Now a $5.5 billion category, some might consider the nutrition bar and gel market to be mature, though recent activity indicates this might not be the case. Growth has certainly slowed, from a peak of 14.9% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2017 and remaining flat in 2018. The strongest momentum in the category is online, with e-commerce growth at 19.1%, though the bulk of sales (53.2%) is still coming in through mass market retail. But despite overall slowing growth in the category, we continue to see innovation in ingredients and new brands entering the market.
Consumers continue to seek out convenient snack and meal options, and manufacturers continue to deliver by packing on-trend ingredients, from prebiotics to collagen, into bars. Moreover, investment in nutrition bars has been particularly active in 2019. August saw three major deals in this space: The Simply Good Foods Co. acquired Quest Nutrition for $1.0 billion, The Hershey Company acquired ONE Brands for $397 million and Mondelēz International purchased Perfect Snacks for an undisclosed amount. While category growth is not projected to hit double digits again, the future landscape is promising and will likely consist of strong growth for the established category.
Nutrition Business Journal just released these and other statistics in its 2019 NBJ Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report, the go-to source for data and insight within the sports nutrition and weight management industry.