European giant Intersnack is challenging PepsiCo and United Biscuits brands in the UK as it prepares to dramatically increase its profile, with a seven-figure investment in UK production.
Intersnack Group, whose UK business is split between branded and own-label ranges, claims second place in the European snacks market, with sales of euro 1.5bn (£1.25bn). But md Richard Robinson, who joined Intersnack UK in July 2011, said it had not focused on organic growth in UK sales, which stand at £80M. It is already the UK's top nut supplier.
Robinson said the company had "ambitious plans" to grow branded and own-label sales and "make Intersnack a preferred supplier of savoury snacks for all our UK customers".
In 2009, Intersnack boosted sales significantly by acquiring the Percy Daltons factory in Haverhill, Suffolk, and West Midlands-based Imperial Snack Foods. Intersnack has not ruled out further acquisitions and reports in 2010 suggested it was a potential candidate to buy parts of United Biscuits.
"We are investing a seven-figure sum across our three sites this year," said Robinson. He recognised the UK snacks market was dominated by PepsiCo's Walkers Crisps and United Biscuit brands including Phileas Fogg; Hula Hoops and KP, but thought snacks still had growth potential.
Intersnack has promised increased investment in new products and marketing. UK annual sales of Pom-Bear are around £15M. They grew 14.1% in the 12 weeks to November 26, outperforming total snacks, which grew by 5.2%, according to market analyst IRI.
Intersnack is poised to launch additional Penn State products, including corn chips into Tesco. "We have relaunched the brand with new packaging and livery and flavour innovation is another area we can take forward," said Robinson. Penn State is worth just £7M in the UK, but Intersnack claims it is growing by 10% year-on-year.
Intersnack has relaunched Imperial's Bombay mix under the name 'Bollywood Mix' and invested in production for the brand.