Biscuits are fighting savoury snacks with clever innovations Yet another area hit by the prevalent EDLP policies of the supermarkets, the biscuits category has nevertheless managed continued growth thanks to some interesting activity on the new product development side. One of the challenges facing the biscuit manufacturers is that snacking has shifted towards savoury, with direct competitors such as bagged snacks and cheesy lunchbox snacks both growing at a healthy rate. The lack of promotions in the EDLP context has led to overall lower prices, and to a certain extent this has encouraged increased purchasing ­ but it is product innovation that has kept the biscuit sector ticking over. The plastic tubes introduced by McVitie's have proved enormously successful in reviving the fortunes of Jaffa Cakes and Chocolate Homewheat. These portable and convenient packs have capitalised on the trend for snacking and pushed forward the move to eat biscuits out of the home. They have also ensured that McVitie's retains its status as a driving force within biscuits as the tubes will be rolled out across its range (Hob Nobs are the latest to get the tube treatment). And the success of Jaffa Cakes this year (it is one of the fastest growing products in the biscuit category) is also thanks to a proactive marketing strategy, including the brand's tie up with Manchester United. New biscuit products tend to be extensions of existing lines rather than completely new brands. Arguably this is down to a lack of imagination on the part of the manufacturers but the harsh truth of the matter is that only an estimated 5% of new products are successful. So it is often common sense to take a more guarded approach to new product development. NPD has accounted for around £115m of all biscuit sales in the last year, with a number of small products contributing to this figure, rather than one major one. Rolo biscuits and Twix Top are a couple of classic examples of brand extensions used as an attempt to generate additional sales. Kellogg's NutriGrain has been one of the most successful new products in recent times but its stabilisation in sales over the last year could in part be down to NutriGrain Twists and NutriGrain Elevenses cannibalising sales from the standard product. The increase in savoury lunchbox snacks has led in turn to similar innovations in the sweet biscuit arena. The revival of Burton's Jammie Dodgers has been kickstarted by Dipz! ­ biscuits and a portion of jam in which to dip them. In addition, individually wrapped Jammie Dodgers have increased the lunch-box options. This range of biscuits aimed specifically at children has grown while old established products such as Burton's Wagon Wheels and Nestlé Blue Riband and even the relatively recent Cadbury's Time Out have suffered a drop in sales. {{MARKETING }}