As one well-known crisp manufacturer proudly announces a deal to sell its products through 1350 Tesco stores, so another restates its determination never to sell through any of the major supermarkets.
Lincolnshire-based Pipers Crisps sells their award-winning, gourmet crisps only through discerning, independent retailers such as specialist food outlets, farm shops, delicatessens and quality pubs – a strategy that has brought the company substantial growth since it started seven years ago.
Alex Albone, Managing Director, explains why Pipers is so intent on avoiding the supermarkets whilst supporting the independent sector: “We’re supplying premium products that allow our resellers to offer consumers a point of difference at a reasonable margin. If we sold widely to the larger supermarket chains this point of difference would no longer exist because the product would become ubiquitous. Also it’s highly likely that the resellers’ margin would suffer because they would be in direct price competition with the supermarkets. We’re not going to let that happen to our resellers – they’ve put us where we are today and we’ll continue to support them,” he adds.
Pipers Crisps has already announced record sales this year and Albone is understandably very proud of how far the company has progressed in such a short time. “We started in 2004 with two employees, making crisps in batches twice a week and delivering them by van to local outlets. We’re now employing 37 local people and moving to 24-hour production to keep pace with the demand for our crisps from all around the world,” he says
Albone puts their success down to slowly changing consumer attitudes. “I think we’re meeting the need that is increasingly being felt, particularly during recessionary times, of going back to basics and seeking traditional values in our food consumption. Issues such as provenance, simplicity and ethicality are a great opportunity for smaller producers like Pipers who take more care to produce a superior product,” he adds.
Pipers Crisps are well-known for their great taste and, over the years, every flavour in the range has won a Great Taste Award, a respected, independent measure of taste, flavour and quality. Each flavour is sourced from a named, passionate producer whose story is told on the back of every packet.