This month’s Market Review looks at the biscuit market; a very adaptable product to cater for the diverse nature of global tastes.

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Biscuit Market

Growth is the norm

Of the 34 of the largest world economies covered, 23 have exhibited growth: even where the rate is negative, it is well below 5%. Biscuits are a key part of the burgeoning snacking market and this is a growing habit which takes no notice of country borders. The sector also encompasses a wide variety of formats and usually can be made from local produce.

Certainly China leads the way as seen in the charts. The popularity has been aided by consumers turning to packaged products away from loose, or even from home-made, items. This has brought per capita consumption of packaged products up to that of around the global average. However, it is also a low ticket item and can form a treat, even in those households in countries whose economies are not performing as well as the Chinese.

Leaving a sweet taste

In all countries the cookies (sweet biscuits) segment is the larger, with the exception of Malaysia where there is a 50/50 split. Nevertheless, even here, it is the sweet sector which has shown the most recent growth. In the rest of Asia the cookie segment dominates; it is only in Northern Europe and the US where crackers have a sizeable share.

Vietnamese potential

The growth rates achieved in the past will not be achieved in the future. This is partly due to the harsher economic environment, but also it is because in many countries the growth has brought per capita consumption up from a low base to near that of the mature markets. A country with notably lower consumption than elsewhere, despite its dynamic recent performance, is Vietnam. Both the sweet and savoury sectors offer considerable potential here. This is reflected in an analysis of the numbers of new products launched recently as featured in Mintel’s Global New Product Database; these have grown from 228 in 2009 to 447 in 2011.


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