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Burton’s eyes snack leadership with vintage relaunch

By Kacey Culliney+

23-Jan-2014
Last updated the 23-Jan-2014 at 15:34 GMT

Burton’s Biscuit Company wants to re-establish market leadership in savory snacks with a modern twist on its 1980s Fish ‘n’ Chips brand, the company's marketing head says.

The retro relaunch comes at a time when nostalgia is booming in bakery and snacks.

Burton’s has reintroduced its snack across the UK after a ‘Bring Back a Brand’ campaign from our sister publication The Grocer and a national poll in The Sun newspaper indicated a demand. The product was last on UK shelves 10 years ago but was brought back at the beginning of January - joining the company’s ‘Great British Brand’ range.

Stuart Wilson, chief marketing officer at Burton’s Biscuit Company, said it took the company a year to work on modernizing the product and brand. 

“The product has been launched as a contemporary proposition for today’s consumer, with a baked not fried savory snacking biscuit that has an ‘eye watering’ salt and vinegar flavor,” Wilson told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Asked if baking, rather than frying, the snack reduced fat content, the company said it was unable to say because it did not have nutritional data on the 10-year-old version.

Wilson said that in addition to different processing methods, the pack formats had also been updated to fit the modern consumer.

The company has made multipacks, share bags and grab bags. “There’s a pack for every occasion – lunch, evening sharing or just for on-the-go.”

Long-term plans for market leadership, no novelty

Wilson said Burton’s had big, long-term plans for the Fish ‘n’ Chips brand.

“Our aspiration is to create a £5 million [$8.3m] (retail sales value) brand within the first year, enabling us to re-establish Fish ‘n’ Chips as a leading brand in the convenient savory snacking biscuits market, part of the £500 million UK savory biscuits market.”

The company has planned a February campaign in The Sun newspaper, social media campaigns and in-store sampling to generate a buzz around the relaunch, he said.

He added that Burton’s has already successfully relaunched its Wagon Wheels brand. AC Nielsen data shows that the brand experienced 57% YOY growth in 2013 and is now worth an estimated £21m. ($34.8m).

Vintage, retro boom

Wilson said the snack would appeal to younger consumers looking for a twist on a classic, but predominantly older consumers who remember the brand from 10 years ago – tapping into a booming nostalgia trend.

Burton’s isn’t the first company to go after the nostalgic consumer. Last year, Kellogg rolled out limited edition cereal packs in Australia , Flowers Foods launched Wonder Bread with a retro pack design after acquiring the brand, KP Snacks revamped its Disco potato chips , and Betty Crocker redesigned its cake mix line, incorportaing 1920s-inspired images and text on pack.

Nostalgic packaging and marketing has boomed in cakes, home-baking and biscuits, according to Datamonitor Consumer.

Tanvi Savara, associate analyst at the research firm, previously told this site that the trend was about catering to consumers who were looking back on simpler times.

“It’s about inducing a positive emotional response as consumers anchor their emotions to another time or place where things were simpler and happier,” she said.

However, Savara warned that companies can’t rely on nostalgia for long-term success. She said the product would have to appeal on other levels, such as value for money and convenience.

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