Snack culture

New flavours Buffalo Mozzarella & Herbs and Southern Style Barbecue join the Sensations range this year, coinciding with the brand’s new look pack
New flavours Buffalo Mozzarella & Herbs and Southern Style Barbecue join the Sensations range this year, coinciding with the brand’s new look pack

Snacking remains a steady constituent of Irish daily habits. As the growth of sharing proves, it's as much about social activity as 'tiding over' between meals.

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Brand Central

12 June 2009 | 0

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 At a glance: CRISPS & SNACKS

  • The Irish crisps and snacks market is valued at an estimated €207 million per year and grew by almost 4% over the past 12 months
  • In the crisps and snacks market, flavour and the sharing occasion are driving sales
  • Overall the sharing category is in strong growth at +9.8% in value terms
  • Doritos and Sensations are number one and number two sharing bags in Ireland and together hold six of the top 10 selling sharing lines
  • Largo Foods was the only branded snack food manufacturer to record share growth in the past 12 months, achieving a total market share of over 48%
  • All from Largo Foods, Tayto is the number one snack food brand in Ireland, Hunky Dorys the number one crinkle cut crisp, and King Cheese and Onion is number one crisp pack in Dublin
  • Tayto carries a 28.4% share of the crisps market and 33.6% share of the snacks market
  • Tayto has boosted its share of the sharing segment by 87% in the last year and Tayto Toobz, Bistro and Occasions now account for over €3 million of the category’s sales
  • The KP brand is valued at almost €26 million according to the latest AC Nielsen data
  • Tuc is number two in the plain savoury category with a 17% value share
  • Harvest Fare is Ireland’s leading nut range
  • The cereal snacks category has grown from zero to almost €40 million in just over 10 years
  • Kellogg’s is market leader in cereal snacks, with all top five brands: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain, Rice Krispies Squares, Special K snacks, Cereal & Milk Bars, and Fruit Winders
  • The instant hot snacks market is currently valued at €6.9 million and Pot Noodle is market leader with over 40% share

The Irish crisps and snacks market, valued at an estimated €207 million per annum (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009), has remained one of the most robust categories during the past 12 months. It registered a solid value growth rate of 4%, according to most recent market data (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009), which is significant considering the very difficult economic environment.

Continued growth in the snacking and sharing segments of crisps and snacks reflects different influencing factors in Irish lifestyles at the moment. Innovative new flavours are a driving factor, as Walkers highlights, which is indicative of trends impacting other categories too. New launches in the sharing segment, such as Sensations Buffalo Mozzarella & Herbs, or Tayto Bistro, are benefiting from this need for variety and different flavours, and also for premium options.

The growth of sharing coincides with the rise in at-home occasions, and barbecues as the summer starts to take off, so the synergy between this and the trend for new flavours/premium products has led to strong value growth in the category. And this is likely to continue over the next period.

Analyst Mintel finds the market has benefited from an improved health profile, with the development of baked crisps and the increased use of sunflower oil for crisp frying for instance. In addition, many brands, such as Hoola Hoops, have chosen to reformulate their products to removed artificial additives and MSG, or to reduce sodium and trans fat, which answers a key consumer need at the moment.

Similar trends have been observed in other snacking sectors, particularly the move towards increasingly healthy convenience products. Kellogg’s cereal snacks business has benefited most especially from this trend, and has seen the overall category in Ireland grow from zero to almost €40 million in the period since it launched its first range here in 1997.

As Kellogg’s points out, this growth of the cereal snacks category has been achieved without cannibalisation of the lucrative confectionery and savoury snacks sectors, primarily because of the different needs that each serve. According to the cereals giant: “Convenience retailers should therefore merchandise cereal snacks within the impulse area to capitalise on profit opportunities.”

Finally, convenient options in the hot snacking section have benefited from the time poverty still influencing Irish consumers’ habits, particularly at lunchtime. A recent survey by Peninsula Ireland revealed that Irish people take on average only 22 minutes for their lunch break. Snacking options such as Knorr Quicklunch, which are also suitable as main meal accompaniments, have therefore seen growth thanks to the great need for convenience in this day-part.

