Walkers' health is untouched

23 February, 2007

Salt and fat reduction across its range keeps the snack giant ahead of the pack for another year

Walkers is still the front runner in the impulse channel with sales more than three times th ose of nearest competitor McCoy's. But, as newer brands break into the top 10, Gary Lineker's favourite crisps cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

In a climate of ongoing concern about the nation's health, Walkers has increased investment in healthier versions of its brand. In 2007 the range will ­contain 70 per cent less saturated fat than in 2005, and salt content has also been cut. Walkers also beefed up its core range in a bid to maximise the appeal of its crisps ..

There's no change for McCoy's and Pringles in the second and third spots, but making headway as the fourth top snack is Walkers' Doritos, which saw a 9 per cent sales boost.

The outlook isn't so rosy for Walkers' Sensations , which has seen sales plummet by 16 per cent despite new variants, redesigned packaging and a £2.5 million media campaign in 2006.

Kettle Chips makes an entrance at the bottom of the line-up with a 54 per cent sales uplift. Marketed as "just potatoes undressed", the brand taps into the nation's appetite for real ingredients with no artificial flavours.

Mini Cheddars remains in the chart, but the United Biscuits brand has dropped a place , and Walkers' Squares has dropped out of the top 10.

Despite last year's predictions of a nut revival, they are not outselling crisps in the impulse channel. But with a heavyweight campaign planned for Nobby's Nuts in 2007, this could still be the name to watch out for going into next year.

Star performer

McCoy's

Another impressive year for the "real bloke's snack brand". In a market dominated by sharing products aimed primarily at women, owner United Biscuits isn't scared to stand out from the crowd, marketing its crisps at 25 to 34-year-old men and their partners.

McCoy's core range will get an image makeover and revamped packaging in March. The new look will highlight the brand's "30 per cent less saturated fat" claim to improved nutritional credentials. A range of limited edition McCoy's Jackets in March will be in Sour Cream & Chive, Melted Cheese & Bacon and Chilli Beef flavours.

Following the launch of McCoy's Specials last year, a new-look pack in April will help drive further growth. Four new flavours - T-Bone Steak with Onions, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar and Mature Cheddar & Onion Chutney - will join the range.

Top 10 snacks

Position

Brand Supplier Sales £m % Change

1 Walkers (standard) Walkers Crisps

129.5

6.1

2 McCoy's United Biscuits UK 38.6

8.0

3 Pringles Procter & Gamble 33.8

6.5

4 Doritos Walkers Crisps 25.9

9.4

5 Walkers Sensations Walkers Crisps 23.0

-16.3

6 Hula Hoops United Biscuits UK 21.5

7.8

7 Quavers Walkers Crisps 20.4

5.6

8 Monster Munch Walkers Crisps 14.9

0.2

9 Mini Cheddars United Biscuits UK 13.8

-0.7

10 Kettle Chips Kettle Foods 12.5

54.1

Nielsen MAT to Dec 30 2006, GB off-trade impulse channel




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