BrandTrack: Snacks that pack punch

This month BrandTrack examines the market for crisps and snacks. With a wide diversity of traditional and novelty products, brands need to grab consumers’ attention by using both on-shelf promotions and highly visible advertising

Brands bought

Buyers named 42 brands of crisps and savoury snacks, including own-labels, which they had bought during April 1995. Thirteen had been bought by four per cent or more of the sample, making this a market with a high multiple brand purchase.

Brands dominate the market: only two of the top 13 products were supermarkets’ own-label. This reflects the importance of CTN and other non-supermarket retail outlets; most of the own-label penetration was contributed by older women, who are more frequent grocery shoppers, and also possibly less influenced by brand appeals in this sector.

Women are more likely to have wider brand repertoires than men. Penetration was higher among female buyers for all the top brands except Monster Munch and McCoys.

Walkers Crisps heads the purchase table; nearly two-thirds of buyers claimed to have purchased them in April. The brand is skewed slightly downmarket and towards the under 25s, but maintains dominance in all regions except Scotland, where it is overtaken by Golden Wonder.

Advertising recall

This is a lively market for advertising; nearly three-quarters of buyers nominated one or more brands’ advertising, bringing the total recall to 23 named brands. Nine brands were recalled by five per cent or more of buyers, although judging from the April spend, this is the result of cumulative rather than actual activity.

Men are more likely to remember advertising than women, both as a whole and for most of the individual brands; the exceptions being Hula Hoops and Skips. In general, spontaneous advertising recall is nearly double among the 18 to 24-year-olds compared to the 25 to 30s; there is also a slight bias downmarket.

More than three times as many buyers remembered Walkers’ ads than any other advertising, although this is hardly surprising given the comparative scale of the brand’s expenditure.

Reasons for purchase

Habitual purchase is the strongest motivation for buying, although the high penetration incidence indicates repertoire repetition rather than strict brand loyalty. There is little variation between the top six brands on this dimension, all scoring above 80 per cent.

Typically for an indulgence market, impulse is a key factor, with people choosing between their favourite brands at the time of purchase. Thirty nine per cent of buyers had bought a brand because it “caught their eye in the shop”, rising to 47 per cent and 59 per cent respectively among Golden Wonder and Hula Hoop buyers.

Although many “impulse” decisions are based on individual whim, they are

also swayed by marketing activity, in particular on-pack offers. Hula Hoops buyers, scoring high for impulse purchase, were also 40 per cent more likely than

average to have bought because of an on-pack offer.

In general, women are more susceptible to these offers,

and also to comparative cheapness; these factors are also stronger among the older age group.

Experimentation was acknowledged by a quarter of buyers in the period, although novelty seems to be represented more by flavour innovation than product or brand launches. Men are twice as likely as women to choose a brand for this reason.

Media expenditure

Twenty eight brands were recorded by Register-MEAL as advertising during the year to April 1995. Of these, 11 spent more than 1m, and another seven more than 250,000. The total category expenditure came to nearly 30m.

Walkers-Smiths own the four top advertising brands, accounting for 47 per cent total expenditure. KP contributed 28 per cent, supporting McCoys, Roysters, Skips, Phileas Fogg and Hula Hoops. Golden Wonder, Jacobs Twiglets, and Pringles spent five and seven per cent of the market spend.

TV is the most important medium, taking 96 per cent of expenditure on an annual basis. Press accounts for most of the remaining spend, mainly split between three advertisers: Phileas Fogg, Paxo Croutons and Walkers.

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