The world is going nutty for healthy snacks and increasingly shunning sugary treats

Francesca Washtell
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A woman sniffs hazelnuts at a gastronomy fair
Nuts are the second-fastest growing healthy snack segment (Source: Getty)

Growth in healthy snacks has outstripped growth in traditional in-between meal treats as consumers shift towards lower-sugar diets, according to figures from Euromonitor International.

Retail value sales in so-called "healthy" snacks, which include yoghurts, nuts and fruit snacks, have grown seven per cent worldwide between 2015 and 2016.

Although yoghurt and sour milk products grew fastest year-on-year at 7.3 per cent, Euromonitor also singled out nuts as having benefited where other snacks have lost out.

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Growing 6.9 per cent in retail value terms over the last year, nuts, seeds and trail mixes appeal to both "protein-obsessed gym gurus and the broader public" due to their health credentials.

Conventional snacks, comprised of confectionery, salty snacks and sweet biscuits, grew at a slower rate of five per cent overall.

Confectionery suffered the most, growing by 4.1 per cent, as consumers' penchant for sweet snacks petered out in what Euromonitor has dubbed a "war on sugar".

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"Perhaps one of the most interesting developments in the past two years has been the emergence of self-imposed bans on the sale of chocolate and other high sugar goods at checkouts by large chained retailers," said Jack Skelly, food analyst at Euromonitor.

"Checkouts have been a central pillar of the chocolate industry in the West; however, retailers are replacing the traditional wall of chocolate in aisles with energy and protein bars, nuts and fruit snacks, citing that consumers want healthier options. More pragmatically, stores with new checkouts have brought higher revenue sales and greater profitability for retailers, enticing them to further eradicate 'unhealthy' checkouts."

In June, Euromonitor revealed the overall retail value of the snack industry grew by just 1.7 per cent last year – the segment's slowest growth since 2008.

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