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The U.S. Market for Food Bars: Cereal, Snack, Sports, Meal Replacement


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Find out what’s going on in the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. food industry and how to tap into it. This Packaged Facts report covers the exploding $2 billion market for food bars, including breakfast bars, snack bars, granola bars, sports bars, meal replacement bars, and diet bars. The report combines quantitative sales data (based on Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan) with extensive qualitative research and analysis to provide complete coverage of all types of food bars—from the new wave of breakfast bars to those leading the way in health/nutrition/functional to “bite-size” versions blurring the lines between candy and cookies. The report documents market size and composition, details marketing and retail trends, forecasts market developments through 2007, and profiles food bar consumers across the categories using the most current Simmons Market Research Bureau data available.

The combination of advances in taste technology, consumers’ belief that they can have it all (convenience, taste, nutrition) in the foods they eat, and the fast-lane pace of American lives mean “sweet” can—and must—also signify “healthful,” and with savory and ethnic versions as whole new options. Consequently, consumers are gobbling up “healthy indulgences” while marketers unveil three- and four-word flavor names for food bars that could make an ice cream parlor menu look boring. At the same time, all these new flavors mean food aisles have become crammed with look-alike boxes filled with look-alike products wearing look-alike ingredient labels, to the bewilderment of consumers. As a result, stand-out packaging, strong product positionings, and concerted point-of-sale merchandising assistance to retailers have never been more important to established marketers as well as anyone hoping to jump in the pool.

Report Methodology
The information in The U.S. Market for Food Bars is based on both primary and secondary research. Primary research involved on-site examination of the retail milieu, interviews with marketing, public relations and industry analysts within the food market and consultants to the industry. Secondary research entailed data-gathering from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature. Packaged Facts has derived mass merchandiser sales figures from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) InfoScan sales-tracking data. Figures provided on national consumer advertising expenditures are based primarily on data (copyright 2002) compiled by CMR/TNS Media Intelligence U.S., the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing communications intelligence. The analysis of consumer demographics derives from Simmons Market Research Bureau survey data for fall 2002. New product information is gathered via literature research, personal interviews and data compiled by ProductScan, a service of Marketing Intelligence Service Ltd.

The report looks at every segment of the food bar market, examining trends for growth and projecting sales of products through 2008. It analyzes consumer demographics and their current and projected impact on sales of food bars. It provides up-to-date competitive profiles of marketers of food bar products - including a look at smaller, up-and-coming companies - and discusses the influence of demographic trends as a driver of retail trends. The report also spotlights new products and current distribution trends, and offers readers trends and marketing opportunities within the food industry.

What You’ll Get in this Report
The U.S. Market for Food Bars makes important predictions and recommendations regarding the future of this market, and pinpoints ways current and prospective marketers can capitalize on current trends and spearhead new ones. No other market research report provides both the comprehensive analysis and extensive data that The U.S. Market for Food Bars offers. The report addresses the following segments:

  • The Market (including market size and composition, and projected market growth)
  • The Marketers (including discussions of specific marketer brand and market shares)
  • Competitive Profiles (of the mainstream food marketers, specialists and up-and-coming niche players, and analyses of the products they market)
  • Retail Strategies (including mass marketers, health food stores and gyms)
  • The Consumer (who’s buying what, and where)
  • The Products
  • Trends and Opportunities

Plus, you’ll benefit from extensive data, presented in easy-to-read and practical charts, tables and graphs.

Scroll down to see a more detailed outline of the contents of this report.

How You Will Benefit from this Report If your company is already competing in the food bar market, or is considering making the leap, you will find this report invaluable, as it provides a comprehensive package of information and insight not offered in any other single source. You will gain a thorough understanding of the current market for food bar products, as well as projected sales and trends through 2008. Contributing to that understanding will be a complete analysis of sales data from IRI and other published and trade sources, a detailed discussion of the consumer for food bars based on Simmons data.

This report will help:

  • Marketing Managers identify market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans for food bar products
  • Research and development professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and explore demand for products in the food bar arena.
  • Advertising agencies working with clients in the food and sports nutrition industries understand the product buyer to develop messages and images that compel consumers to purchase these products.
  • Business development executives understand the dynamics of the market and identify possible partnerships.
  • Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.


