Crisps and bagged snacks have always been a popular choice with children of all ages, but parents are less keen to feed their offspring these products.
As such, the children’s snacks market needs very focused new product development, with an emphasis on taste to appeal to kids but also on health to appeal to mums.
Heidi Jackson, trading manager at Musgrave Budgens-Londis, says: “Generally, children’s snacks is quite a tough market. Multipacks are always heavily traded with masses of promotions and, overall, this is not good for the category. There has been very little innovation and that is exactly what the market needs.”
Spotting the gap in the market for healthier crisps options for the younger ones, Walkers successfully added to PepsiCo’s portfolio of healthier snacks with the launch of Potato Heads at the
beginning of the year. Launched specifically for kids, but with the potential to appeal to a wider audience, the crinkly crunchy crisps contain no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours. They are cooked in sunflower oil and have 70% less saturated fat than Walkers’ standard crisps.
"Everyone welcomed Potato Heads. They are new, they are well supported
and the product fits the health bill,” says Jackson. According to PepsiCo, it is a £30m brand based on 12-week sales.
“The ready salted and cheese and onion flavours are already in the top 25 best-selling snack brands in impulse, while in the grocery channel sales of the assorted six-packs have equalled those of Walkers 24-pack - the best-selling line in the category,” says PepsiCo trade marketing manager Nicky Seal.
To build further on the success of the brand, Walkers added a prawn cocktail flavour to the range in March.
Judging by the popularity of Potato Heads, the children’s market offers great opportunity to provide healthier options as parents, in particular, become more aware of the foods they and their children eat.
To bag a slice of kids’ snacking repertoire, Union Snack has just introduced a multipack of pretzels into its Penn State range, which contains less than 10% fat.
“We hope this will become a favourite with women and children. Children are a huge potential market for pretzels as parents are looking for more nutritious products to put into their children’s lunchboxes,” says sales and marketing director John Vincent.
Elsewhere, Burts Chips has launched a range of new flavours, which contain no salt, aimed at children and developed to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital children’s charity.
“It has taken months of hard work to create this new range of flavours. Children will always want to eat crisps and now parents can be confident that they are giving their children chips that have no added salt and are full of natural flavour,” says owner Jonty White. He predicts kids healthy options to be a major growth area for the market as a whole.