Britain’s biggest crispmaker, Walkers, is aiming to take a bite out of the market for posh crisps by launching its own upmarket brand, Red Sky.
Four new premium 150g ‘sharing’ packs have gone on sale, with refined flavours such as roasted red peppers & lime, Anglesey sea salt, sour cream and green herbs and West Country bacon and cream cheese.
Walkers does not appear anywhere on the packaging, presumably because the Leicester-based company did not feel its best-selling brand struck a smart enough note with buyers.
Its entry shows the strength of premium “sharing” crisps – the kind served as nibbles when friends come round rather than scoffed with sandwiches at lunch.
According to market research company TNS, shoppers spent £368m on ‘sharing crisps’ in the 52 weeks to 25 January this year – up 8.7 per cent.
The market leaders are Pringles and Doritos (owned by Pepsico, which owns Walkers), but smaller “super-premium” brands have done well in recent years, among them Kettle, Burt’s, and Tyrrells.
Simon Quirk, TNS client manager, said: The average packet of crisps isn’t going to look good when you’ve got friends coming round. The flavours and packaging [of the premium crisps] are more exciting and they’re more appealing for that sharing occasion.”
More broadly, credit crunch shoppers are treating themselves to small indulgences. “Where people are cutting back they’re doing it on different tiers,” Mr Quirk said.
“They might be cutting back on their groceries and cutting back on going out to restaurants. But they have also moved from eating at a restaurant to staying at home so they’re happy to indulge themselves at home in the knowledge that it will still be cheaper than going out.”