PepsiCo’s Walkers brand snapped up second place, just behind 1L Smirnoff Vodka, with its six-pack product, generating £179.1m ($282m) for the year ending October 14, 2014, according to fresh IRI data*.
Close behind was Kellogg’s Pringles pots in fourth with £161m ($253.5m) in sales.
Tim Eales, strategic insights director at IRI UK, said this presence in the top 20 was reflective of the snacking culture across the country.
“It’s a bit of a lifestyle that we’ve come to adopt and it’s popular with a great many people,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Crisps are clearly the kind of things you can eat almost at any time – they are very easy to eat. And of course they go very well with a drink, and we clearly seem to be buying a lot of drinks.”
Smirnoff Vodka 700ml placed third behind Walkers among a host of other beverage brands, including Coca Cola, Red Bull and Diet Coke.
When compared to sales on the previous year, Walkers six-pack and Pringles 190 g pots were both in growth – 0.8% and 5.3% respectively.
Walkers’ single-serve packs also placed seventh with £134.9m ($212m) in sales and showed a 4.5% sales growth on the previous year.
“These are all in growth which is actually pretty hard to find at the moment. If you take our sales data in totality over the last year, excluding alcohol, packaged groceries were at -1% this year,” Eales said.
Both Walkers single-serve and Pringles, he said, were way above that market average decline.
“We can’t look at this and surmise that the whole of the bagged snacks sector is going well, but these ones in particular are doing well and bucking the top line trend of overall value decline.”
Out with the old, in with the new?
Asked if these sales figures were indicative that ‘healthy’ snacking had not taken off in the UK, Eales said: “It’s about growth - people are very anxious to try and achieve growth in their brands. And in their businesses and generally speaking, the healthier products that have been launched recently are the ones you tend to see the growth figures in. Not exclusively, by any means, but the healthy products are very popular among a proportion of the population.”
However, he said there was clearly “a much larger part” of the population who were happy eating regular potato chip snacks.
Eales said it was unsurprising the six-pack product from Walkers placed highest. “The six-pack is the kind of big volume line within the supermarkets.”
What was surprising, he said, was that Walkers individual crisp packs placed in the top 20. “If people are buying the smaller, single packs it will often be taking place in areas we don’t reach like bars and pubs, so I could almost be surprised it’s as big as it is. And of course, it’s a great deal more expensive to buy crisps in a single bag, compared to a multipack. It shows there’s still a big market for what is probably people eating on the hoof.”
Eales said it was likely such sales were boosted by the ever-popular ‘meal deal’ in the UK. “The meal deals people will have you believe that what we should eat for lunch is a sandwich, pack of crisps and a drink. It would be interesting to see how many individual packs of crisps they’d sell without these meal deals because sandwiches are a very big market,” he said.
*Sales for IRI’s top 20 list were taken from all UK multiples, convenience stores, independent grocers as well as newsagents and tobacconists. The data, however, excludes discounters.
For further BakeryandSnacks.com coverage on IRI's latest data click here > 'Part I on bread'.