Kepak and Tesco claim big snack aisle success with HQT

Some 250 Tesco Extra stores are grouping HQT products

Kepak Convenience Foods has joined forces with Tesco to re-merchandise the ‘big snacks’ category in an initiative it said could more than double sales to £1bn.

The maker of Rustlers, Feasters and Zugo’s claimed initial trials, in which microwave snacks, chilled soups, convenience pastries and hot pots had been merchandised as one ‘hot, quick and tasty’ (HQT) snacking category, had yielded up to a 30% increase in overall sales.

“It is a fundamental overhaul of how retailers approach the ranging and merchandising of the ever-expanding area of chilled products eaten as hot snacks and quick meals,” marketing director John Armstrong said.

“Although HQT products are not signposted as such, the initiative has resulted in the products involved being given increased shelf space, which has resulted in a significant sales uplift.”

Combined with the “right innovation and support”, the HQT market could grow from an estimated £459m [IRI April 2013] to £1bn in 10 years, predicted Armstrong.

The concept has now been rolled out in 250 Tesco Extra stores and Kepak was working with other retailers including Irish chain Henderson Group to introduce the initiative across stores and convenience fascias this year, he said.

Innocent has backed the concept. Commercial controller of food Paul Brown said merchandising brands with similar health, taste and convenience credentials together would “help with shopper missions” and grow the category.

“Improved adjacencies based on how the shopper is thinking in-store are going to aid all products within fresh convenient meals,” he said.

Kepak said the initiative would capitalise on the rise of single meal occasions within larger households, changing consumer eating patterns and growing demand for ‘real food’ snacks.