tags crisps

Tags Tasty Crisps has abandoned its goal of bagging national supermarket listings to focus on foodservice after its £125k Dragons’ Den investment fell through.

Former Seabrook Crisps MD John Tague won the backing of Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones for his new snack brand after his pitch last year. He agreed to give the pair a shared 30% stake in return for the cash and help with getting into Sainsbury’s. However, the deal hit stumbling blocks during due diligence.

“Dragons’ Den is a programme about real business, and all successful entrepreneurs enter into the normal period of rigorous due diligence with the Dragons,” a BBC spokeswoman said. “As is often the case in the real world, deals can fall through.” Tags owner John Tague added: “What I was committing to and what they were committing to were two different things. I wasn’t happy to progress with the contract.”

Tags is available in Tesco regionally across the North West, as well as in about 100 WH Smiths, but is no longer listed in Asda or B&M Bargains as Tague refocuses on coffee shop chains and hotels. He also has a deal with Virgin Trains.

“It’s a premium product, which doesn’t sit well on supermarket shelves in this category as you end up battling the commoditised prices your rivals are on and continuously selling at half price,” Tague said. “That is not the arena we want the brand in.”

Sales projections of about £800k in 2016 had now been revised down but margins had improved, Tague added.

“It is about building a sustainable long-term business and concentrating on the growing food-on-the-go market,” he said.

Tague is self-funding the business and has no plans to replace the £125k investment committed by the Dragons in the short term.