The Explosion of the Energy Bar Market

10-15 years ago, the market for energy bars, protein shakes and workout supplements was small and emerging.

The fitness industry and its associated products had yet to enjoy a surge in popularity and consumers were unsure of its positive benefits, if any.

Nowadays, the global nutritional bar market is on an upward trajectory with profits. The market enjoys steady growth and it is estimated that the U.K. market will grow at a CAGR of 5.42% between 2020-2025.

The U.K. nutritional bar market was valued at $1.1 billion in 2019.

Last year, Global sports and nutrition brand Grenade announced they were outselling all other chocolate bars except Kinder Bueno in U.K. supermarkets.

The popular Carb Killa range, which launched just 5 years ago was accounting for an impressive 31% share of the market and edging out on confectionary giants like Cadbury and Nestle.

CEO Alan Barratt attributed the brand’s success to 3 main drivers; health, taste and innovation.

Up to 45% of shoppers profiled said they wanted to revise their snacking habits and choose a healthier option. A large aspect of Grenade’s success could be attributed their highly effective Snacking Revolution Campaign.


The experiential sampling campaign which ran in various locations in the U.K. and Ireland aimed to get products into the hands of consumers and challenge the perception of what nutritious food tastes like. Grenade wanted to prove their energy bar range is a healthier alternative to normal chocolate bars but that did not mean a compromise on taste.

Their increase in popularity lends itself to the product providing a much-needed energy boost pre and post workout. Common amongst athletes and gymgoers. The high carb low fat product provides fuel, is highly nutritional and does not rely on low calorie sweeteners to improve taste. Couple this with an increase in health-conscious driven consumers and a sway for convenience snacks and it emerges as a winner in the health food market.

They are mostly distributed through retail, online sites, pharmacies and health food outlets and enjoy a generous share of the convenience snack market. In recent years, sales have benefitted from an increase in online shopping and a greater online presence. With stiff competition from multinationals, it falls to brands to provide a competitive edge on their main rivals.

Every market faces it’s own individual challenges and barriers. The easy availability of substitutes in a crowded market, the negative impact of product recall and challenges associated with product distribution have all been cited as challenges facing the energy bar market.

In 2016, CLif Bar and Co. market leaders in the U.K. issued two separate recall notices for their energy bar range. In June, multiple flavours were recalled over possible listeria contamination and in December fragmented plastic pieces were found in some bars.

Consumers rely heavily on taste, price and quality to influence their purchase and this is where getting samples of products into the hands of consumers can be effective.

Gym going males account for a large chunk of the energy bar market. The snack’s popularity went hand in hand with a rise in gym culture so it would make sense for any brand to enter into a partnership sampling campaign with gyms.

Flavor have experience with executing partnership sampling campaigns having worked with gyms in the past to distribute samples of Kefir, a gut friendly, cultured milk product.

The campaign was successful in its goal of driving brand awareness up and making a good return on sales.

Interacting with over 77 gyms over a 10-day period, over 5,000 sales were created directly and a 17% sales uplift recorded over 6 weeks.

We are confident we can target the increasingly popular health and wellness category in producing and executing the best product sampling campaigns.

From large scale experiential sampling from Grenade to Flavor’s own partnership sampling, we know the effective impact sampling can have in communicating an energy bar’s appeal.

Energy bars will rely on these forms of sampling post-Covid to gain a competitive lead in a crowded market.

At Flavor, we use Social sampling as part of an integrated sampling approach to curate the mix o f sampling techniques to deliver optimal results for every campaign. We look after all sampling elements in under one roof to drive efficiencies in targeting, relevance, measurement & ROI…

If you would like to find out more about social sampling or any of our integrated sampling techniques you can get in touch & 07977 148784

1 Comment

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January 11, 2021 at 9:39 pm

A big thank you for your article post. Really looking forward to read more. Great. Millisent Ozzy Neil