Ireland is a crisp and snack loving nation, with recent research conducted by Nielsen Ireland showing that sales in the category spiked last year. Donna Ahern reports
One of the largest categories in grocery retail, crisps and snacks sales have surged during the lockdown. Savoury snacks, in particular, profited in 2020 from the COVID-19 crisis, with sales experiencing a substantial increase over the last year.
And shoppers are continuing to treat themselves at home.
Research conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Checkout showed that the crisps and snacks market has grown by 14% in Ireland in the latest 52 weeks to 28 February, 2021 and is now worth €410 million compared to the same period the previous year.
The Nielsen research shows that crisps (potato chips) account for 35% of the market, nuts account for 21%, tubes for 8% and popcorn for 7%. When it comes to retail channels, value sales for discounters grew by 19% during the period.
Which Crisp Is Most Missed?
The ‘Diaspora Decides’ study, undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Checkout magazine, is a further reflection of Ireland’s love affair with crisps and snacks.
The results of the sixth annual study, which were published in Checkout last December, showed that Tayto crisps was the most missed food by Irish ex-pats when Irish food brand nostalgia sets in. Almost one in four shoppers mentioned Tayto as the brand they missed most when they lived outside Ireland.
Consistent and innovative activations, including NPD, limited-edition flavours, and wide-reaching TV and outdoor campaigns, keep Tayto relevant and front of mind with consumers. The number one crisp and snacks brand, Tayto has consistently remained in the top 10 of Checkout’s Top 100 Brands.
However, in Checkout’s Top 100 Brands 2020, Tayto moved into our top five to claim the third-place spot, having ranked sixth in 2019.
The Crisps, Snacks and Tubes category ranked in sixth place in Checkout’s Top 100 Categories 2020. Tayto held firm in the top slot, followed by Pringles, Hunky Dorys, Walkers and Doritos. In fact, Doritos, which is an iconic global brand and Ireland’s number-one tortilla chip, posted double-digit growth during the lockdown, as the nation gorged on its favourite tortilla snack.
PepsiCo Inc beat market expectations for quarterly revenue on 16 April, helped by homebound consumers adding more salty chips to their pantries.
According to the group, consumers have been stocking up on snacks as they work from home, even as some restaurants, theatres and malls partially re-open against the backdrop of speedy vaccinations.
Sales of snacks under the company's Frito-Lay North America unit rose by 4%.
Net revenue rose by 6.8% to $14.82 billion in the first quarter ended 20 March, above analysts' average estimate of $14.55 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Net income attributable to the company rose to $1.71 billion, from $1.34 billion a year earlier.
Rare Profit Drop
Kellogg Co posted a rare profit miss in February 2021 and forecast a decline in organic revenue growth for 2021, as demand for its breakfast cereals and snacks falls from the strong levels seen during last year's lockdowns.
People who had resorted to eating at home during the height of the pandemic have cut purchases of frozen foods and ready-to-eat snacks and returned to ordering in.
While demand for packaged foods has stayed elevated into the current quarter, it is below the levels seen during the panic-buying stage.
Additionally, higher costs have been weighing on packaged food companies. Breakfast cereal maker Kellogg earned 85 cents per share, below estimates of 89 cents, hurt by higher spending on advertising and promotions, as well as Covid-related costs.
Antrim-based manufacturing firm, Golden Popcorn announced in February this year that it had won a contract with Aldi in the Republic of Ireland estimated to be worth £500,000 (€572,630).
The contract was secured following financial and business development support from Invest Northern Ireland and will see Golden Popcorn produce its healthy crisps for Aldi Ireland’s Snackrite brand, which will be on the shelves of over 147 Aldi Ireland stores.
“The snack industry has changed dramatically over the last five years as consumers look for healthier alternatives to standard snacks," said Sean McClinton, managing director of Golden Popcorn. “Healthier snacking doesn’t have to be boring and Aldi Ireland’s Satin Crunch crisps, which will be produced by us, certainly fit the bill,” he said.
McClinton said that the Republic of Ireland is the company's “main market. Invest NI’s business development support has been invaluable in helping us to build relationships with high profile supermarket chains such as Aldi Ireland.”
Welcoming Golden Popcorn’s latest news, John Hood, Invest NI’s director of food and drink said, “Golden Popcorn is a highly ambitious SME which is using innovation, new product development and exports to ensure the future sustainability of its business.
"This is a winning strategy, which is earning the company a strong reputation in the snack industry and paying dividends in the Republic of Ireland market.”
Crisps and snacks is a category that is associated with social and fun occasions.
This means, of course, that there is a lot of growth potential in terms of sharing packs and multi-pack offers for retailers and manufacturers to capitalise on ahead of the home entertaining, BBQ, and picnic season.
In addition, there is a big opportunity to upsell when it comes to the dips to accompany crisps and snacks, but in-store positioning of these items is crucial if retailers are to successfully encourage the shopper to add a few extra bits to their baskets.
Crisps inherent flexibility also means that they are often the on-the-go ‘go-to’ snack for impulsive shoppers, whether it is for an elevenses break or as a lunchtime pick-me-up, so the visibility of new brands or offers close to the point of purchase is key.