Bags of history Heritage brands dominate snacking sector

Despite the received wisdom that bagged snacks are predominantly eaten by children and young adults, so theoretically products should have finite lifecycles, the long established bagged snacks brands continue to be popular with new generations, though many of the brands have changed hands over the decades.

As an example, KP Snacks was part of United Biscuits for many years but since 2013 has been part of the German-owned Intersnack who are backing it with fresh capital and marketing support.

Matt Collins, Sales Director for KP Snacks says a tasty 26% of shoppers in the convenience sector are purchasing on the go, with crisps a key component in the growing Meal Deal opportunity. On the NPD front Matt says KP is looking at more energy-filled foods, targeting healthy areas: “At the start of the morning people target healthy snacks but by evening they move into indulgence.”

KP’s biggest brand overall is McCoy’s ridged crisps and flat crisps and its biggest SKU is the McCoy’s 47.5 grab bag. Other major brands include Hula Hoops, KP Nuts, Pom Bear, which came into the fold when parent company Intersnack bought the Inkka Snack portfolio, and Penn State pretzels. They also offer 39p value packs of much loved snack brands Wheat Crunchies, Discos and Frisps, and 20p bags of Space Raiders.

“The challenge,” says Matt, “is balancing promotions versus base sales. These products continue to sell strongly on promotion because of the strong impulse appeal.”

Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to control their salt and fat intake, but salty snacks are holding up. As a company KP responds to different need states, reflected in their offering to different retail outlets, covering everything from on the go products to lunch boxes, sharing products for big nights in and even a Christmas range in suitably seasonal livery.

Crisps and snacks have been advertised on TV since the early days of commercial broadcasting. KPM are investing more than ever right now, putting £13 million behind the McCoy’s ‘find the gold crisp’ campaign. Hula Hoops are also on TV with a redesign. Pom Bear will be on air in August/September, as part of their Back To School activity. But the biggest news is KP Nuts’ return to TV in July, for the first time since 1983.

“We are supporting our brands and they are succeeding,” says Matt Collins. “Part of our strategy is to drive our core range. It’s about getting the right innovation and flavour extension, making the big lines bigger. Meanwhile the multiples have gone through range re-sets, matching brands to products and in convenience format stores the core range is incredibly important.”

Some things don’t change in this market: “In achieving the right range, van sales still have a major role,” says Matt, “with delivered wholesalers going into the big retailers’ networks. We continue to have a big crisps, snacks and nuts business through Palmer & Harvey and point of sale and case and outer imagery is still crucial.”