Kettle Foods is tackling new ground in the UK with small pack, better-for-you baked potato chips and says the new line plugs a market gap.
The premium chip company, better known for indulgent share-size snacks, has developed two varieties of baked potato chips that contain less than 100 calories per 25g bag and boast a 70% fat reduction, compared to traditional Kettle Chip products. The company said it was targeting a gap in the UK’s better-for-you snack market with the sweet chilli and cream cheese and chive variants. Kettle Foods already has a baked line in the US.
Andrew Slamin, marketing director for Kettle Foods, said the company was not afraid of going beyond its traditional grounding.
“In the consumer's mind, the Kettle brand stands for authentic great taste. This can be applied across different product formats that are suitable for different eating occasions,” Slamin told BakeryandSnacks.com.
For example, the eating occasion with the baked line would be different to the company’s core sharing range, he said, as the packs were considerably smaller. “The 25g bag size is targeted more at an impulse purchase for snacking on the go.”
In addition, consumers are looking for these better-for-you products on certain occasions, he said - often during the day. The new line targets health conscious adults, primarily females, who are looking for a good tasting snack to eat on the go or at lunchtime, he added.
Targeting females in post-Christmas diet season
Kettle Foods said it had chosen early 2014 strategically for the launch to play into the post-Christmas diet season. However, Slamin said the product did have potential for the rest of the year.
“There is demand for better-for-you snacks all year round as many consumers are trying to eat healthier generally. We believe there will be demand for this type of product in the longer term as people look for ways to reduce their fat and calorie intake but still enjoy what they’re eating,” he said.
Kettle Foods can bring something new to the growing better-for-you market place through its expertise in using real food ingredients, he said.
Less fat, lower calories
The process of baking instead of frying is what has slashed the fat content by 70%, Kettle said. However, the potatoes are still sprayed with a fine mist of sunflower oil after baking, to improve the seasoning application and enhance mouthfeel by adding moisture.
Kettle will communicate its fat and calorie reduction on the front of pack – an important marketing move, Slammin said, as they are key messages for health conscious consumers.
Snack major PepsiCo has a baked range in the UK that similarly boasts 70% less fat than regular potato chips. However, nutrition policy specialist Jack Winkler previously told this site that the line had failed to become a mainstream choice, which he claimed to be a public health tragedy.
Winkler said the baked line wasn’t receiving the thumbs up amid the a health strategy that gave any potato chip a bad image. He said that a lack of endorsements and poor distribution compared to its regular counterpart had left the line unable to realize its true potential.
Despite this, baked and popped chip varieties continue to be among the many NPD snack launches hitting shelves worldwide. PepsiCo UK via its Walkers brand, for example, will launch a popped chip range in February that contains 50% less fat than regular potato chips.