Food Bars in the U.S. Trends in Cereal/Granola Bars and Energy/Nutrition Bars

This report examines the $5.7 billion U.S. retail market for food bars, classified into two categories: cereal/granola bars and energy/nutrition bars.


Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/09/2012 -- Food bars have been making noise in the marketplace recently, posting double-digit growth rates for successful product types. Reasons for this surge include a wave of new product launches, increased sophistication in marketing bars to different consumer sets, and continued innovation in delivery formats. Eating trends such as the blurring of meals and snacks, an emphasis on portion control, and increasingly informal, spur-of-the-moment, and customized eating all favor the food bar market.

A main trend in the food bar market overall is the blurring of distinctions between cereal/granola bars and energy/nutrition bars. Broadly speaking, cereal/granola bars are focusing more on nutrition and incorporating functional ingredients (such as added protein or fiber), while energy/nutrition bars are incorporating ever more creative and decadent formulations to make them more appetizing.

Although overall the cereal bar segment has seen little growth beyond that achieved through price increases, new products continue to be introduced to meet more targeted consumer needs. Cereal bar manufacturers are targeting consumers who wish to move away from treats and are looking for a workout energy boost, a nutritious snack or even a fast meal replacement option. Over the past few years, cereal bars with reduced calories, fat or sugar have performed quite well, although the number of product introductions with these claims has fallen sharply in the last five years. Manufacturers are addressing more sophisticated concerns, such as creating products to supplement perceived nutritional deficits that might be incurred in a weight-loss program. High-protein, low-carbohydrate or balanced-gastrointestinal formulations have seen good growth.

In the energy/nutrition bar category, new flavor and ingredient introductions along with improvements in taste and mouthfeel have made the future of these products look a lot more interesting. Among the functional ingredients that manufacturers are using to vary the nutrition bar formula are CoQ10, L-carnitine, omega-3, resveratrol, and vitamin K2.

This report is based on information gathered from primary, secondary, and syndicated sources. Primary research involved consultation with industry sources and a Packaged Facts online consumer survey conducted in February-March 2012. Secondary research involved the evaluation and comparison of data and information found in financial, trade, and government sources, as well as company media. Analysis also draws on mass-market sales-tracking data from SymphonyIRI and national consumer survey data from Experian Simmons.

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