Chapter 1: Executive Summary

  • Scope and Methodology
  • Scope of Report
  • Report Methodology
  • The Market
  • Retail Sales Approach $3 Billion
  • Nutrition Bars Rise to 49% of Retail Sales
  • Figure 1-1: Share of IRI-Tracked Sales of Snack/Granola Bars by Segment, April 2003 (percent)
  • Women Are Prime Customers
  • Table 1-1: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Gender, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • The Million-Bar Question
  • Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
  • Extreme Convenience
  • Hispanics in the Spotlight
  • The Marketers
  • A Diverse Range of Players
  • Kellogg Leads with 20% Share
  • Two-Year Trends
  • Crossroads and Acquisitions
  • Rivals Are Closer Than They Appeared
  • Marketing and Retail Trends
  • Target Marketing
  • $170 Million in CMR-Tracked Advertising
  • Marketing Positionings: Wholesome and High-Protein
  • 10-Year Trend in Introduction Counts
  • Overall Flavor Trends
  • Textural Trends: Coated and Crunchy
  • Formulation Trend: Bakery Style
  • Testing the Salty Waters
  • Supermarkets Account for About Half of Sales
  • Figure 1-2: Share of U.S. Food Bar Sales by Retail Outlet Type, 2002 (percent)
  • Channel Surfing
  • A Front-End Growth Category for Drugstores
  • The Consumer
  • 34% of Adult Consumers Use Food Bars
  • Brand Usage Gap: Cereal/Granola vs. Energy/Diet Bars
  • Market Diversity: Two Consumer Clusters
  • The Gender Gap
  • The Minority Market
  • A College-Age Crowd
  • Looking Ahead
  • Cross-Fertilizing the Market
  • Betting on Nutrition Bars
  • Target Marketing and Further Segmenting

Chapter 2: The Market

  • Introduction
  • Market Definition
  • Figure 2-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Food Bar Types
  • Two Main Categories
  • Cereal/Granola Bars
  • Nutrition Bars
  • Market Size and Growth
  • Retail Sales Approach $3 Billion
  • Table 2-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Tracked Sales of Food Bars at $1,625 Million
  • Table 2-2: IRI-Tracked Sales of Snack/Granola Bars, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • IRI-Tracked Sales of Nutrition Bars at $587 Million
  • Table 2-3: IRI-Tracked Sales of Snack/Granola Bars by Segment, April 2003 (in millions of dollars)
  • Market Composition
  • Nutrition Bars Rise to 49% of Retail Sales
  • Figure 2-2: Share of U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars by Category: Cereal/Granola vs. Nutrition Bars, 1998 vs. 2002 (percent)
  • Figure 2-3: Share of IRI-Tracked Sales of Snack/Granola Bars by Segment, April 2003 (percent)
  • Supermarkets at 47% of Retail Sales
  • Figure 2-4: Share of U.S. Food Bar Sales by Retail Outlet Type, 2002
  • Women Are Prime Customers
  • Table 2-4: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Gender, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • West Is Top Region
  • Table 2-5: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Region, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Hispanics at Index of 121
  • Table 2-6: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Race/Ethnicity, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Usage Rates Highest Among Younger Adults
  • Table 2-7a: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Adult Age Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 2-7b: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Adult Age Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Index of 112 for Single-Person Households
  • Table 2-8: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Household Size, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Layered Pattern by Household Income
  • Table 2-9a: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Household Income Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 2-9b: Usage Indices for Selected Food Bar Classifications: By Household Income Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Factors to Market Growth
  • The Million-Bar Question
  • Table 2-10: Food Bars vs. Toaster Pastries and Candy Bars: Estimated Nutritional Values Based on One-Ounce Portion
  • Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
  • Extreme Convenience
  • Snacks to Go
  • Healthy Choices
  • The Obesity Crisis
  • Room for Indulgence
  • The Mainstreaming of Nutrition Bars
  • Target Marketing
  • The Women’s Market
  • Hispanics in the Spotlight
  • Table 2-11: Population Projections for Selected U.S. Racial/Ethnic Populations, 2000-2020 (in thousands)
  • The Aging U.S. Population
  • Table 2-12: Projected U.S. Population by Age Bracket, 2000-2010 (in thousands)
  • Increased Competition
  • Figure 2-5: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Projected Market Growth
  • Sales to Reach $6.2 Billion in 2007
  • Longer-Lived Growth Spurt for Nutrition Bars
  • Table 2-13: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 2-14: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Food Bars by Category: Cereal/Granola vs. Nutrition Bars, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)

