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Brits spend £500 a second on snacks as nation's favourite biscuits revealed

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Broken Wagon Wheel biscuits. Photo: Press Association

Today marks National Biscuit Day, shining a light on Britain’s love for the classic snacks.

More than 99 in every 100 UK households buy biscuits, according to a report earlier this month by Platis, which owns McVitie’s.

Biscuit obsessives have been ranking their favourites on social media with the hashtag #nationalbiscuitday.

A YouGov survey published today suggests the McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive is the public’s favourite, followed by Cadbury’s Fingers, Cadbury’s Chocolate Digestives, Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s Original Digestives.

But the best way to see Britain’s most popular biscuits is to look at the figures on what UK shoppers actually buy.

The most recent figures show the public spend £500 a second on snacks, and the biscuit industry alone is now worth a remarkable £2.6bn.

They reveal Nestle’s Kit Kat is the biscuit Britains actually eat most, and counted for almost one in 20 sweet biscuit products bought in the UK last year.

READ MORE: From digestives to custard creams, this is why biscuits are so addictive

But the inclusion of both Kit Kats and Jaffa Cakes may spark controversy among biscuit, chocolate and cake lovers, with their status as ‘biscuits’ contested.

The list of best-sellers saw McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives finished second among sweet biscuits, followed by Jaffa Cakes, Cadbury’s brunch bar and then Oreo.

McVitie’s plain digestives were fifth in the rankings, Belvita Breakfast bars sixth, Alpen Light cereal bars seventh, Tunnock’s caramel wafers ninth and Cadbury’s fingers tenth.

Is Britain falling out of love with classic biscuits?

The Pladis figures suggest Britain’s love affair with traditional favourites may be under strain, as sales are down for all of the top five sweet biscuit products in the past year.

Kit Kat sales are down 2.1% and Cadbury’s brunch bars are down 2.3%, but some saw steeper drops. McVitie’s Choc Digestives saw sales plummet 11.9%, and Belvita breakfast biscuits slid 15.7%.

McVitie’s Ginger Nuts slid even further, down 16.4%, and Jacob’s Cheddars sales were down 17%.

Pladis blamed unseasonably warm weather and fewer promotions by shops for the decline. But Britain’s growing preference for healthier or at least seemingly healthier snacks is clearly another factor.

READ MORE: The EAT brand is dead as stores become Veggie Prets

“Growing health concerns have restricted demand and eaten into revenue,” an IBIS World report on the sector warned last year.

Crispbreads have soared in popularity, making up one in five savoury biscuit sales, according to the Platis report. Rice Cake sales are also up 13.9% in the past year.

Top brands face growing competition from discount own-brand ranges by supermarkets too, including newcomers like Aldi and Lidl.

Ranked: The most popular sweet biscuits

  1. Nestle Kit Kat

  2. McVitie’s Choc Digestives

  3. McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes

  4. Cadbury Brunch Bar

  5. Oreo

  6. Mcvitie’s Digestives

  7. Mondelez Belvita Breakfast

  8. Alpen Light Cereal Bars

  9. Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer

  10. Cadbury Fingers

Ranked: The most popular savoury biscuits

  1. Ryvita Crispbread Core

  2. Jacob’s Cream Crackers

  3. Kallo Rice Cakes

  4. Nairns Oatcakes

  5. Quaker SnackaJacks Jumbo

  6. Jacob’s Cheddars

  7. Jacob’s Selection

  8. Jacob’s Crispbread

  9. Ritz

  10. Jacob’s Tuc Crackers

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