It’s fair to say that the last year was one like no other and certainly not one which we could have foreseen. Grocery market trends were turned on their head the online channel grew share by 5% and impulse missions such as food to go and meal for tonight diminished overnight. Last year pushed the re-set button for many consumers, re-evaluating priorities and realizing what is important. With this, we have seen both a refocus on health, juxtaposed with the resurgence of indulgent categories. So, what are we to expect of 2021? Here are our top 5 trend predictions for 2021 for the snack bar category.

1. Permissible Indulgence

  • Overall, in-home snacking occasions increased by 41%³ during the early stages of lockdown,
  • indulgence being the key driver. (Confectionery, Crisps and popcorn all saw double digit growth over the first 12 weeks¹)
  • Top goals for consumers identified by Levercliff Category Consultants post COVID consumer tracking survey were to lose weight and increase activity however key barriers identified were the desire for comfort food.
  • consumers are looking for that sweet spot of a permissible treat that also meets some of their desired health needs.

2. Healthier Kids Snacking

  • Since lockdown kid’s cereal bars have gained share as parents seek convenient solutions to meet their child’s relentless snacking requests
  • ‘Healthier kids morning snacks’ in particular have seen category share gain with key attributes such as real fruit, vitamins and 1 of 5 a day being prominent.
  • Our predictions are that this trend will continue, with school lunch box occasions rising driven from both a health, safety and economic focus.

3. Immune Boosting Claims

  • 87%² of shoppers are now expressing an interest in immune health resulting in immunity being the number 2 health concern, beaten by only heart health.
  • On pack claims of immune boosting have increased over 20% YOY¹ throughout 2020.
  • we predict this will be a growing trend for 2021 as consumers seek out ways to protect themselves.

4. Getting the Format Right

  • With OTG impulse snacking being a casualty of lockdown, single format snacks have driven decline across the snacking category
  • Multipacks have grown category share as shoppers are forced into bigger, planned shopping missions and in-home consumption.
  • A shift to online shopping has driven demand for bulk purchases and subscription services.
  • As these habits embed we expect to see budget constraints continue to impact formats as shoppers seek improved value for money.

5. Sustainable Packaging

  • Retailers continue to charge ahead to meet future targets and it is important that suppliers keep pace with required changes.
  • Closed loop recycling materials will maintain precedence over compostable packaging as retailers focus on recycled materials and using what is already within the packaging system.


[1] AC Nielsen Dec 2020 [2] IGD Shopper Vista 2020 [3] Kantar Usage Panel May 2020