US crisp brand readies play for UK market

Popchips, a US all-natural crisp brand, is marking its UK launch with a raft of marketing activity to get a foothold in the £3.18bn snack market as it looks to drive awareness among young health-conscious consumers.

Popchips

The brand will position as a nutritious alternative to most snack brands because it contains no artificial flavours or colours and fewer than 100 calories in a single serving bag.

Popchips launched in 300 Waitrose stores last month and is rolling out now to other retailers including Selfridges, Ocado, WHSmith, Wholefoods Market and Amazon.

The launch marks the first expansion for the brand outside of the US, where it was founded in 2007.

It will compete with healthier snacks such as PepsiCo-owned Snack-a-Jack’s.

Popchips will focus the majority of its marketing around sampling activity at its retail partners as well as at events such as music festivals this year.

The brand has also partnered with mobile gaming network Kiip to reward players with gift vouchers, tickets to music gigs and a year’s supply of Popchips.
Additional activity will include an outdoor campaign across London alongside a series of promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Brian Pope, senior vice president of marketing at Popchips says the strategy is about promoting the brand as a healthier alternative to fried or baked crisps.

He says: “We don’t do much traditional advertising. Our marketing strategy is focused on engaging consumers one snacker at a time, whether that is through sampling activity, on social networks or through strategic tie-ups with other companies.

“In North America we have a decentralised approach to marketing where we have teams for different cities that that allow us to identify local events, such as sports games and gigs where we can get people to taste the product. We’re going to be doing this in the UK, starting with London first”, Pope adds.

Popchips was the fastest growing crisp brand in 2011, according to Nielsen, and is expected to record $100m (£62.3m) in sales this year.

Overall, the salty snack market in the UK reached an estimated £3.18bn last year, up 6% from 2010, according to Mintel.

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