Tayto Group owns the UK’s top 3 pork snacks brands, Mr Porky, Midland Snacks and Real Pork Co.

Mr Porky, the No1 brand with over 40% share, is being supported this year with the biggest ever advertising campaign for pork scratchings with the strapline “There’s no matching a scratching”.

The activity represents an unprecedented investment in pork snacks.

Matt Smith, Marketing Director for Tayto Group, tells Grocery Trader how retailers can grow the crisps and snacks category.

How much is the crisps and snacks market worth? Is the market in growth? What is driving the growth? What effect has Covid-19 had on the market? What are the biggest emerging trends in the crisps and snacks market?

Crisps, Snacks and Popcorn is a mature £3bn market in steady growth (+3.6%)1 showing that we are a nation of snackers – especially when times are tough! We’ve all needed some treats to get us through the past year.

As with most categories, Coronavirus made its mark on savoury snacks. Covid affected both what consumers buy and where they buy it. Online sales are now more than double where they were pre-pandemic. Sales in Convenience jumped in the first lockdown, as people looked to shop as locally and safely as possible. Whilst they have dropped back a bit, they remain higher than before. Larger supermarkets have therefore lost share but still remain the dominant channel for savoury snacks sales.

In terms of products, the pandemic has driven growth in categories which are sometimes overlooked by retailers. A great example is pork scratchings, which are often seen as the preserve of the pub not the retailer. Every night has become a ‘Big Night In’ which has helped pork snacks become the star performer – the fastest growing category (+10.1%)1 – as consumers take the pub taste home. The pub holds a special place in Brits’ hearts as a place to relax and socialise. We’ve missed the pub and our pub snacks, so we’ve been re-creating the experience at home. Despite this growth, some independent retailers are missing out by not stocking scratchings – as consumers frequently talk about buying them ‘at the offie’, by which they mean their local convenience store. They may be the ultimate pub snack, but more scratchings are sold in shops than in pubs.

Covid also accelerated the shift away from impulse packs, with 24% of consumers buying more sharing packs than a year ago2, as a night in front of the TV or a Zoom catch up with friends became the norm and people treated themselves to a snack. £1 PMP Snacks are growing three times faster than the market and now account for 39% of Snacks with family favourites such as our Golden Wonder Ringos and Transform-A-Snack brands performing well in this format.

Impulse sales will start to bounce back now as people are starting to get out and about more but value for money will be critical as many consumers are concerned about their finances. PMPs are a proven way for independent retailers to show that they are offering great value. Entry price-points are doing particularly well with 30p PMPs growing faster than the market3. We’ve seen strong growth in our 30p/2 for 50p Fun Snacks range that includes Tangy Toms, Spicy Bikers, Awesome Oinks, Quarterbacks and Cheesy Snakes.

Do you have any NPD at this time? What marketing support do you have for your range this year? What are the key products in your range that retailers should be stocking?

As category leaders in pork snacks, we are driving the category forward with our refreshed range of Great Taste award-winning products and have introduced new formats specifically designed for Convenience such as Mr Porky clipstrips. These are the perfect solution to capture profitable, VAT-free sales as they enable retailers to merchandise pork scratchings adjacent to BWS – a great way of picking up incremental sales without taking up precious shelf or floor space.

We are also supporting Mr Porky (the No1 brand with over 40% share)4 with the biggest ever advertising campaign for pork scratchings with the strapline “There’s no matching a scratching”. Aimed at engaging lapsed consumers, the campaign sets out to hero the unique appeal of scratchings and how other snacks just don’t come up to scratch.

The campaign includes national radio coverage, as well as up-weighted regional activity in the Midlands (where sales of scratchings are particularly strong) across OOH, radio and digital. This activity will complement our successful ongoing digital activity that is bringing more people into the Mr Porky brand and the wider category. This is an unprecedented investment in pork snacks that can only be delivered by Tayto as category leaders.

We’re also not forgetting Golden Wonder, especially in the all-important £1 PMP snacks segment. We expanded our range earlier this year with the launch of Spicy Bikers – our best-selling ‘Fun Snack’ – with early sales exceeding our expectations. We continue to promote the launch with digital support, including opportunities to win bikes, and activity exclusively for independent retailers including money-off vouchers.

In April, we launched new flavours into the £1 ranges of two more of our successful brands. Sour Cream & Onion Ringos will tap into the double-digit growth of this flavour. These additions will drive further growth in the £1 sector and will be promoted through digital activity and trade marketing support.

To celebrate the Olympics, we’ve recently launched our limited-edition Ringo Katsu Curry. Limited edition Ringos flavours are always a real hit with consumers as they offer a lighter, fully flavoured snack that you can afford to eat. Ringo Katsu Curry is no different and is flying off the shelves. This really popular flavour is a great fit with the Japan Olympics. The £1 sharing bags and multipacks formats are perfect for celebrating the ‘summer of sport’ especially the Olympics. So why not give ‘em a go!

What merchandising advice do you have for retailers to grow the crisps and snacks category?

Shoppers have re-engaged with local convenience stores through the pandemic and have remembered… “they are indeed convenient!” For this channel, it’s all about understanding the shopper mission and tailoring ranging and merchandising accordingly. Consumers frequently refer to their local convenience store when asked where they pick up drinks and snacks for an impromptu get together. By merchandising ‘pub snacks’ – such as pork scratchings – with BWS, they satisfy this mission in one place. With the pent-up desire to socialise and a summer of sport to enjoy, the impulse channel can cement its place in shoppers’ store repertoire. To meet this need, Tayto has developed a range of Mr Porky clipstrips that enable retailers to merchandise scratchings clipstrips on BWS to benefit from VAT-free, impulse sales without taking up precious shelf space.

Pork scratchings have recently been recognised as being Britain’s favourite pub snack in a survey by The Daily Mail5, beating nuts, crisps and unique delicacies such as pickled eggs and cockles. Consumers crave the unique, rich flavour and salty crunch of pork scratchings and, as people continue to enjoy the ‘pub at home’, they are a must stock item for retailers as there is simply no matching a scratching!

And now, more than ever as people start to return to ‘normal’, don’t forget impulse – we have seen very strong growth in our Fun Snacks range (that includes Tangy Toms, Spicy Bikers, Awesome Oinks and Quarterbacks) as 30p PMPs have been growing faster than the market3. Entry-point price points are a way of encouraging people back into single pack purchases and we expect to see our best-sellers – Spicy Bikers and Tangy Toms – continue to perform well here.

Capturing the booming sharing snacks market means retailers need to be stocking a strong range of £1 PMP snacks – which are growing at 20%6. Ringos and Transform-A-Snack continue to be our top performers in the £1 sector as they deliver Golden Wonder’s legendary ‘punch per crunch’, great consumer value, as well as strong margins for retailers.

How do you work with retailers to help them grow sales?

Golden Wonder over-trades in the independent retail sector and so I would like to thank all of our stockists for supporting the brand over the years. Our focus remains on delivering the brand’s promise of ‘more punch per crunch’ along with great consumer value and we recognise the importance of providing strong trade margins. We understand the challenges of being an independent retailer and have a team dedicated to the sector with a bespoke promotional plan including regular offers mailed directly to store owners.

 

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