Sharing the wealth

Capitalising on the substantial growth capacity of the sharing segment in the Irish crisps and snacks market, Walkers has the led the way with its two massively successful sharing ranges, Doritos and Sensations, which Irish consumers have deemed to be top for flavours (Red C Q1 09 research).

Overall the sharing category is in strong growth at +9.8% in value terms (Nielsen Markettrack SM1WkCRN MAT w/e 19 April 09) and Walkers makes a significant contribution to this through the Doritos and Sensations brands; the number one and number two sharing bags in Ireland respectively, together worth in excess of €15 million, and holding six of the top 10 selling sharing lines (Nielsen Markettrack SM1WkCRN MAT w/e 19 April 09).

Walkers’ marketing manager, Nicola Wells, comments: “There has been a change in consumer preference and now there is a real appetite for new flavours. This, in turn, has developed an increase in sales across our more bespoke flavour ranges in our core crisps and sharing categories.

“Walkers has spearheaded this increase in choice and has introduced consumers to new taste sensations. We have invested in bringing innovative flavours to the market and it has proved to be exactly what the customer wants. Having the best flavours out there is what is driving sales.”

Both Doritos and Sensations have been heavily supported with a substantial marketing spend to drive further penetration. Doritos is currently running a fun promotion, Doritos Dodgeball, offering free flights to Las Vegas and a chance for an Irish Dodgeball Team to play against the San Diego Crossfires in Las Vegas. Sensations meanwhile is enjoying heightened consumer awareness and appeal on the back of the recent Sensations TV Now awards sponsorship on TV3, which generated mass media headlines cross Ireland and, consequently, lifestyle appeal for the brand’s female target audience. The initiatives were part of a massive marketing spend which included a €500,000 media campaign spend and new TV ad.

This year marks a new era for the Walkers Sensations brand, with the launch of a new look, supported by increased marketing spend. The changes include an eye-catching new pack design in lustrous black and exciting new flavours made from real ingredients, Buffalo Mozzarella & Herbs and Southern Style Barbecue, both available in 160g pack format.

Walkers’ renewed focus on flavour was most evident in its latest on-pack promotion for the Walkers Crisps range, the highly successful ‘Do us a Flavour’ campaign. The six final flavours entered by the members of the public were Fish & Chips, Onion Bhaji, Chilli & Chocolate, Crispy Duck & Hoi Sin, Cajun Squirrel, and overall winning flavour as voted by the public, Builder’s Breakfast.

Commenting on the importance of flavour at present, Wells said: “The market has moved considerably from a time when cheese and onion was the only flavour of crisp that merited any space on shelf. The flavour possibilities are massive. This promotion picked up on a consumer trend towards the customer having a ‘say’ in its favourite brands, something started by reality shows like the X factor and now being extended to brands.  Our consumers are telling us that they want more flavours and we are working with them to give them that, and more.”

King Cheese & Onion is the number one crisp pack in Dublin

King Cheese & Onion is the number one crisp pack in Dublin

The golden oldie

Largo Foods, home to the Tayto, Hunky Dorys, King, Perri and Sam Spudz brands, was the only branded snack food manufacturer to record share growth in the past 12 months, achieving a total market share of over 48% (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009). Having first opened its doors in 1983, Largo Foods currently employs over 500 staff in its Co Meath and Co Donegal operations.

The company prides itself on its commitment to, where possible, locally source its raw materials and is very proud of the fact that it annually purchases 35,000 tonnes of potatoes from Irish farmers; which is in fact 10% of Ireland’s national crop of Rosetta, Lady Claire and Sassy varieties. Largo Foods represents the number one snack food brand in the market, Tayto, the number one crinkle cut crisp, Hunky Dorys, and the number one crisp pack in Dublin, King Cheese and Onion.

Market leader Tayto, the original Irish crisp maker, carries a 28.4% share of the crisps market and 33.6% share of the snacks market (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009). Recently rebranding its entire snacks range, which includes Snax, Chipsticks, Mighty Munch, Wheelies, Chickatees and Johnnie Onion Rings to name but a few, Tayto made the declaration on four products that they contain ‘Under 100’ calories per pack; and this ‘Under100’ calorie range forms the very popular Tayto Bumper Bundle multipack.

