Sales rise for meal replacement bars and diet bars

Health bars, meal replacement bars and diet bars are expected to have a sales growth by 2016.

America’s focus on good health is increasing sales of health and wellness bars with an expected rise from $847 million sales in 2011 to $1.6 billion in 2016, according to a report at Mintel. In addition, the same report says diet bars that offer meal options with a set number of calories is also expected to rise in sales from $533 million in 2011 to $1 billion by 2016.

Those who exercise are more than twice as likely to use nutritional food than those who don’t exercise. “[They] realize the importance of maintaining a stable blood sugar during the day by eating 4-6 small frequent meals. A meal replacement bar makes perfect sense for these consumers,” said Matt Malcangi, Certified Personal Trainer and Owner of Mom’s Bars. This study also found that 81 percent of households with children reported using meal replacement and nutrition bars. This fact is verified in the Experian Simmons Spring 2012 teen survey data where teens are found to consume around 5 bars a month. The graph below shows that young males are more likely to consume diet and energy bars, whereas older men are more likely to consumer granola and breakfast/cereal bars.


New target audiences suggested by Mintel are younger consumers and households with children. Hispanic households with children are an even greater potential audience, according to Mintel, since they are growing at a higher rate than any other demographic group. Finally, Mintel suggests that nutrition and energy bar companies may also reap benefits from Baby Boomers if they develop programs, promotions, and education that focus on their products health and nutrition qualities.

According to Mintel, Walmart continues to be where 90 percent of the consumers get their meal replacement bars as price continues to be important to consumers. However, consumers report that natural food stores offer them more options when shopping for high-protein or gluten-free products, with the demand for both of these product expected to rise. Drug store channels also have an opportunity for growth in sales as companies create products that specialize in health and wellness.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provide product development assistance to help Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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