Savory biscuits accounted for just 10% of global new product activity in bakery products recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of July 2013. This is equivalent to just over a quarter of total biscuit and cookie launches over that period.
However, while the savory biscuits market is much smaller than that for sweet biscuits/cookies and levels of new product activity are generally much lower, the savory sector has been showing a stronger growth rate in many countries. This is driven by increasingly sophisticated and complex flavors, more interesting shapes, improved textures and an increasing focus on health credentials.
Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights reported: “The sector is also moving away from relatively plain biscuits used as an accompaniment for products such as cheese, savory spreads and wine, and into products positioned as snacks in their own right, suitable for consumption straight from the box or with dips.”
Savory biscuits product activity is characterized by the relatively high level of interest in healthy options, with more than 40% of launches positioned on a health platform of some kind. This includes both passive claims, such as low fat, organic, natural, gluten-free, etc., and active claims, such as with added calcium or protein or featuring specific benefits such as heart health or digestive health. This figure rises to more than 80% for U.S. launches and nearly 60% in Europe, but falls to just 20% in Asia.
Interest in all-natural and clean-label options appears to be continuing unabated, with more than 20% of the savory biscuits and crackers launches recorded globally by Innova Market Insights featuring natural, additive-/preservative-free or organic claims. This trend is particularly evident in the more developed markets, however, particularly the U.S., where the percentage rises to just under half.
Other key health claims featuring strongly in crackers and savory biscuits include the use of whole grains, featured on 10% of global launches, and source of fiber/high-fiber and gluten-free, both featuring on 8%.
New or unusual ingredients are also starting to feature more often in product activity, adding interest or a healthier image or to permit gluten-free claims. Nabisco’s Triscuit brand was extended in the U.S. in mid-2013 with Brown Rice Triscuit made with whole grain brown rice and wheat with pieces of sweet potato or red beans. Other interesting U.S. introductions have included Blue Diamond’s Artisan Nut Thins made with almonds, brown rice and seeds.
The sector is also breaking new ground with composite products that sit between crackers and other types of biscuits and snacks. This was illustrated by the 2012 introduction of a Milka Tuc variant in European markets such as Spain and Germany, combining two of Kraft’s well known brands, Milka chocolate and Tuc salted biscuits. The new product sets a Tuc biscuit into Milka chocolate to offer a contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of a biscuit.
“It is clear that new product activity is helping to drive the savory biscuits market forward,” said Mr. Williams, “with innovation designed to increase the product’s appeal as a versatile, nutritious and tasty snack, offering planned and impulse, on-the-go and at-home options for a variety of social and domestic occasions.”