UK salty snacks: Own label scoops market share from Pringles, Walkers and Kettle

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK snacks industry has seen a relatively flat growth in the 52 weeks to August 19, 2017. Pic: ©GettyImages/egal/Fredex8
The UK snacks industry has seen a relatively flat growth in the 52 weeks to August 19, 2017. Pic: ©GettyImages/egal/Fredex8
Salty snacks and nut volumes have stagnated in the UK in the past year, due to a lack of strong product innovation, says IRI senior European insight manager, Olly Abotorabi.

However, since most other FMCG grocery categories are also experiencing volume declines, it’s far from a crisis for salty snacks and nuts, he told BakeryandSnacks.

A bigger shake-up is coming from rise of private label at the expense of brands.

Flat growth

According to IRI data for the past 52 weeks to August 19, 2017, the growth in UK snack sales is mostly being driven by price inflation – as value sales were up by 1% to £2.85bn ($3.72bn) year-on-year – underlying a flat volume of 336m kg.

Abotorabi noted “a broader set of snacking options from smaller, perceived healthier segments – for example, sports nutrition bars and bites, popcorn and meat-based snacks – also impacted on the expandability of the crisps and salty snacks categories​.

“Non-potato categories are gaining more traction in an increasingly broad and diverse UK snacking landscape.

“There are continued signs from both branded and private label players of a focus on more premium, healthier for you options such as rice, pea or corn-based crisps,” ​he added.

The UK crisps segment saw a 2% increase in value sales to £1.137m in 2017 from £1.115m the year prior. Volume sales also grew 2.3% to 138m kg in 2017 from 135m kg the year prior.

Top 10 UK crisp brands

Source IRI 52w/e August 19, 2017. IRI is a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide)

RatingBrand/CompanyValue sales 2017Value sales 2016% ChangeVolume sales 2017Volume sales 2016% Change
1Walkers£660m£643m+2.7%77m kg76m kg+1.9%
2Mccoys£130m£113m+15%13m kg12m kg12%
3Own label£117m£101m+16%20m kg16m kg20.9%
4Kettle Chips£96m£97m-0.5%10.80m kg10.86m kg-0.5%
5Tyrrells£46m£58m-20.6%4.8m kg5m kg-19%
6Seabrook£27m£29m-5.7%4.10m kg4.12m kg-0.5%
7Golden Wonder£16m£18m-10.4%2m kg3m kg-20.9%
8Ritz Crisp & Think Crisps£10m£16m-36.7%803,547 kg1m kg-33%
9Jacobs Cracker Crisps£9m£13m-28.9%1.2m kg1.8m kg-32.4%
10Mackies£4.3m£4.8m-10.4%510,241 kg618,076 kg-17.4%

A private increase

IRI data showed own label made gains at the expense of brands, partly influenced by an increase in private label ranges in this category.

This was particularly prevalent in potato chips and other salty snacks, which saw a 3% NPD increase for own label versus no change on the prior year for national brands.

The market researcher noted Pringles lost share to the likes of Doritos, Hula Hoops and own label, however, this was influenced by the brand’s reduction in promotional sales and display activity during the period.

Some retailers have also boosted their own label large sharing bag ranges.

Value sales of the UK's snacks sector (including baked and pork scratchings) slumped by 0.7% to £1.339m in 2017 from £1.348m the year prior; while volume sales also saw a decrease, of 2.1%, to £155m in 2017 from £158m the year prior.    dl

Top 10 UK snacks, including baked and pork scratchings

Source IRI 52w/e August 19, 2017. IRI is a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide)

RatingCompany/BrandValue sales 2017Value sales 2016% ChangeVolume sales 2017Volume sales 2016% Change
1Pringles£182m£213m-14.6%22m kg28m kg-19.6%
2Walkers Doritos£178m£171m+3.9%24m kg23m kg+1%
3Own label£128m£122m+5.3%22m kg21m kg+4.7%
4Hula Hoops£104m£93m+11.8%12m kg10m kg+14.9%
5Walkers Quavers£82m£83m-1.3%6.3m kg6.6m kg-3.5%
6Jacobs Mini Cheddars£66.6£66.8m-0.4%10.6m kg10.1m kg+4.4%
7Walkers Wotsits£57m£59m-3.9%5.1m kg5.3m kg-4.9%
8Walkers Sunbites£40m£39m1.9%4.6m kg4.5m kg+2.1%
9Walkers Squares£38,6m£35m8.2%3.0m kg2m kg+8.3%
10Walkers Monster Munch£38.5m£45m-14.5%3.7m kg4m kg-14.1%

Tough starts

Abotorabi said snack manufacturers are finding it harder to launch and sustain new product launches despite no massive influx of new players.

“The new launches – such as Walkers Stax, McCoy’s Chip Shop and Doritos Heat Burst in the latest year – haven’t  impacted the topline sales overall within crisps and salty snacks category, and none have yet to surpass the £10m ($13m) sales mark for annual sales,”​ he said.

The one exception is Planters, which added £3.5m ($4.5m) in sales to the nuts category.

The UK nuts segment for the period saw a 3.9% increase to £368m from £355m the year prior. Volume sales jumped 0.4% to 42.5m kg from 42.3m kg in 2016.

Top 10 UK nut brands

Source IRI 52w/e August 19, 2017. IRI is a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide)

RatingCompany/BrandValue sales 2017Value sales 2016% ChangeVolume sales 2017Volume sales 2016% Change
1Own label£262m£254m+3.1%29,8m kg29.5m kg+1%
2Kp£54m£56m-3%7m kg8m kg-11.7%
3Walkers£8m£10m-14.3%1.0m kg1.1m kg-5.2%
4Indus£5m£3m+53.8%520,153 kg367,535 kg+41.5%
5Fudco£4.8m£4.1m+16.1%401,411 kg389,435 kg+3.1%
6Graze£4.6m,£2m+124.4%196,952 kg63,942 kg+208%
7Planters£4.1m£256,207+1535.7%622,076 kg34,842 kg+1685.4%
8Cofresh£2.4m£2.6m-7.1%346,658 kg315,469 kg+9.9%
9Blue Diamond£1.93m£1.96m-1.5%105,199 kg104,607 kg+0.6%
10Marmite Cashew Nuts£1.8m£1.6m+11.9%106,209 kg97,145 kg+9.3%

“It is clear the continued impact of range rationalisation makes it harder for crisps and snacks producers to launch and sustain new product launches,” ​said Abotorabi.

Taste is king but room for health

The analyst added consumers still view snacks as convenient, especially as a meal replacement.

IRI’s 2017 regional shopper survey highlights 72% of UK consumers buy ‘healthy food’, over half of which (53%) are buying to improve their general health.

“Given this focus, we should expect to see more development in perceived ‘healthier’ snacking segments,”​ he said, stating that taste, though, is still “king ahead of health.

“Brands such as Graze are a good example, moving from niche to mainstream within the broader snacking landscape, disrupting categories and transcending a mix of snack product types.”

Related topics: Health, Snacks, Retail & Shopper Insights

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