Chapter 3: The Marketers

  • Marketer Overview
  • A Diverse Range of Players
  • Cereal Kingpins Are Market Leaders
  • Second-Tier Competitors
  • Role of Private Label
  • Table 3-1: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Selected Marketers and Leading Brands, 2003
  • Marketer and Brand Shares
  • Methodology
  • Kellogg Leads with 20% Share
  • Quaker Chewy at 8.7% Share
  • Two-Year Trends
  • Table 3-2: Top Marketers of Food Bars by Mass-Market Share, 2003 (percent)
  • Table 3-3: Top Food Bar Brand Lines by Mass-Market Share, 2003 (percent)
  • Table 3-4: Top Cereal Bar Marketers by Mass-Market Share: 2002 vs. 2003 (percent)
  • Table 3-5: Top Granola Bar Marketers by Mass-Market Share: 2002 vs. 2003 (percent)
  • Table 3-6: Top Rice Cereal Snack Square Marketers by Mass-Market Share: 2002 vs. 2003 (percent)
  • Table 3-7: Top Nutrition Bar Marketers by Mass-Market Share: 2002 vs. 2003 (percent)
  • The Competitive Situation
  • Crossroads and Acquisitions
  • Rivals Are Closer Than They Appeared
  • Five-Year Share Trends
  • Five-Year Sales Gains
  • Room at the Table
  • Table 3-8: Top Food Bar Marketers by Mass-Market Share, 1998 vs. 2002 (percent)
  • Table 3-9: Top Food Bar Brand Lines by Mass-Market Share, 1998 vs. 2002 (percent)
  • Table 3-10: Top Food Bar Marketers by Five-Year Gains in IRI-Tracked Sales, 1998-2002 (in dollars)
  • Table 3-11: Top Food Bar Brand Lines by Five-Year Gains in IRI-Tracked Sales, 1998-2002 (in dollars)

Chapter 4: Competitive Profiles

  • Competitive Profile: Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.
  • Company Overview
  • 9% Share in Nutrition Bars
  • Advertising to Double in 2003
  • Competitive Profile: Balance Bar Co. (Kraft Foods, Inc.)
  • Company Overview
  • 3% Market Share
  • 13% Adspend Share
  • Competitive Profile: Clif Bar, Inc.
  • Company Overview
  • Luna Brand Ranks Tenth in Mass Market
  • A Stab at Salty
  • Competitive Profile: General Mills, Inc.
  • Company Overview
  • Figure 4-1: Top Food Bar Marketers by Five-Year Gains in IRI-Tracked Sales, 1998-2002 (in dollars)
  • Top Marketer by IRI-Tracked Dollar Gains
  • Milking Cereal Brands
  • Competitive Profile: Kellogg Co.
  • Company Overview
  • Leading (But Slipping) 20% Market Share
  • New Products and Adspends
  • Competitive Profile: Mars, Inc.
  • Company Overview
  • 10% Share of Granola Bar Segment
  • Relaunch of Kudos
  • Snickers Marathon and the Mainstreaming of Nutrition Bars
  • Competitive Profile: PowerBar, Inc. (Nestlé S.A.)
  • Company Overview
  • A Fifth-Place 5.5% Share
  • One Part Chocolate Bar, One Part PowerBar
  • Competitive Profile: Quaker Oats Co. (PepsiCo, Inc.)
  • Company Overview
  • Quaker vs. Kellogg
  • Grains vs. Gatorade
  • Competitive Profile: Rexall Sundown, Inc. (NBTY, Inc.)
  • Company Overview
  • Mixed Record for 1998-2002
  • Struggle to Fulfill Potential
  • Competitive Profile: Slim-Fast Foods Co. (Unilever)
  • Company Overview
  • 33% Annual Growth Rate Over 2000-2002 Period
  • Figure 4-2: Top Nutrition Bar Marketers by Five-Year Gains in IRI-Tracked Sales, 1998-2002 (in dollars)
  • Meal vs. Snack Options

