Big Bars, Big Business

Have you ever known anything more versatile than the snack bar? It can be breakfast, it can be an afternoon snack, or it can even be your post-gym refuel. Anyway you like it, the snack bar category is as diverse as it’s ever been with brands offering consumers a bar for every dietary need and flavor craving. Today, 27% of global consumers typically buy cereal and energy bars, but those numbers top 40% in places like North America and the UK. In 2020, the global retail for cereal and energy bar sales was $15.5 billion, and currently, value sales are marginally outpacing volume growth with 2010-2022 CAGRs coming in at 4.3% and 3%, respectively. In the US alone, the retail value sales of cereal and energy bars in 2020 were $8.6 billion followed by the UK at $1.3 billion US dollars (1). According to Innova Market Insights, fiber, sugar, protein, and fat are top claims that fall within the top 5 of purchasing factors for consumers, followed by bars filled with all real ingredients. Markets predict that the focus on protein will continue, but most of the upcoming market growth stems from sugar reduction claims. Simple and real ingredients are key wins for the bars category, and producers should be considering organic and sustainable sourcing of ingredients as well as plant- based formulas (1). Leaders in the global cereal and energy bars category include companies like Japanese Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co, Nestlé S.A., and US brands Kellogg, General Mills and PepsiCo. Much of the activity from these brands currently comes from extensions to their well-known breakfast cereals brands, but new product development is inching into the nutrition bar arena. Big brands have either acquired existing brands or created newer brand introductions that focus more on nutrition, such as higher protein bars, organic sourcing, and plant-based ingredient bars. While the steadily gaining cereal and energy bar category makes up 76% of total global new product development, sports bars are also seeing an uptick in sales growth. Companies like BiotechUSA, Prozis (Portugal), Foodspring (Germany), Nutrend (Czech Republic) and CLIF Bar (USA) continue to maintain a majority of the sports nutrition market share and are catering to the active lifestyle category by creating products that meet dietary needs or restrictions (1). Manildra products can help support global snack bar trends by helping producers incorporate more protein to their formulas, going organic or plant-based, reducing sugar, or creating exciting new tastes and textures. For a Breakfast bar application, Manildra’s GemPro Prime-W can help add protein and functionality to a formula. The GemPro Prime-W comes in at 90% protein and can help add extensibility to a soft dough system. The aeration and binding capabilities of GemPro Prime-W can also help create a more tender crumb, and/or hold on to fruits and inclusions. For a nougat bar application, Manildra’s GemPro Prime-E can help add flexibility and softness to the bar without compromising on flavor. In certain cases, it can replace non-label friendly ingredients like sodium caseinate with a clean label, and organic, plant-based protein. GemPro Prime-E is another Manildra product that is a great tenderizing agent, and it too can help create a high protein product with a more delicate mouthfeel. For particulate bar applications or nut-based clusters, GemPro Tack can help reduce the sugar content without losing the binding ability of your sweetener. With sugar reduction as a target area for market growth, GemPro Tack is an easy solution to consider when looking for an alternative to a sugar-based binder. Using GemPro Tack can bring a new texture component to your product portfolio as it effectively adheres inclusions of all shapes and sizes. Who knew it was possible to decrease sugar and increase protein with one product? Any way you position your snack bar, Manildra can help you create in-demand products by improving nutritional contents, creating unique functional benefits, or simply by going organic or plant-based. Our team here at Manildra wants to help you create the next best snack bar. Sources: 1) Innova Reports ( – Category Insider: Snack Bars Global, August 2021