|Title:||United Kingdom sales value and volume of potato chips, savory snacks, and snack nuts in pounds sterling, kilos, and percent change for the year ended February 29, 2011|
Start of full article - but without data
Crisps, snacks & nuts: XXw/e XX February 2011
VALUE VOLUME [pounds sterling]m y-o-y% Kilos(m) y-o-y%
Crisps XXX X.X XXX.X X.X
Savoury snacks XXX X.X XXX.X X.X
Nuts XXX X.X XXX.X X.X
Total (Market) X,XXX X.X XXXX.X X.X
Consumers cut back on many things when times are tough--but not treats and nibbles. The Ei.gbn crisps, snacks and nuts market has enjoyed X.X% value growth over the past year and volume sales are up a healthy X% [Kantar Worldpanel XXw/e XX Feb 2011].
Affordable treats are benefiting hugely from the challenging economic climate and with the emphasis very much on value for money, mass-market brands are outperforming their premium rivals (see right). Sharing bags are doing especially well--partly because they're relatively cheap compared with single-serve bags and partly because they tap into the continued popularity of eating in rather than out.
Although Kantar reports a downturn in the consumption of crisps as a between-meals snack, this is more than balanced out by the increase in sales of larger sharing bags, claim the big brands. "The sharing category is up XX% and has been growing year after year," says Mark Sugden, customer marketing director at McCoy's and Hula Hoops owner United Biscuits.
The big mainstream brands are thriving. "The sharing occasion is in growth and our products in that category have grown massively," reports Walkers marketing director Miranda Sambles. "Doritos is growing at almost double the rate of the category."
It's no coincidence that Walkers, KP, Pringles and McCoy's have been both the most active promoters (see pXX) and strongest performers. Promotional activity has been key across the category.
Sales of Pringles, currently the leading large sharing snack brand, have also been driven by consumers entertaining at home, says Paul Lettice, head of trade communications at Pringles-owner P&G, which announced last month it is selling the brand to Diamond Foods.
Total crisps: XXw/e XX January 2011
[pounds sterling] y-o-y% m
Walkers XXX.X XX
McCoy's XXX.X XX.X
Kettle Chips XX.X X.X
Walkers Sensations XX.X -X.X
Seabrook XX.X XX.X
Total nuts & snacks: XXw/e XX January 2011
[pounds sterling] y-o-y% m
KP Nuts XX.X X.X
Dormen X.X -XX.X
Nobby's Nuts X.X -XX.X
Bobby's X.X X.X
Cofresh X.X XX.X
"Large sharing snacking occasions are driving trial and frequency of purchases across the entire snacks category, as consumers seek to maximise the quality of social time spent with friends and family," he says.
Competition for sharing bag sales is most intense at the premium end of the market, with brands such as Walkers Red Sky and Sensations and U B's Phileas Fogg range fighting for facings with brands such as Kettle Chips, Tyrrells, Burts Chips and Real Crisps. This creates some sales figures volatility as brands move on and off promotion. "Sharing has been much more promoted over the past year, and as a result premium brands are performing strongly, but not driving the market," says Kantar category analyst James Spicer.
These tactics led to a mixed bag of results for sharing brands. SymphonylRl figures show that the best gains were made by Tyrrells, which grew value sales from [pounds sterling]XXm to just shy of [pounds sterling]XXm. Burts enjoyed a more modest jump from [pounds sterling]X.Xm to [pounds sterling]Xm and Red Sky also experienced growth of [pounds sterling]XXM to iXXm, although SymphonylRl reports a slight drop-off in sales in more recent weeks as it came off promotion. On the flipside, there was a significant fall in sales for Phileas Fogg in the year to XX January, from Egm to [pounds sterling]X.Xm, with Kettle Chips man- aging a tiny increase, up X.X%.
Owner UB says that "the brand decline can be attributed to our withdrawal from the tortillas segment as we focus on our crisps business." Despite the slump, how- ever, Sugden maintains Phileas Fogg con- tinues to do "very well" in the multiples and "phenomenally well" as one range of four [pounds sterling]X. price-marked sharing packs launched by UB for the convenience and impulse sector (alongside McCoy's, Hula Hoops and Mini Cheddars).
Walkers, meanwhile, has tried to differentiate its sharing range to maximise and not cannibalise sales, says Sambles. "We were the first brand to establish the sharing market in crisps, snacks & nuts with Sensations, and that market has grown massively since."
Red Sky has a strong appeal to upmarket AB consumers, explains Sambles, the new Walkers Extra Crunchy variant is geared towards the CX/CX demographic and Sensations is more of an "intimate sharing product, so more likely to be shared by couples, while Doritos is more likely to be shared by groups, and is skewed towards XX to XX-year-olds".
Kettle Chips has clearly got its target demographic sussed. The company increased sales by X.X% to [pounds sterling]XX.ltn in the year to XX January 2011.
"Kettle is a key brand in premium snacking with growth rates ahead of the rest of the market," claims Slamin. "We believe consumers are trading up to more premium CSN with added value."
Kettle extended its reach beyond the sharing format in 2005, adding smaller XXg bags to its core range and more recently expanding this offer with the launch of Kettle Ridged Crisps in the same format in February this year, in Flamed Steak only. Four Kettle Chips varieties were made available in XXXXg multipacks in 2010.
"Crisps and snacks are an affordable treat even in tougher economic conditions," says Slamin. The launch of the smaller bag has encouraged consumers to buy at lunch-time and to try out a variety of the brand's flavours, he adds.
Seabrook is adopting a slightly different tactic to persuade people to try more flavours. Rather than its standard XX-pack box, it's making a XX-pack box of its core range available to retailers, allowing them to test sales of new flavours at less risk. "This provides the retailer with a greater confidence in their ability to sell through the products," says trade sector controller Jon Wood. "Therefore they will be more willing to trial numerous flavours."
The company has also agreed new cash & carry listings with Bestway and Dhamecha Group as part of a drive to improve its distribution in the South and, last year, it tried to gain a foothold in the healthy snacks market through the launch of its 'Goodbye salt Hello flavour' range, with XX% less salt than the standard range.
It's not the only brand to go down this route. Driven both by consumer demand for healthier products and official targets set by the FSA for fat and salt reduction, a number of major brand owners have reformulated their products over recent years. However, this trend seems to have been less of a priority for brand owners over the past year - perhaps because they feel they have taken reformulation as far as it can go without compromising on flavour.
Some question how much scope there is to make further cuts. Natalia Douek, regulatory affairs director for Walkers parent PepsiCo Europe, warned the Grocer Food and Health conference in February that achieving further major reductions in salt content products would be challenging.
Consumers now take it as read that products are as healthy as they can be, adds Sugden. UB's reduction or removal of saturated fat in McCoy's, Twiglets, Wheat Crunchies and Nik Naks is now simply the price of entry into the snacks market rather than a differentiator, he argues.