Pork scratchings are older than you might think, dating back to the Black Country in the 1800s. With many families keeping a few pigs for their meat, they wanted to use every part of the animal and so fried up the skin as a treat. The Mr Porky brand got in on the act in 1960, which means it is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. Brand owner Tayto will introduce new products and formats to drive the category and is investing in the brand’s biggest ever consumer and trade support plan. Matt Smith, Marketing Director at Tayto, told Wholesale Manager about the company’s plans for the brand.

What does your role as Group Marketing Director involve on a day to day basis?

Working with a wonderfully dedicated team across the business and beyond, to grow our brilliant British brands that many of us have grown up with, including Golden Wonder and Mr Porky. What I really love is the diversity as there is no ‘typical’ week. I can go from deep-diving into consumer insights through reviewing new products and design concepts to working with the sales team to ensure that we have the right products, in the right channels, with the right marketing activation. Best of all – we bring a smile to consumers’ faces as everyone loves snacks!

How big is the crisps and snacks market and is it in growth?

It’s a mature, £3bn market in steady growth (currently 2.6% YoY) with broad appeal as almost every household buys into the category. The performance of different segments within the category varies somewhat with flat crisps being flat YoY (no pun intended!) and pork snacks being the fastest growing segment (+7.1% YoY) which is great for us as market leaders in pork snacks.

[Source: IRI Market Place | Total GB | Total Crisps, Snacks & Popcorn | Value | MAT to 17 May 20. IRI, a retail and FMCG market intelligence company www.iriworldwide.com]

What are the biggest trends driving the market?

Whilst there are undoubtedly some significant short-term impacts driven by Covid-19, the long term drivers remain Taste, Value, and increasingly, Health. Snacks are treats and therefore taste is king! The brands and products that deliver great taste will always win out, even as health becomes more important – snacks have to be ‘worth the calories’. Value has always been important, and will become more so in the coming months, so brands that can deliver great taste and value will be successful as we seek out comforting treats. A great example of this is our Golden Wonder Ringos brand which is growing strongly (+37% YoY) by delivering a fully-flavoured snack from 59 calories per pack.

[Source: IRI Market Place | Total GB | Total Snacks | Value | MAT to 17 May 20. IRI, a retail and FMCG market intelligence company www.iriworldwide.com]

What share does Mr. Porky’s have of the pork scratchings market?

Mr Porky is the No1 brand in pork snacks with a 44.4% share and is growing at 5.1% YoY. Tayto Group actually owns all of the top three brands in pork snacking with Real Pork Co – which attracts a younger audience – and Midland Snacks – which includes our best-selling pubcard, as well as being the leading brand in Symbols & Independents.

[Source: IRI Market Place | Total GB | Total Pork Snacks | Value | MAT to 17 May 20. IRI, a retail and FMCG market intelligence company www.iriworldwide.com]

Pork scratchings are often associated with pubs, which have been closed during the lockdown. So how has the Mr. Porky’s brand been performing?

Clearly lockdown had a huge impact on our sales into the licensed sector but we are now seeing really strong demand as it re-opens and people start heading down to the pub for a pint and a bag of scratchings – the ultimate pub snack! Whilst scratchings are inextricably linked to pubs (as that’s where many of us first experienced them), we sell more scratchings in shops than pubs and we have seen increased sales in this channel during lockdown as consumers look to ‘take that pub taste home’.

How are you supporting Mr. Porky’s this year?

Mr Porky is 60 this year and we are refreshing the brand, introducing new products and formats to drive the category, as well as investing in the biggest consumer and trade support plan ever. The packaging refresh ensures that this uniquely British brand appeals as much to younger consumers coming into the category, as it does to our loyal, life-long fans. We will be advertising the new range across multiple channels to share the love for proper pork scratchings.

We see a massive opportunity for growth in Convenience, where less than a third of stores that sell snacks actually stock one of our brands. We’ve just completed two years of extensive research and a key insight was that consumers talk about their convenience store as ‘the offie’. To make the most of this mind-set, we have ensured that our best-selling products are available as both a small case, ready to go on shelf alongside nuts, and as clipstrips, to hang next to BWS to capture incremental impulse sales – as 83% of pork snacks are consumed with a drink*. These new formats provide convenience stores with the opportunity to maximise their sales and profits. We know that if pork scratchings are not available, 19% will not switch to a different product**. So not stocking these key best-sellers can lead to lost sales – and profits as pork snacks are VAT free!

[Source: * Norstat | Online panel | 4,009 pork snacks occasions | 83.1% consumed with a drink | Jan 20 ** Norstat | Online panel | 4,009 pork snacks occasions | Shoppers in Supermarkets, Convenience, P&T, Discount stores | Jan 20)

What other marketing support do you have coming up for your brands?

As the category leaders in pork snacks, we recognise the need to drive growth for our customers and so are investing more than ever in our brands. Our new Mr Porky, Midland Snacks and Real Pork Co. ranges are rolling out in the next couple of months and we are supporting them through a range of trade and consumer activities with a focus on digital marketing given the increased amount of time we are all spending online. Specifically, for the on-trade, we have a full range of POS to maximise visibility and help drive those all-important incremental sales.

Is there any NPD in the pipeline?

We are introducing a new, premium product – Mr Porky Hand Cooked Scratchings – which is our ultimate scratching and has been awarded a Great Taste 2 star. This pack had the highest purchase intent of any pack in consumer research and promises to become a top seller.

How has the crisps and snacks market been affected by the Covid-19 crisis?

In retail the category has grown (albeit not to the same level as BWS) during lockdown with shoppers moving into larger packs. Convenience has seen particularly strong sales as people look to shop more locally in stores where it is easy to get in and out without queuing. As a business, we’ve seen really strong demand and are pulling out all the stops to keep up! The on-trade has clearly been a different story, but even here we are seeing green shoots with high demand for pubcards with venues re-stocking as the sector reopens.

How do you think the market will look in the months ahead as the country moves out of lockdown?

Many of the changes driven by lockdown will remain – the shift towards online sales, consumers looking for snacks that deliver taste and value, and retail benefiting from fewer people snacking out of home or on-the-go. Convenience retailers have a unique opportunity to retain the increased trade that has come through lockdown by demonstrating that they have the right range at the right price. Also, by delivering great service they can re-connect with their local communities.

The on-trade can rebuild its business revenues by focusing on encouraging a snack sale with every drink to maximise the revenue per customer during the inevitable period of less footfall.

What will not change is that Britain will continue to be a nation who snacks and Tayto will be there to provide great taste and value through our much-loved brands, as well as supporting our customers with great deals.

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