Will Carter, marketing director of KP Foods, gives his views on the sector

The UK market for crisps and snacks is one of the biggest in volume and highest in per capita consumption outside North America, worth 1.7bn this year.

Growth slowed but continued even through the recession. Per capita consumption runs at 4.2kgs, nearly 200 packs a year, and there is a huge amount of choice in both brands and flav-ours, probably more than in any other national market in terms of flavour/texture combinations.

The main growth over the past 20 years has been in snacks, and, within crisps, in premium and differentiated crisps.

The majority of consumers buy from a repertoire of favourite brands. The wider penetration among women that the research shows can be explained by them buying brands for the family and dipping in and out for their own consumption, whereas men tend to buy specifically for themselves.

Visibility is a key factor; manufacturers use a variety of different means to achieve it. Advertising is crucial, both in terms of creative execution and media weight. Sub-group targeting has evolved quite significantly with a greater pro- pensity to use other media as well as TV for specific jobs, but because of the large volume driven at point of purchase, pack format and graphics, and merchandising support are also critical.

The fixture is very noisy, and crowded with on-pack offers. To make a brand promotion stand out you have to observe three golden rules: real scale, including TV advertising support for promotions; simplicity; and genuine value.

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