Trade must broaden snacks horizons

Extending range beyond pub favourites key to boosting sales, producers say

OPERATORS must look beyond traditional pub favourites if they are to maximise sales of snacks.


That’s the advice from two of the UK’s biggest snacks firms, who urged licensees to broaden the range of crisps and nuts they stock – and the way in which the snacks are promoted at the bar. Walkers’ parent company PepsiCo and UBUK, whose crisp brands include McCoy’s, both stressed the importance of stocking traditional pub favourites. But they also advised operators to regularly review and tweak the snacks they carry.
“Snacking is an area that many publicans struggle to maximise,” said Nick Stuart, commercial manager at UBUK, which also counts KP Nuts, Hula Hoops, Mini Cheddars and Wheat Crunchies among its portfolio.
“Stocking snack lines that provide big margins, but aren’t necessarily popular, not getting their display right, and not communicating their snacks offering properly are just some areas that are routinely mismanaged. A range should include a selection of firm favourites as well as a couple of limited edition flavours or latest NPD (new product development) to trial. These will add excitement to the offering and keep the range fresh for regular customers.”
Tom Durance, licensed and leisure customer business manager at PepsiCo, said operators should tailor their snacks range to suit the type of outlet they operate. “In addition to stocking the core Walkers flavours, licensees must constantly review their snacks range ensuring that they are offering regional favourites and catering for their customers,” he said. “For example, when stocking up a family pub, Quavers and Monster Munch are a must stock over more premium snacks, while niche gastro pubs should be looking to stock products like Red Sky.”
Premium bagged snacks are performing particularly well, according to Stuart at UBUK. “This growth is partially due to the growing premium trend, as consumers continue to demand more exotic tastes and flavours,” he said. “This segment now commands a 25% share of the entire bagged snacks category.”
Acknowledging that space on the back-bar is at a premium, Durance said creating an eye-catching display is crucial to boosting sales. “The visibility of the crisps and snacks offering behind the bar is key,” he said. “Considering the impulsive nature of the category, it’s no good having crisps and snacks hidden away under the bar. Aim for having your crisps and snacks visible at 6ft intervals along the bar and also right by the till.”
Stuart also stressed the importance of visibility. Claiming 30% of pub snack sales are unplanned, he said it’s crucial consumers can see what snacks are available from the bar. He advised operators to promote their snacks range using clip strips, wicker baskets or pub cards.
“Ensuring customers are aware of a pub’s full range of snacks is integral for a publican to achieve those incremental sales,” added Stuart.
“This is particularly relevant when it comes to limited edition flavours. Customers tend to ask for what they know but will often trade up to something different if it is pointed out to them.”