This year's biggest launches have been Walkers Baked, which ticked the health boxes, and McCoy's Tortillas, which re-invigorated the brand. Walkers standard crisps have done well after a major relaunch that had a surprisingly big impact, while the Kettle Chips range also performed well for us.
Deep price cuts and multisave promotions on large multipacks were the activities that stood out most, while availability issues from major suppliers due to 'production problems' were the big disappointment.
The World Cup and a hot July both had a positive effect on sales, particularly on sharing and multipacks, while pricing and promotions arrested decline in the category, especially in standard crisps. Promotional activity is becoming more focused and bespoke - it's a great time for the shopper because all the retailers fight to get more products into their baskets.
Health is probably the factor most likely to have the biggest effect in the future, along with producers having the ability to meet changing consumer needs and to create awareness.
There is a lot of innovation in the category. In fact, there is possibly too much - the failure rate of NPD is high.
I would like to see suppliers coming up with more instore merchandising initiatives. This would benefit the retailer through off-promotion sales.