Tayto has also continued its focus on the sharing category and has seen its share of the segment grow by a massive 87% over the past year (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009). The Tayto Toobz, Bistro and Occasions range now account for over €3 million of the category’s sales.

King Crisps holds 11.6 % share of crisps in Ireland, (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009) and because of its strong Dublin roots is the number one crisp by pack sales in the capital. Consumers in search of a low-fat option in their favourite crisp can now avail of King Lites, a response by the popular brand to this growing consumer need.

Hunky Dorys meanwhile continues to be Ireland’s number one crinkle cut crisp, with a 13.4% share of the market (Nielsen, Markettrack, Value, 19 April 2009). The brand is primarily targeted towards a male audience and in respect of this positioning has signed a major sponsorship deal with Ireland’s Premier League club Drogheda United. Commenting on the move, Drogheda United commercial manager, Alan Williams, stated: “This is a major coup for the club in the current economic climate and I’m sure that this partnership will be of great benefit to us and our new sponsors.”

The Hunky Dorys brand will continue its link with sport related themes in order to build upon its massively successful sponsorship of Ireland’s newest boxing world champion, Bernard Dunne. 

Jumping through hoops

The KP brand is valued at almost €26 million according to the latest AC Nielsen data, and includes the popular consumer brands Hula Hoops, Skips Rancheros and Meanies in its portfolio.

Hula Hoops is one of Ireland’s leading snack brands, appealing to all consumers. Containing no artificial flavours or MSG, the product now has improved credentials and taste to meet the needs of modern consumers. The brand is constantly evolving introducing new designs and pack formats and is regularly supported by ATL and BTL activity. According to KP, it has “exciting plans” over the summer months including a major on-pack consumer offer and ATL support campaign.

Also available from KP and distributed in Ireland by Robert Roberts, The Real McCoys is available in three flavours and commences an exciting consumer campaign in June; with TV advertising and a consumer on-pack promotion to win gadgets every day. Entry is via text or the McCoys website www.mycoys.co.uk. New impactful display stands will also be available to support the sell out in store.

Also launching in June is Barney Salt & Vinegar dinosaur shaped corn snacks. An enjoyable treat for children containing no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners. Barney Salt & Vinegar corn snacks are made in Ireland and will be available in handipack and six pack format.

Contributing to growth in the thriving sharing crisps and snacks market, Phileas Fogg sharing snacks, available from Robert Roberts, include three crisp flavours; Salt & Black Pepper, Irish Cheddar & Onion, and Sweet Chilli varieties, and 2 tortillas; Salsa and Sour Cream. Available in 140g sharing bags, they are perfect for any sharing occasion, especially summer barbeques and cosy nights in. Phileas Fogg crisps are also available in handipack format in Sweet Chilli and Cheddar & Onion varieties.

Hula Hoops, Skips, Rancheros and McCoys are also available in share bag format.

Doing their nut

As Ireland’s leading range of nuts, Harvest Fare has been at the forefront of growth in the savoury snacks market. In the course of having a healthy makeover recently, the brand added a bit of fun to its proposition, including new eye-catching livery with strong colours, to create strong shelf stand-out.

In addition, the entire Harvest Fare range has been segmented into four sub categories, allowing for easier and quicker product identification for consumers. The range is split into Savoury, Spicy, Raw and Sweet. Cashew Nuts, Pistachios, and Sea Salted Peanuts make up the Savoury range; Chilli Nuts and Bombay Mix make up the Spicy range; Raw comprises Hazelnuts, Brazils, and Fruit & Nut Mix; while the Sweet and Sassy range includes Yoghurt Covered Peanuts and Raisins, Chocolate Raisins and Chocolate Peanuts.

Other improvements to the range include the development of an easy open pack. The family pack has been modified and improved to make opening the pack easier and to eliminate the issue of the bag splitting. The bag also has a handy, improved peel and reseal tab which makes it easy to store uneaten nuts after the pack has been opened. Furthermore, the entire range has been developed with a good dash of tongue in cheek humour to engage consumers at the point of purchase.

