The total dry fruit, nuts and seeds market is now worth £359m and is experiencing a sales volume decline of 4%, although price increases have led to value growth of 2% (IRI). Due to a lack of innovation, the adult market dropped 7%, compared with a 10% growth in the children's market, where there has been lots of active new product development, says Sheraz Dar, marketing director of fruit, nuts and seeds supplier Whitworths.

"Most of the growth has been driven by lunch box innovation, such as our Sunny Raisins range, with suppliers concentrating on health-conscious parents," says Dar.

The recent launch of Whitworths' new healthy snack Nibl has been designed to drive volume back into the adult market. The range comes in four varieties of fruit, nut and chocolate combinations: Berry Cherry Choc; Jaffa Berry Choc; Fruit, Nut & Berry Burst; and Tropical Feast. Each comes in two pack sizes, 45g and 200g, with a rrp of 69p and £2.79 respectively.

Dried fruit supplier S&B Herba Foods, which manufactures Sun-Maid California Raisins, says that retailers should be ready for an increased demand in healthy snacks as a result of the current economic downturn. Sun-Maid is the brand leader in the raisin market with a retail value of £6.6m and 23.8% value share (Nielsen MAT March 21, 2009).

"More people are being driven to make their own lunches instead of buying them ready made, in a bid to save money," says Shirley Griffiths, Sun-Maid marketing manager for California Raisins. "This will mean that more people will be looking for healthy snacks to add to their lunch boxes."

Although consumers say they are striving towards eating the recommended 5-a-day, a survey carried out by fruit supplier Dole Packaged Foods Europe revealed that only 15% of Britons actually reach that target.

"One of the main barriers to achieving the target is a lack of time, which is why Dole Fruit & Juice pots are so popular," says Harvey Aaron, Dole sales director for Northern Europe. "The pots offer one fruit portion of the target 5-a-day in a portable format," he adds.

Dole's fruit pots are made with chunks of real fruit mixed with fruit juices, jelly or rice and are available in four-pack at £2.23