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Australia’s summer snacking trends

Australian summers are meant to be spent enjoying the warm weather and socialising. However the 2019 bushfires significantly impacted last summer and Covid-19 is set to have long-lasting impacts on how and where many Australians socialise this summer.

Despite the challenges and new requirements to see family and friends, it’s safe to say that food and beverages will be a key part of socialising this summer and there are two big trends we can expect to see.

Indulgence Seekers

Building on the behaviours adopted during the months spent in lockdown and living life cautiously, consumers are likely to opt for indulgent snacks to treat themselves. In the biscuits category, treats have grown by 13 per cent compared to last year and this trend is likely to continue in the coming summer months. 

Taste is prioritised by three quarters of snack buyers, demonstrating the importance of launching innovative flavours to appeal to consumers and provide a sense of treating oneself. In January this year, Arnott’s released their Tim Tam Crafted Collection which proved to be a hit with shoppers, bringing in 24 per cent of new shoppers to the category and generating $16 million since launching. The successful launch was likely attributed to the high quality, premium packaging and sophisticated flavours such as Murray River Salted Caramel and Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream.

With summer on the horizon, a treat like the Tim Tam Crafted Collection has a high appeal to consumers who are focusing on controlled indulgence to avoid guilt. Snacks that are available in portion controlled sizes are an ideal way to snack in summer to indulge without going overboard.

Health Seekers

We can expect many consumers will be actively selecting better for you, healthier options in a bid to undo some of the lockdown treating to drop some of the “Covid-kilo’s” many people picked up over winter. 

After being forced into lockdown at home for months, we can expect a desire to be outdoors this summer. While most restrictions have eased, many restaurants still have table size limits and as such we can expect picnics and outdoor gatherings to become more popular. Picnics are an easy way to cater for large groups and the outdoor space will also provide some comfort to people apprehensive about gathering in large numbers again. 

‘Better For You’ chips is a snacking segment with great success, growing at 15.8 per cent in the last quarter. ‘Better For You’ chips allow shoppers to indulge and make healthier choices at the same time. The segment offers a vast range of options, from potato chips to alternative vegetables, peas and beans, and most of them having no artificial colours or flavours with considerably less fat and less calories. Grain Waves and Harvest Snaps are very popular among shoppers, and more recently, Smith’s new range – Poppables became one of the top selling items, reaching $8 million since its launch in February (IRI Scan data to 13/09/20). 

In the beverages space expect to see this same drive towards better for you healthier options. 

Hard Seltzers are already a hit in the US, close to US$2 billion, and have recently arrived in Australia appealing to shoppers who would like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage but are still health conscious. Seltzers are usually sparkling water with vodka, and contain about 100 calories per 350ml can and are generally gluten free. The segment in Australia has potential to be worth $300 million dollars by the end of 2025.


It’s important to note that these two opposing trends are not mutually exclusive. Many consumers treat themselves with no thought to calories or sugar content while still opting for better for you healthier alternatives. Therefore there is an opportunity for manufacturers to innovate to cater to both trends as simply innovating in one or the other is a missed opportunity.

  • Natalia Coan is a consultant and Jessica Notarianni an associate consultant at IRI.


IRI Shopper Panel data to 13/09/20.

IRI Scan data to 13/09/20.

Mintel UK, ‘Consumer Snacking: Incl Impact of Covid-19 2020’.

IRI – “Leveraging the Hard Seltzer Opportunity” presentation – October 2020.  

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