Walkers launches into low-fat crisps market

Snack food giant Walkers is launching its first low-fat crisps, Walkers Lites, backed by a multimillion pound campaign.

The PepsiCo-owned company, which dominates the crisps market with a value share of almost 60 per cent, will unveil three flavours – ready salted, salt and vinegar and cheese and onion – and use heavyweight TV advertising to give the range mainstream appeal. They will appear on the shelves next year.

Trade insiders tip Walkers’ latest brand spokeswoman Sharron Davies, who has so far appeared alongside Gary Lineker in a Walkers ad for the Champion Cheques promotion, to feature in advertising for the new crisps. The new campaign will be launched through Walker’s roster agency, BMP DDB.

According to one source: “The company will be looking at a more feminine marketing philosophy – to appeal to health-conscious female consumers. But the crisps will be targeted at men too.”

Other crisp manufacturers have already launched low-fat products and Walkers is late into the market. Golden Wonder has a variant called Golden Lights, the brand leader in that market, while United Biscuits is understood to make low-fat crisps for retailers such as Marks & Spencer, and has a low-fat range called Solos under the KP brand. UB used its technical knowledge in this area in the launch of low-fat salty snacks under the McVitie’s Go Ahead! brand.

Walkers has a 58.3 per cent value share of the traditional crisps market, followed by own label with 22.5 per cent, 7.9 per cent for Golden Wonder and 4.7 per cent for KP Crisps (IRI InfoScan May 1996).

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