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Friday, May 29, 1998 Published at 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK

Business: Your Money

Snack sales rocket

Munching in front of the TV is a national pastime

Snackers are munching their way through record amounts of crisps, chips and nibbles according to a new report.

Sales of healthier low-fat crisps have doubled in the past two years, but the booming market for adult snacks is still dominated by Pringle's, tortilla chips and prawn crackers.

Other favourites are Twiglets - which have been around for more than 60 years - and Bombay mix.

Overall, adults are expected to spend 540m on snacks this year, up from 173m just five years ago.

Pringle's, living up to its "once you pop, you just can't stop" slogan is the top selling treat, expected to notch up sales of 195m this year.

The report by retail analysts Mintel, says the growth of snacks targeting adults began with the launch of the Phileas Fogg range in the 1980s.

Now two-thirds of adults regularly settle down in front of the TV and open a packet of titbits.

Other prime snacking times are at parties, in pubs or at the cinema.

Mintel analyst Gino Zisa said: "Trends show that health consciousness peaked in the UK in the early 1990s and may have actually declined in some respects since then.

"The adults snacks market is benefiting now, however, as consumers are allowing themselves indulgences as a reward for generally eating healthily."

Snack Attack Facts

  • An estimated 541m will be spent on snacks by adults this year, up from 173m just five years ago
  • The most popular place to eat snacks is in front of the television
  • 8% of adults admit they have skipped meals using snacks as a replacement
  • Men are 8% more likely to be big snackers than women
  • Tasty titbits are also more popular with youngsters than older people
  • Only 38% of adults fall into the category of being "minimalist" snackers who never, or hardly ever, open a packet of nibbles
  • Snack-aholic "enthusiasts" who will munch anywhere and any time account for 13% of adults
  • The highest concentration of enthusiastic snackers is in Anglia and the Midlands where 17% of people fall into this category.
  • Some 16% of people in the South West and Wales are enthusiasts, followed by 13% in London and the South of England, 11% in Scotland, 10% in Yorkshire and the North East.
  • Snacking is not big in the North West where only 6% of people are enthusiastic snackers.

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