Biscuits and cakes: The ultimate affordable treat

From traditional favourites to the latest new products, biscuits and cakes remain close to the nation’s heart, even when shopping with a budget

Who doesn’t love a biscuit or cake with a cuppa? It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and in times of uncertainty and disruption offers comfort and reassurance. Plus, biscuits and cakes is an affordable category, making it a key one for wholesalers and their retail customers to fully embrace.

The biscuit category in convenience is worth £270 million, growing at 18% year-on-year (Kantar 2021), so the humble sweet treat remains a sales powerhouse. Everyday biscuits and treats and chocolate biscuit bars are most in demand and so wholesalers would do well to focus on these sub-categories. Bear in mind that a large proportion of sales comes from a small percentage of products, so stock the bestsellers for the best sales.


Other sub-categories to pay attention to are healthier options, HFSS-compliant lines, new products and on-the-go snacking – where healthier biscuits, cereal bars and individually wrapped products are key for sales success. Portion control is important when considering healthy options and so sharing formats come to the fore.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelēz International, says: “Recent research has shown that the majority of consumers have said healthier and more nutritious foods are extremely important to them. Mondelēz International recognises the importance of offering healthier snacking options and is proud to support this with its new non-HFSS ranges, as well as its popular core ranges that are made and packaged with Mindful Snacking in mind.

“Mindful Snacking is an approach to eating that places emphasis on intention and attention. It’s about being conscious of what you want to eat, why you’re eating it and how it makes you feel. Consumers can snack mindfully by slowing down, giving each bite their full attention and taking the time to savour their snack thoroughly.

“Additionally, we’re proudly part of the BeTreatwise initiative, which aims to help consumers have a balanced approach to treats and snacking. We display the BeTreatwise label on many packs across our range to remind shoppers that these products are intended for occasional enjoyment.”

NPD is crucial to the category, as Nash explains: “We understand that consumers expect innovation and excitement, even from the brands they know and love. Earlier this year, Oreo brought the brand’s first-ever double-layered flavour launches to UK consumers with the release of two new innovations: Oreo Twists Vanilla & Caramel, and Oreo Twists Vanilla & Raspberry. Oreo Twists combine one layer of vanilla creme with another flavoured layer to add a playful twist to the original Oreo cookie. Both flavours are growing, so they’re not only helping to drive incremental sales but also bringing consumers that perfect mix of excitement and value to their biscuit choices.”


We’re seeing the so-called ‘lipstick effect’ surface for biscuits. With economic uncertainty manifesting itself once more, shoppers are opting for the bestselling, everyday biscuits because they are perceived as a permissible treat or ‘affordable indulgence’. And when tucking into these little treats, they’ll turn to established, heritage brands – such as McVitie’s – for products they trust will deliver on taste and quality.

Also, in the coming months Brits will be seeking good deals on groceries. PMPs – particularly for the bestsellers – will play a key role in driving higher volume sales for wholesalers and their retail customers as products in this format are perceived to represent good value.

Similarly, products in larger formats represent a lower cost per kg, so snacks in sharing pouches – such as McVitie’s Blissfuls – are a great stocking choice when it comes to showcasing value.

When embracing an evening in, consumers are more willing to spend on premium, indulgent propositions from heritage brands. This is because although these products do come at a higher price point than their everyday counterparts, positive sentiment towards these brands means shoppers are willing to trade up for a treat.”


Within biscuits and cakes, like many other categories, consumers are consistently drawn to brands they trust, which presents an opportunity for wholesalers to stock popular favourites, with the likelihood they’ll be purchased.

Except in the very smallest convenience stores, HFSS regulations will mean shoppers need to get used to walking down the aisle to spot any offers, rather than relying on finding their favourites on gondola-end displays. As a way of bypassing these new restrictions, many manufacturers have launched HFSS-compliant products. We would expect to see more HFSS-compliant SKUs in the future, which may lead to a resurgence in growth for the healthier sweet biscuits category overall, which includes Fox’s Burton’s Companies (FBC) UK’s The Skinny Cookie Co brand.

Our responsible approach is important as a manufacturer of leading treat brands. We will continue to offer a variety of products in a range of formats that help our consumers make responsible choices and enable them to enjoy treats as part of a balanced diet.”


In the past year, shopper dynamics have changed and Mondelēz International has continued its strong track record of offering a wide range of iconic snacks that cater to these new developments and evolving trends.

Increasing levels of impulsive on-the-go purchases have resulted in double-digit growth for some of our healthier brands, such as belVita, with sales increasing as we get back to ‘new normal’ consumption patterns. With a need to keep hunger at bay throughout the day for on-the-go shoppers, belVita delivers a quick and easy way to get additional nourishment.

Additionally, we’re expecting to see an increase in big night in sharing occasions during these colder, darker winter months. Families can turn to our well-loved shareable biscuits, such as the Cadbury biscuits range, including Cadbury Cookies, Cadbury Crunchy Melts and Cadbury Roundie.

For consumers who want some indulgence combined with authentic ingredients, Cadbury Nuttier is the ideal product offering. It delivers those functional attributes, driving category value and bringing new shoppers to the healthier biscuit category.”


Biscuits and cakes are important to retailers and wholesalers as consumers like to indulge and treat themselves, with consumers relying on their local convenience store to stock up on their favourites.

The cost of living crisis will have an impact on sales of biscuits and cakes as consumers will be on a budget when it comes to purchasing treats and so will be looking for promotions on cakes and biscuits.

Inflation influences consumers’ attitudes when it comes to their purchasing habits as they will be substituting the usual products they buy for a cheaper option or may decide to reduce the quantity of their purchase. Consumers will be on the lookout for the benefits, value and quality of a new product, although when it comes to biscuits and cakes, consumers are likely to purchase their favourites.

Under the biscuits and cakes category, there are two trends: consumers who are looking for healthier options and those who intend to indulge. These trends give opportunity for brands to invest in developing new products to cater for consumers’ taste and drive sales for the category.”

TOP TIP: Wholesalers should stock the core favourites to meet consumer need as these drive sales, while providing promotions and offers on new product lines

Bestway Wholesale biscuits cakes category advice Fox's Burton's Companies Kenton Burchell Mondelez Pladis