Chapter 5: Marketing and Retail Trends

  • Marketing Dynamics
  • Target Marketing
  • $170 Million in CMR-Tracked Advertising
  • Figure 5-1: Food Bar Category Shares: Sales vs. Adspends, 2002 (percent)
  • Slim-Fast Is Top Advertiser at $33 Million
  • Milk n’ Cereal Bars Are Most Heavily Advertised Brand
  • Marketing Positionings: Wholesome and High-Protein
  • Table 5-1: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Top Health/Ingredient Claims for Selected New Product Introductions, 2002 - Summer 2003 (percent)
  • New Product Trends
  • 10-Year Trend in Introduction Counts
  • Overall Flavor Trends
  • Figure 5-2: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Top Flavor Groups for Selected New Product Introductions, 2002 - Summer 2003 (percent)
  • From Indulgent to Extreme
  • Table 5-2: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Top Flavors for Selected New Product Introductions, 2002 - Summer 2003 (percent)
  • Textural Trends: Coated and Crunchy
  • Formulation Trend: Bakery Style
  • Back to Breakfast
  • Testing the Salty Waters
  • Table 5-3: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Selected New Product Introductions, 2002 - Summer 2003
  • Retail Dynamics
  • Supermarkets Account for About Half of Sales
  • Figure 5-3: Share of U.S. Food Bar Sales by Retail Outlet Type, 2002 (percent)
  • Channel Surfing
  • Supermarkets and Supercenters: Standing Out in the Crowd
  • Nutrition Bars in Natural Foods Stores
  • Even Playing Field in Convenience Stores
  • A Front-End Growth Category for Drugstores
  • Retail Pricing
  • Table 5-4: U.S. Market for Food Bars: Representative Retail Prices for Selected Product Lines

Chapter 6: The Consumer

  • Consumer Overview
  • The Simmons Survey System
  • 34% of Adult Consumers Use Food Bars
  • Brand Usage Gap: Cereal/Granola vs. Energy/Diet Bars
  • Market Diversity: Two Consumer Clusters
  • The Gender Gap
  • The Minority Market
  • A College-Age Crowd
  • Table 6-1: Usage Rates for Selected Food Bar Classifications, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-2: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Cereal/Granola Bars or Energy/Diet Snacks & Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-3: Consumer Base for Selected Food Bar Brands: Adult Females, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-4: Consumer Base for Selected Food Bar Brands: Adult Males, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-5a: Consumer Indices for Selected Food Bar Brands by Gender: Females, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-5b: Consumer Indices for Selected Food Bar Brands by Gender: Males, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-6a: Consumer Indices for Selected Food Bar Brands by Race/Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic Whites, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-6b: Consumer Indices for Selected Food Bar Brands by Race/Ethnicity: Minorities, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-7: Consumer Indices for Selected Food Bar Brands by Prime Age Brackets, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Consumer Focus: Cereal/Granola Bars
  • 31% of Women Use Cereal/Granola Bars
  • Singles vs. Homemakers
  • Chewy Granola vs. Cereal Bars
  • 51% of Women Choose Quaker Chewy
  • Infants and Nutri-Grain
  • Figure 6-1: Usage Rates for Chewy Granola and Cereal Bars: Overall and by Gender, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-8: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Cereal/Granola Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-9: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Chewy Granola, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-10: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Cereal Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-11: Consumer Base for Leading Brands of Cereal/Granola Bars, 2002 (in thousands)
  • Figure 6-2: Brand Preference Rates Among Women Who Use Cereal/Granola Bars, 2002 (in thousands)
  • Table 6-12: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-13: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-14: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Nature Valley Nutritional Snacks, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-15: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-16: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-17: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Kudos Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-18: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of General Mills Milk & Cereal Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Consumer Focus: Energy/Diet Snacks & Bars
  • 13% Use Energy/Diet Bars
  • Skew to One-Person Households
  • 39% of Men Choose PowerBar
  • Gender Bending
  • Table 6-19: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Energy/Diet Snacks & Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-20: Consumer Base for Leading Brands of Energy/Diet Snacks & Bars, 2002 (in thousands)
  • Figure 6-3: Brand Preference Rates Among Men Who Use Energy/Diet Snacks & Bars, 2002 (in thousands)
  • Table 6-21: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Ultra Slim-Fast Snack Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-22: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of PowerBar, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-23: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Balance Bar, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-24: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Carb Solutions, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 6-25: Demographic Characteristics Favoring Use of Luna Bars, 2002 (U.S. adults)

Chapter 7: Looking Ahead

  • Trends & Opportunities
  • Cross-Fertilizing the Market
  • Betting on Nutrition Bars
  • Target Marketing and Further Segmenting
  • The Nutritional Gauntlet
  • Product Periscope: Bakery Bars
  • Product Periscope: Seasonal Bars
  • Product Periscope: Salty/Savory Bars
  • Food Bar Ubiquity

Appendix: Addresses of Selected Marketers

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