UK brand Butterkist, owned by Tangerine Confectionery, hopes to cash in on the increasing number of people seeking products which allow them to recreate an evening out within their own homes in order to save money.
“When consumers are looking to recreate the movie experience at home, popcorn is the perfect choice. We believe that the big night in trend will only continue to grow in popularity, and as a result over the last year we have created new microwave formats, delicious savory flavors, and we have launched the exciting partnership with Universal," Adrian Hipkiss, marketing manager at Tangerine Confectionery, told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Consumer snack choices are motivated by three key elements, in order of importance - 'indulgence', 'time and place' and 'fun and entertainment', according to research from Canadean. However, Canadean analyst Ronan Stafford said that when looking at the motivation driving popcorn choice, consumers noted 'fun and entertainment' as the main consideration.
Increasingly crowded market
Butterkist hopes to reaffirm consumer's affection with the brand by offering cinema-related money can’t buy prizes such as holidays at the Universal Orlando® Resort and invitations to red carpet film premiers.
Yet Stafford has some doubts about the ability to place the fate of a product on just one associated activity.
“Whilst popcorn targeting things like a big night in with a movie is on trend for what people want, it’s going to be an increasingly crowded market. This is what’s going to limit popcorn. If all popcorn is targeting is movie nights in, then this is a very limited number of occasions,” Stafford told us.
Popcorn has shown strong growth over recent years, but it has been overshadowed by other products like potato chips within the savory snacks market which have shown considerably more promise, he said. Stafford said potato chip companies have tapped into the trend by offering large sharing bags meant to be eaten with dips and enjoyed with friends.
Buying more for less
Talking in the past with BakeryandSnacks.com, Tesco snack buyer Lee Bannerman said that growth experienced had “ironically been helped by the economic downturn.”
However Stafford pointed out that while people may be buying more of these “big night in” snacks, the actual amount they are paying for them has reduced.
“Consumers are turning to more economical value brands which has devalued the market. Also there has been a strong rise in heavy discounting to actually get products out the door. That’s a trend throughout all food retail,” Stafford explained.
“If you look at the value of savory snacks between 2007 and 2012 [globally] the value of each market has actually declined. And that’s across all savory snacks, even potato chips. So while some categories are doing better than others I’d be very hesitant to say that they are benefiting from it [the economic downturn],” he added.
Savory snacks breakdown
Between 2007 and 2012 the volume sales of the global savory snacks market grew by a rate of 2.6% per year, but this 2.6% volume change was also a -1.3% value change, he said. "So volumes are still up, but the value is declining.”
As consumer confidence grows and the perception of economic difficulties fades, Canadean predicts growth both in volume and value of savory snacks. The firm predicts 4.2% value growth for 2012-17.