Favourite flavours hold firm Consumers love new tastes but others stay loyal to long held choices

Welcome to our Snacking Spotlight. Snacking is a dynamic category in the wholesale sector in terms of innovations coming through, yet the evidence shows many consumers are sticking with their favourite products and flavours, ensuring these remain bestsellers.

In our interview Matt Goddard, Wholesale Trading Director at Pepsico says the top 20 crisp lines in an average cash and carry depot account for over 24% of value sales and the bottom 200 contribute less than 0.5%, so staying focused on the majority pays dividends. Matt quotes a case study from wholesaler Hancocks’ flagship Loughborough store, where a 30% range reduction increased sales by 11% and cut waste by a staggering 48%. To make it easier for busy independent retailers and their wholesale suppliers to ensure they stock the right products, Pepsico put ‘bestseller’ flashes on cases of their top flavours.

In further evidence of long established favourites holding their own, ‘Choose It Or Lose It,’ PepsiCo’s recent lighthearted promotion, confirms that Walkers Crisps flavours Salt & Vinegar, Prawn Cocktail and Smoky Bacon, which have been around for decades, are comfortably seeing off the challenge from new varieties Lime & Black Pepper, Paprika and Bacon & Cheddar.

Given this split between showcasing established lines and highlighting new ones, the best way to merchandise new products in cash & carry depots is alongside bestsellers in their segment.

As a general rule single serve packs represent over 60% of crisp snack and nuts sales in wholesale. But with Christmas upon us, there is increased scope for offering sharing bags in secondary features, as well as featuring snacking favourites like Doritos and premium crisps like Walkers Sensations. For wholesalers looking to broaden their offer beyond the mainstream, Yorkshire Crisps’ gourmet Christmas snack range includes traditional favourites with a twist such as Chardonnay Wine Vinegar or Oyster, Chilli & Lemon.

In the growing premium popcorn segment, Metcalfe’s skinny popcorn has won the ‘Best Sugar Reduction Through Reformulation’ category at the recent Sugar Reduction Awards for successfully redeveloping its top selling Sweet n’ Salt variant and removing almost 25 tonnes of sugar a year from purchasers’ diets.

Looking at other snacking options we hear about Pollen + Grace’s vegan food to go snack pots, I Love Snacks’ healthy fruit and vegetable snacks and Brindisa’s healthier snacking choices from Spain.

Finally with New Year resolutions round the corner, research experts Mintel strike a note of caution, quoting consumers who cut back on snacks as an easy way to reduce their calorie intake and feel they are taking action on health. Among these consumers demand is growing for products that help with portion control, through smaller snacks or smaller-sized packs, helping them pace themselves when snacking.