Going back to basics sees biscuit sales boom in 2019

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Core biscuits like the chocolate digestive are driving sales across the category
Core biscuits like the chocolate digestive are driving sales across the category

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Sales of biscuits boomed in the UK last year, thanks to the continued strength of core brands, according to Pladis.

The manufacturer’s 2019 annual report found that sales of biscuits grew by £66m (2.5%), with the category now worth £2.7bn. It claimed the sector was on its way to unlocking a £264m opportunity over the next two to three years.

Pladis attributed last year’s growth in sales to brands optimising their ranges and focusing on their core products, which were responsible for delivering more than two-thirds of category growth.

Pladis UK & Ireland vice president of customer Scott Snell said: “The importance of core products to the biscuit category should never be underestimated.Last year was a strong year for McVitie’s and a huge contributor to this success was our tight focus on the best-loved products in our range.

Growth of core biscuits

This was further solidified by figures that suggested just 8% of products accounted for 90% of biscuit sales in the convenience channel. The combined growth of the top 10 core biscuit brands (+3.4%) equated to £422m-worth of sales and represented 21% of total category growth.

However, this projected growth could be hampered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic currently affecting all areas of the food and drink industry.

“It’s likely that the coronavirus pandemic will affect both the way we shop and the products and formats we favour for the foreseeable future,”​ Snell added.

Guidance for the future

“That’s why this year’s Review is more important than ever. It will provide the clear guidance required to help all retailers make the most of the opportunity this crucial category represents amidst challenging and uncertain circumstances.”

Pladis’ report identified a number of key opportunities that manufacturers could look to in order to help boost their sales in the future.

Along with a push towards being more sustainable and making products healthier, recommendations were made to look for new snacking opportunities, as well as innovating ranges to make biscuits more attractive to younger consumers. A full list can be found in the box below.

Meanwhile, sales of canned meats, flour and canned beans have more than doubled since significant consumer stockpiling began​ in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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