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crisps

Premium crisps and healthy options are driving sales of tasty crisps and snacks, writes LINDSAY SHARMAN

For foodservice and retail customers, snacking is big business. The crisp market alone is worth £2.3bn in the UK and market leader Walkers says 2014 is set to be another good year thanks to a raft of product launches and the small matter of a World Cup to contend with.

Growth is coming from a number of areas. Premium crisps, sharing bags and healthier options, for example, all have a part to play in a successful snacking range.

Healthier options:

Communicate choices to customers

Starting with healthier snacking, encouraging retailers to stock lighter alternatives as well as standard bags of crisps will cater for people looking for a broader, healthier choice. Walkers recently launched Walkers Pops, an air-popped snack that is lower in fat.

Meanwhile, Kellogg’s also moved into the healthier snacking arena in 2012 with its Special K Cracker Crisps. “In terms of trends driving the market, the demand for healthier crisps is growing, as calorie control and portion size are more important than ever to shoppers,” says Nick Dawson, customer director at Kellogg’s.

For wholesalers, the challenge lies with communicating the trends to both retail and foodservice customers who might be inclined to stick with the familiar range rather than branch out into the healthier options.

“The wholesaler is essential for driving sales, category growth and educating retailers,” says Kieran South, wholesale channel director at PepsiCo.

Viewpoints

BILL TAYLOR
Group trading manager CTN, Parfetts

“The category is doing really well –
we are into week 34 of our financial year and we are showing good growth. The big- gest products last year were the price- marked £1 sharing bags from Walkers and KP and the price-marked 20-30p kids snacks from Tayto and KP – they offered good value for money for the consumer and a good margin for the retailer.”

BOB YOUNG
Robin Hill Stores, Dorset

“We stock most of the Walkers range, including snacks such as Skips and Nik Naks. We also have a range of prod- ucts from Bobby’s Foods, Kettle Chips and Doritos. We’ve got the new Phileas Fogg crisps in and they seem to be doing well– the bestsellers are Cheese & Onion and Ready Salted.” 

Premium crisps:

Promotions and new developments

Opportunity for wholesalers also comes in the form of premium crisps. These are ideal for sharing occasions and therefore for convenience retailers, and are available in a variety of flavours and brands, so keeping up with the latest developments in this area is essential.

“Premiumisation continues to be a key trend, with consumers regularly trading up to hand-cooked brands, either on the go or for sharing,” says Nick Gunn, head of wholesale at Tyrrells Potato Chips.

“Market data shows that premium crisps are showing consistently strong year-on- year growth, so make sure there’s an opportunity to trade up. Standard and premium crisps can sit very successfully alongside each other.”

Premium crisps are available not just in sharing format, either. Kettle Chips, for example, has a 40g single serve bag and has recently launched its first on-pack promo- tion. This gives consumers the chance to win a luxury hotel break and will appear on six million packs from March.

Walkers is also running its biggest ever on-pack promotion. The winner will get £1m so interest in the competition is expected to be higher than ever.

Cheese and children:

Popular lunch- box treats

Snacks for children are also something for wholesalers to consider. Cheese products, such as Laughing Cow or Mini Babybel, are popular choices, with parents choosing to buy them as lunchbox fillers.

“Children’s snacking certainly remains the core opportunity in this area of the cheese market,” says Steve Gregory, head of category management at Bel UK. “The lunchbox remains a very relevant occasion for youngsters and Mini Babybel is just one of a few brands really driving growth in this area, with a 24% share of the snack market.”

Sporting events:

Prepare for World Cup 2014

As well as category and product knowledge, smart promotions and marketing will also help boost sales of snacks. Piggybacking on major events such as the World Cup can not only boost sales in-depot but also enthuse customers into running similar promotions in their own businesses.

“We expect sales to continue to roll in throughout the year, but especially in the summertime when the World Cup kicks in,” says Kellogg’s Nick Dawson.

Also capitalising on the World Cup is KP Snacks, which has just launched its biggest ever promotion on McCoy’s handy packs, multi-packs and price-marked packs, and offers the chance to win a trip to Rio as part of the ‘Rio McCoy’s Local’ campaign.

George Johnson, marketing director at KP Snacks, says: “Sporting occasions are also successful for the crisps and snacks category – there have historically been significant sales uplifts driven by increased consumption levels, as snacks are seen as a key part of the occasion.”

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Lindsay Sharman is a former editor of Retail Newsagent, news editor of Retail Express and account manager in public relations for leading food and drink brands. Lindsay loves anything to do with the arts, including mid-century antiques, and cycles everywhere, even in winter

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