sweet flavours, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Orange, containing real chocolate but with less than 10% fat.
PepsiCo has invested in merchandising support for retailers in the impulse market, with £4m going last year on display units for the Quaker portfolio of healthier snacks.
It says: “As consumers want healthier snacks, it is essential that, in particular, independent retailers have a healthier snacking range.”
Head of buying, impulse, at
Musgrave Budgens-Londis, JohnTaylor, is full of praise for Coca-Cola Enterprises, the leader in diet carbonated drinks. “It is innovative, it supports products through advertising and is prepared to promote to encourage trial. It definitely has consumer confidence.”
He adds that star performers are Snack-a-Jacks, Quaker’s Seasons and Wrigley’s Extra.
Simon Mills, buyer at Booker, says: “Health is increasingly important. It is no surprise to see the massive increase in the number of better for you products and reformulations.
“For example, Walkers has changed to a healthier oil for its crisps. And Kettle Foods has a no-salt version, Kettle Chips Undressed.”
But health can cover more than just dietary needs. Wrigley is quick to point out that 90% of its chewing gum is sugar free and also offers benefits such as tooth decay reduction, helping in the cessation of smoking, and reducing stress.
Nestlé Rowntree has given its entire Rowntrees range real fruit juice and is moving to no artificial colours or flavours.