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Biscuits for Happier Times

Global bakery brands have been busy ramping up their New Product Development (NPD) ahead of the winter season. It’s been a long-awaited festive time, with most of the year having been spent indoors.

By Sharmila Rajah

Once housebound, consumers are relishing their freedom and their biscuits. The biscuit market, valued at USD106,232.78m in 2020, is poised to reach an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.97% during the forecast period of 2021-2026; cemented by the world’s perpetual love for biscuits. Driven by the rising demand for convenience snacking, indulgence, and healthy ingredients, the biscuit market is booming with its savory biscuit segment more than doubling in growth. The Asia Pacific biscuit market, led by countries such as India, Australia, and China, is forecast to reach USD16.4bn by the year 2027.

Biscuits are never out of fashion. Packed with flavor and texture, the humble biscuit still holds firm to its top position, having played a big part in consumers’ diets during the lockdown. Globally, the pandemic has had a serious impact on the way people shop and snack. New formulations to the basic product such as low fat, gluten-free, low carbo, organic, and high fiber continue to fuel the market. 

For the Brits, biscuits matter; they spend around £8m on biscuits daily. It is arguably the nation’s most significant food. According to the pladis Annual Biscuit Review 2020, sales were up by 7.2% from a year earlier to reach a staggering GBP2.96bn. The top money earner was pladis’ very own McVitie’s milk chocolate digestives, followed by Nestle’s KitKat as snacking surged during the pandemic. Additionally, the UK government’s restrictions on fat, sugar, and salt content in food products will continue to affect the sweet biscuit category this year. Consumers are expected to maintain their preference for premium biscuit options as they yearn to treat themselves in these unpredictable times, but as lockdowns have eased, products like breakfast biscuits will gradually return to growth. Manufacturers are, also, recognizing the value for money element as a key motivator in consumer shopping behavior for 2021. Pent-up demand for a festive season filled with larger-scale celebrations with family and friends will mean Christmas 2021 is bound to be huge. pladis is expecting a surge in sales leading up to Christmas. 

Just like in the UK, biscuits have long been popular in India; the market is, after all, worth USD5.5bn. The country’s biscuit market has seen demand rise during the pandemic, with milk and Marie biscuits increasing their growth rate to about 12% in 2020. Major biscuit manufacturers such as Britannia, Parle, ITC, and Cremica have been hard at work launching new variants to keep up with consumers – close to two in five (39%) consumers have increased their snack consumption. Mintel’s research shows that 86% of Indians have eaten biscuits at least once a week with salted biscuits, crackers, Marie, and glucose biscuits topping their shopping list. If anything, the pandemic has heightened consumers’ interest in healthy snacking. Indians have been gravitating towards clean labels, such as no additives or preservatives, observed in the rise from 11% to 16% in this category of goods. Mintel reveals that almost 63% of consumers have eaten healthy biscuits such as multigrain, high-fiber, light, and low sugar varieties during the pandemic. 

Over in China, biscuit consumption is soaring with the biscuit market showing strong potential. Total sales are expected to exceed USD11.8bn by 2023; the market is one of the fastest-growing snack segments in China. Some of the country’s primary players include XU FU JI, and Chi Dian while the Oreo Cookie brand from Mondelez is a leader in China. 

You can read the rest of this article in the Autumn Issue of Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit magazine, which you can access by clicking here

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