‘The Great British Biscuit Shortage’: 2016 sales fall

Deflation and floods impacted the biscuit industry's sales last year

Biscuits were bought by 99% of UK households last year, despite a fall in sales driven by ‘The Great British Biscuit Shortage’, says biscuit and confectionery manufacturer Pladis.

The £2.4bn biscuit industry’s shortage had a lasting effect across the year, a Pladis report revealed. Any growth to the sector was cancelled out by the shortage and deflation, according to the report – Biscuits in Britain 2016: A Year of Change. Cumbrian floods and changing promotional strategies also impacted biscuit sales, it added.

Pladis UK head of category development James Thomas said: “The biscuit category will evolve and respond to these challenges by continuing to improve the shopping experience, delivering consumer-led innovation and ensuring ranges meet shopper needs.”

‘Evolving category drivers’

“Biscuits play an important role within the snacking sector, and are well-placed to respond to evolving category drivers and future headwinds. Latest 12-week biscuit performance has shown some promising results, up 2%, reported by Nielsen.”

Nearly 6bn biscuits were eaten last year and were consumed on average three times a week, the report revealed.

The biscuit sector in 2016 – at a glance
  • Biscuit sales fell overall
  • Shortage major driver of sales decline
  • 99% of households purchased biscuits

But, sales were adversely impacted by floods across Cumbria which forced Pladis’s Carlisle factory to close in December 2015, in the aftermath to Storm Desmond. Production of Everyday Biscuits subsequently stopped for four months.

Changing promotional strategies

Retailers’ changing promotional strategies also impacted sales, as they moved from multi-buy deals to single price points, Pladis said.

The biscuit industry was confident of boosting sales in the future, though, Thomas claimed.

“We can be confident about the future as we see biscuits moving with the times and continuing to fulfil both shopper and consumer needs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pladis reported revenues of £2.2bn in its full-year trading update on March 15. It planned to expand its brands into new geographical areas, while investing in e-commerce to ensure its products were available to Chinese consumers.

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