How one of last year's launches is faring...

Product: McCoy's Specials
Company: United Biscuits
Launch date: March 2005

United Biscuits set its sights high last year when it moved its McCoy's brand into premium territory. The launch of McCoy's Specials, took the brand head to head with Walkers Sensations and Kettle Chips.

So far the move looks like a wise one, with the premium range having clocked up sales worth £15.5m since it hit the shelves in March 2005.

And this has been achieved in a market showing very modest growth - the bagged snacks category grew a mere 0.8% year-on-year to £1.7bn as it continued to suffer from the nation's hunger for healthier snacking options.

The launch of McCoy's Specials came after UBUK identified a gap in the adult premium snacks market for a brand with a male bias. Made from specially selected potatoes and with premium flavours, the premium ridge-cut crisps are targeted at 25 to 34-year-old 'blokes' and their partners.

It is available in five flavours in a 160g sharing bag format and four flavours in a 50g handypack format.

When it comes to distribution, the snack has also done pretty well and is now available in 66% of all possible outlets. Just under 11% of ACNielsen's consumer panel have tried the product, with an impressive 33% of those deciding that it was moreish enough to return for a second purchase.

According to UBUK, the new range, which benefited from a £4m marketing support programme, has proven the most successful sharing launch in the UK in the past three years. McCoy's marketing manager Lisa Wakely said: "McCoy's Specials has been a fantastic success story. Since it hit shelves, it has added £2.3m incremental sales to the bagged snacks category. On top of this, it is already a top five branded player in the adult premium sharing market."

To further build on the sales momentum, UBUK introduced McCoy's Specials Tortillas in February 2006.
"We believe the tortillas will inject real excitement as well as bring new consumers into the category," said Wakely.

Data: ACNielsen 4 w/e or MAT to February 25, 2006.