The UK’s top 10 vending machine snack sellers

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mmmm... salty or sweet? Brits show a love of both when it comes to vending machine sales. Pic: GettyImages/kasto80
Mmmm... salty or sweet? Brits show a love of both when it comes to vending machine sales. Pic: GettyImages/kasto80

Related tags: Vending machine, Selecta, Walkers crisps, Mcvitie's, Kp snacks, PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Kettle chips

Most Brits share a love for snacking because of its ability to deliver a moment of joy, to fulfil that craving for something salty, to give an energy boost or to provide solace in these unprecedented times. Where it does differ is which snack is the nation’s most popular.

Hitting the sweet spot – and crowned Britain’s most popular snack – is Cadbury’s Twirl, according to Selecta’s sales data for 2019.

Not to be outdone though, Walkers Max Chargrilled Steak followed close behind with a meaty punch in sales.

To find out the nation’s on-the-go top sellers, the European vending supplier analysed sales data between 1 January and 31 December 2019, gathered from vending machines placed in 96 towns and cities across the UK.

While the survey revealed that chocolate dominated the top five spots, the salty hit of potato crisps evened out the playing field in the nation’s top 10.

Drilling down the sales data showed the top 10 most popular crisps in the UK was the Walker brand, produced by PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay.

Selecta's Top 10 savoury snack sellers

Ranking

Snack

Producer

Nationwide sales

1

Walkers Max Chargrilled Steam

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

743,224

2

Walkers Cheese & Onion

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

503,016

3

McVitie’s Mini Cheddars

pladis

491,518

4

Walkers Ready Salted

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

467,417

5

Doritos Extreme Chilli Heatwave

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

360,896

6

Walkers Baked Cheese & Onion

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

248,045

7

Walkers Salt & Vinegar

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

243,818

8

Walkers Quavers Cheese

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

237,939

9

Hula Hoops BBQ

KP Snacks

230,112

10

Kettle Chips Sweet Chilli

Kettle Foods

211,039

According to Selecta, sales of the snacks varied between the North and South of the country.

Typically, snackers in the north opted for more biscuit products – with Cadbury shortcake a popular snack in Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool. On the other hand, towns and cities in the south had high sales for chocolate bars and sweets.

Quavers were more favoured by snackers in the north than those in the south, while the Walkers products found their spot in Oxford, Reading and Truro, along with other Southern areas.

Selecta’s Top 10 best-sellers

Ranking

Snack

Producer

Nationwide sales

1

Twirl

Cadbury

759,482

2

Walkers Max Chargrilled Steak

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

743,224

3

Kinder Bueno

Ferrero

734,333

4

Kit Kat 4 Finger

Nestle

540,124

5

Twix Bar

Mars Inc.

514,916

6

Walkers Cheese & Onion

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

503,016

7

McVitie’s Mini Cheddars

pladis

491,581

8

Walkers Ready Salted

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

467,417

9

Snickers Bar

Mars Inc.

443,193

10

Doritos Extreme Chilli Heatwave

PepsiCo Frito-Lay

360,896

The full Monty

Selecta collated data on over 16 million snack sales across the UK to rank the 233 most purchased snacks from its vending machines in 2019.

‘Healthier’ offerings were further down the list, with Cadbury’s Boost Protein Bar coming in 22nd​, Eat Natural Almonds & Yogurt ranking 34th​; Cranberry Raw Nuts in 37th​ spot; and Trek Protein Berry Burst sliding into 51st​ position.

Jerky first made its appearance in 43rd​ place (Wild West Beef Jerky Original), while popcorn said hello in 81st​ position (Metcalf’s Sweet ‘n Salt Popcorn).

“It was fascinating to see the results of the study and to see what snacks people are buying from our vending machines,”​ said Cecily Batten, head of marketing at Selecta UK & Express Vending.

“Our vending machines help meet the expectations of today’s consumers by offering a range of snacks. We make sure all of our products are 250kcals or less to make sure consumers manage their portion sizes even if they indulge in a sweet treat occasionally.”

Headquartered in Switzerland, Selecta is one of Europe’s leading route-based unattended self-service providers, serving more than 10 million consumers a day on average through its 475,000 points of sale across the continent. Selecta UK has over 29,000 points of sale across the country.

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