Rice snacks sales slump calls for innovation, report

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Snack food

Rice snacks have failed to grab sales despite the increasing number
of consumers shunning high fat options in favour of healthier
alternatives.

Market analysts Leatherhead International have predicted in a new report that the global rice snack market will drop from $996m (€794m) to $990m (€789.35m) this year after static or declining sales in most countries.

As consumers become more aware of nutritional issues, the growth in popularity of natural-type snacks such as cereal bars has contributed to recent plummeting crisps sales but rice products are failing to cash in on the trend.

According to the researchers, industry has become stagnant due to lack of innovation.

In a report, Leatherhead stated: "Most of the activity in the sector tends to be centred on the addition of new flavours rather than on any genuine innovation."

When first established, the major driving force in rice snacking was flavoured, puffed rice cake products but these have since matured into well-established brands with no real competition bolstering the market.

Leatherhead also point to confusion over marketing the snacks as having a negative impact on sales.

Variety such as different size packs and sweet and savoury distinctions as well as intense competition for shelf space with other snack categories such as biscuits and crispbreads can deter consumers.

Only the US, UK and Germany have established markets for rice snacks and sales in these regions totaled $264m (€210.5m) last year.

Of these countries, Germany offers the greatest potential for growth with its strongest brand Euryza's Reis-Fit Risbellis, which entered the market two years ago, still making headway.

In its report, Leatherhead state: "Prospects for rice snacks are not particularly bright unless something significant happens in the market in the way of NPD or increased competition. The nature of the existing western markets suggests an overall lack of interest."

The dominant brand in the UK and US markets at present is Quakers Oats with the brand holding a 61 per cent share of the market and the number two - United Biscuits - owning 11 per cent in comparison.

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