Australian consumers’ growing awareness of health concerns is changing savoury snack offerings.

Given the global impact of the health megatrend, it may come as some surprise to see that, between 1999 and 2009, Australia’s savoury snacks market is set to grow in value at 6.2% year on year. However, as Datamonitor’s ConsumerGraphics database reveals, it is middle aged Aussies that snack makers should be targeting, rather than kids, but they should do so with healthier products such as pretzels.

The Australian market for savoury snacks was worth US$718m in 2003. The market is to a great extent supported by Australian snackers’ predilection for potato chips and processed savoury snacks, which respectively account for 42.7% and 42.4% of the overall savoury snacks market.

Among Australian snack consumers, mid-lifers aged between 35 and 44 years are the greatest consumers of savoury snacks. Although they account for only 15.1% of the Australian population, mid-lifers consumed 19.8% of all Australian potato chips in 2003 in value terms. Mid-lifers’ appetite for processed savoury snacks such as Procter & Gamble’s Pringles is even greater, since they accounted for 20.1% of this category in 2003.

This is perhaps a surprising finding since received wisdom is that children and young teens have the greatest predilection for snacks. However the 0-14 age group is rather under-represented in this market. Overall this demographic makes up 20.3% of the Australian population, but only accounts for 15.8% of the savoury snacks market’s value. This group clearly has a slight preference for processed savoury snacks, since they consume 17.2% of this category’s value. More conventionally, they are the least important consumers of nuts and seeds, accounting for only 12.6% of this category.

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By GlobalData

There may well be a health-derived explanation as to why Australian youngsters are seemingly less keen on processed snacks and chips than older consumers: the perception is that Australian youngsters lead healthy lifestyles typified by outdoor pursuits and, particularly, a strong focus on sporting activity. Needless to say, the large-scale consumption of chips and processed snacks does not fit easily into such an active everyday life.

This trend is to some extent reflected in the nature of new savoury snack products that have found favour Down Under. Offerings such as flavoured pretzels (which are baked rather than fried) and reduced cholesterol potato chips are becoming increasingly popular with Australian consumers.

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