Cracking into the market

Tuc is expanding further into the snacking sector with the launch of its exciting new range Tuc Craks. Tuc is currently number two in the plain savoury category with a 17% value share and is hoping to capitalise on the growing Irish crisps and snacks market.

Tuc Craks is a range of bite sized savoury snacks with a crunchy kick and a variety of exciting flavours. They have the unique texture and shape from Tuc Original, but are equally compulsive. Available in Sour Cream & Onion and Original flavours, the new packs are sure to jump off shelves with vibrant packaging that clearly differentiates the range.

Packaged in a convenient 85g bag, Tuc Craks are ideal for on-the-go snacking and for sharing. The brand will be heavily supported with a high intensity ATL campaign which will roll out in July. Tuc Craks are available now at an RSP of €1.69. 
Tuc has also just launched the favourite savoury cracker in a new mini format. Tuc Minis are also available in a convenient 85g on-the-go snack pack and is available now at RSP of €1.30.

From zero to brand hero

Since Kellogg’s first introduced cereal snacks to the Irish market in 1997, the growth of the category has been staggering, going from zero to almost €40 million in just over 10 years. During that time, Kellogg’s has maintained its position as clear market leader, owning all of the top five brands: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain, Rice Krispies Squares, Special K bars and bagged snacks, Cereal & Milk Bars, and Fruit Winders.

Each of these brands satisfies a different consumer need, including portable energy, tasty treat, shape management and convenient lunchbox solution. At the heart of the Kellogg’s snacks success story has been the ability of the company to drive innovation to offer the consumer exciting new food formats. Some of the most recent examples of this include the introduction of Kellogg’s Special K Mini-Breaks, a tasty bagged snack made from oats, rice and corn. With only 99 calories per bag, Kellogg’s Special K Mini-Breaks offer a perfect snacking solution to individuals who are managing their shape, tapping in to the growing consumer quest for healthier convenience.

Fulfilling a completely different consumer need, the very latest addition to the Kellogg’s snacks portfolio, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares Totally Chocolatey is an indulgent treat combining chocolate with toasted grains of rice, topped with milk chocolate chunks. Totally Chocolatey joins Chewy Marshmallow, Caramel Chocolate, and Crazy Choc as the fourth addition to the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares family. Totally Chocolatey is now available in multi-packs of four bars as well as single bar format.

What is impressive about the growth of the cereal snacks category is that it has been achieved without cannibalisation of the lucrative confectionery and savoury snacks categories. Convenience retailers should therefore merchandise cereal snacks within the impulse area to capitalise on profit opportunities.

Instant hot snack master

Pot Noodle is market leader in the instant hot snacks sector with over 40% share (AC Nielson MAT 22nd February 2009) and continues to be one of Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting brands. The instant hot snacks market is currently valued at €6.9 million (AC Nielson MAT 22nd February 2009) and is maintaining high levels of steady growth.

Pot Noodle offers a tasty snacking solution and has recently undergone new recipe improvements to deliver its biggest taste hit ever. The wide and varied range offers a choice of nine flavours, such as long-standing favourites Chicken & Mushroom, Chow Mein and Original Curry.

The Pot Noodle range also offers King Pot which is available in Chicken & Mushroom and Original Curry flavours.

This year has also seen the launch of a new noodle offering from the makers of Pot Noodle. Wot? Not in a Pot Noodle is a range of three top selling flavours into the block noodles category. These new products are ideal as a quick and tasty snack or as a side accompaniment to a bigger meal, and are available in Chicken & Mushroom, Beef & Tomato and Sweet and Sour flavours. To support the brand and its new launch into 2009 expect more creative campaigns, a variety of sampling activities and eye-catching in-store promotions.

Quick off the mark

Knorr Quicklunch is a range of tasty snack meals easily prepared and ready to eat within five minutes. Knorr Quicklunch currently holds a 22% share of the instant hot snacks category and is growing rapidly.

The range is ideal as a quality hot food snack or as a side dish to accompany any meal. Available in a range of seven varieties, from firm favourites such as Curry Rice and Pasta Arrabiata to Creamy Pasta with Chives, the range offers something to suit all tastes and is ideal for shoppers looking for a quick and filling snack at lunchtimes in particular. n

 

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