Cheese & onion flavour drives UK sales for crisp makers

By Lindsey Partos

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Crisps, Potato chip, Pringles, United states, Mintel

Despite today's overarching trend towards new and exotic flavours, when it comes to crisps, traditional flavours like cheese & onion and ready salted are best, generating strong sales and bolstering growth for snack makers despite the challenging economic climate, finds new research from trend trackers Mintel.

Hurtling into the number one flavour slot is cheese and onion flavour with sales for the flavour rising by a considerable 15 per cent in the past two years to value £256 million (€287m) today, and ousting the nation's former favourite - ready-salted - from its decades long top slot.

Cheese & onion, ready salted and salt & vinegar together make-up nearly two thirds of sales of the standard crisp market, inspiring crisp manufacturers to stick with the traditional flavours.

"Ready salted and salt & vinegar were the most popular flavours in terms of new product development last year,"​ said Emmanuelle Bouvier, senior market analyst at Mintel.

In terms of sales, ready salted crisps saw a five per cent rise from 2006 to 2008, to value £244 million (€273m) in 2006. By contrast, it appears consumers are turning away from salt & vinegar, with Mintel data showing sales for this classic fell seven per cent between 2006 and 2008.

Crisps - recession-resilient?​Despite a tougher budgets and tighter purse-strings, consumers chomped their way through £2.53 billion worth of crisps and snacks in 2008 on sales growth of 5 per cent, finds Mintel.

Crisps alone accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the sales figures - £1.47 billion (€1.61bn) - with savoury snacks that include Pringles, and other products made from small pieces of potato, wheat, rice, corn or other base ingredient, which have been baked, extruded, cooked or processed, taking £1.06 billion (€1.19bn).

Premium - a market driver

Mintel claims that repositioning crisps and snacks as an indulgent treat for adult consumers using premium ingredients has also bolstered market growth, helping to drive a 'substantial' market for premium crisps and snacks sold at higher prices.

"The rate of innovation in the crisps and snacks market remains high, and this is a driving factor in sales growth. In recent years we have seen new products move away from a reduced fat, salt and additives positioning towards 'natural' and 'premium' claims,"​ said the Mintel analyst.

But the market researchers warn that, despite the buoyant figures for premium, overall sales of crisps and snacks are likely to 'remain stagnant' over the next five years as money conscious consumers re-evaluate their purchases of premium products.

Related topics: Markets, Ingredients

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