The appetisers and dips market has shown tremendous growth over the last four years, offering consumers a new wide range of innovative and inventive products. Mintel’s Amanda White takes a look at the sector and finds out how the manufacturers are making such a splash.

The appetisers and dips market covers a broad spectrum of foods, and the sector is widely defined by Mintel as encompassing foods used in entertaining and for snacks. Market size data finds the sector has continued to show strong growth, increasing by 24% in value between 1996 and 2000. Market size for 2001 is forecast at £2,270m (US$3.27bn).

The appetisers and dips market can broadly be divided into two groups of products; traditional meat-based items such as pork pies, scotch eggs, sliced cooked meats and sausage rolls, and more modern (in UK commercial terms at least) appetisers, such as dips, garlic bread and ethnic appetisers. It is generally the latter group that has shown the strongest growth; garlic bread, dips, ethnic appetisers, breadsticks, olives and crudités have all shown growth ranging from 35-70% between 1996 and 2000.

Since the market encompasses such a broad spectrum of foods, new productivity varies considerably between segments. Mintel’s GNPD (Global New Product Development) database highlights further processed chilled foods and frozen foods as areas which have seen the greatest levels of new products introductions, as consumers seek a greater variety of ever more sophisticated snack-orientated foods. The dip sector has seen particularly high amounts of new product development.

Broadly speaking, the dips market has been faring extremely well. Sales of chilled dips have grown at a healthy rate, boosted by the popularity of salsa as a dip for tortilla chips and other dipping products. The dips market was worth £121m in 2000, rivaling the size of the pork pies sector. Low-fat products have also been important in driving sector growth, which stood at 48% between 1996 and 2000.

In recent months fresh dips have been a major area for new product activity, and NPD has been particularly evident in the own-label sector. Retailers are increasingly offering separately packed, fresh dips in greater variety. Some fresh dips have adopted a health angle, for example Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself low-fat range and Marks & Spencer’s 95% fat-free dips. Introduced in the spring of 2001, the Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself dips include a selection of flavours comprising: fresh soured cream and chive; onion and garlic; and Feta cheese. Served in plastic 170g pots, the dips are gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians. The pack is flashed with 50% less fat. Meanwhile, the M&S range includes garlic and herb, prawn cocktail, soured cream & chives; and ham & cheddar flavours.

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features among the key branded fresh dip manufacturers. The Doritos Dippas St Ivel range is extensively available in the UK and Belgium, and has seen further introductions in Australia and Indonesia during this year.

First reported by GNPD in the USA in October 2001, Procter & Gamble has expanded its Pringles offerings with a new Zip Dip product, which has been picked up in the test market of Waterloo, Iowa. Zip Dip consists of a single-serve canister of Pringles chips with an attached mini-carton of dip on the top. The company is aiming to muscle in on Frito-Lay‘s chip-and-dip kits business with its Zip Dip introduction, which is available in 4 flavours; Fireblast, Tex ‘N Grill, Ravin’ Ranch, and Flamin’ Cheese.

Among many other food category types, 2000 has seen the dip market capitalise on the development of single-serve items, together with salad dressings, creamers, fruits, and spreads. The promise of higher margins has attracted more companies into single-serve foods such as microwaveable gravies, cranberry sauce, flavoured oils and vinegars, popcorn toppings, and so on. In the US, Dean’s offers a range of dips for one, which can be eaten as a salad dressing or as a dip for vegetables. This product is aimed mainly at women who choose to take lunch to work. Among the most popular dipping flavours for 2000 and 2001 is artichoke, which has proved particularly successful in the USA.

Another important trend is the ‘extension appetisers’ – the packaging of dips with products usually envisaged as side dishes or accompaniments. For example, in the summer of 2001, Somerfield introduced onion rings packaged with sour cream and chive dip, positioned as a side order. These products are also using packaging as a point of differentiation. Freshway Foods markets chilled fish sticks with Marie Rose dip, packaged in a dual compartment pot, while Kerry Foods offers saucy dippers, cooked cocktail sausages packaged with a tomato dipping sauce.

By Amanda White, Mintel

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The International Market for ‘Alternative’ Snacks

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