>>A brand that’s stood the test of time

walkers crisps
Launch date:
circa 1950
Since Walkers Crisps was first developed, the brand has become a national institution and it continues to be the nation’s favourite bagged snack brand.
Valued at almost £380m, the old favourite accounts for a crisp 24% of the total £1.6bn bagged snacks category.
The brand owes its origins to the meat trade and came about as Leicester pork butcher Henry Walker was worried about meat rationing during and after the Second World War. His factory was working at half capacity, so the company’s MD came up with the idea of producing potato crisps.
And so the first Walkers production line burst into action in the empty upper storey of the butcher’s Oxford Street factory in Leicester.
From this humble start, the extended crisps brand is now available in 96% of all possible outlets with an impressive 72% of ACNielsen’s consumer panel having bought the line. More than 84% of those have returned for a second purchase.
Walkers crisps have proven particularly popular in larger households and the brand has a high profile in the central, north east and Yorkshire regions of the UK, although the buyer index is less favourable in the south west of the country.
In more recent years, the brand has benefited from hiring Gary Lineker as its ambassador. With his good guy image, the football commentator and former player has done his bit to keep the brand in the public eye - donning humorous disguises such as a nun, a punk rocker and a menacing devil.
However, despite the popularity of the brand it has struggled to maintain positive sales figures and was down 7.1% last year as it suffered from the nation’s quest for better-for-you options. To this end, the crisps have now been relaunched with improved health credentials.
n Data: ACNielsen 4 w/e or MAT to December 25, 2005.