While flavour and texture have always played an integral role in the sensory appeal of sweet biscuits, visual appearance is another major sensory element which is now in the limelight of sweet biscuit innovation in Germany.

According to Mintel’s 2016 Food and Drink Trend “Eat with Your Eyes”, experimentation around visual appeal is becoming increasingly popular across the global food and drink market. Exciting and eye-catching design, bold colours and unique shapes are not only making the eating or drinking experience more fun but also acts as an important marketing tactic. Given Millennial consumers’ interest in visual social media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, the ‘share-worthiness’ of a product can take a brand to the next level, making it an innovation priority.

Shapes and colours add shelf appeal to sweet biscuits in Germany

Sweet biscuits are situated in a crowded market space in Germany. Biscuit brands are experiencing the need to be more creative in their choice of shapes, stepping up efforts to present their products in a visually impactful way. This is particularly evident in sweet biscuits with better-for-you attributes, where nature-inspired shapes and patterns support a healthy, less processed positioning and cue goodness and naturalness. Colour is another visual element which can disrupt traditional product perceptions and, therefore, grab attention, especially if the colour of a food product does not match consumer expectations. Some sweet biscuit manufacturers are attempting to capitalise on this effect, using bold, unexpected colours to interrupt the homogeneity of the sweet biscuits aisle.

Visual appeal is proving especially relevant when it comes to engaging younger audiences, and particularly children and adolescents. Relying on fun shapes, such as numbers, letters or animal figures, to connect with children has been a long-standing tactic among sweet biscuit manufactures; however, there is potential for such products to invoke a sense of childhood-fun for adults, too.

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Some brands are now further exploiting the role of shaped biscuits for children, producing biscuits which could serve as a creative outlet and offer educational experience – such as ‘Coole Kekse’ vehicle and traffic sign shaped biscuits from the German discount chain Aldi. The German biscuit manufacturer Hans Freitag is another good example when it comes to shape innovation aimed at young consumers. 4633453-0_dcddb75469bIn 2014, the company launched Anita’s Own Likies, a chocolate-coated biscuit in a ‘thumbs up’ shape ‘for someone who has really deserved a thank you or a like’. Continuing the social media theme, Hans Freitag’s most recent launch pays tribute to the emoji craze and comprises biscuits in assorted shapes based on popular emoji icons. Bearing the slogan ‘Say it with biscuits’ and invoking social media trends, the launch is primarily aimed at teenagers and young adults, but is likely to find appeal with a wider variety of biscuit consumers both young and old.

Katya Witham is Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel with a dedicated field of focus on Germany. Katya draws on her comprehensive knowledge of the market to identify and explore the major trends across various FMCG categories, providing the insights needed to successfully navigate the German market.

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