Walkers’ premium crisp brand Red Sky has lost nearly all its supermarket listings.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all stopped selling Red Sky crisps over the past six months, while Waitrose has delisted four products, taking the number of Red Sky lines it sells to just three.
Red Sky was launched in 2009 as a standalone brand with no Walkers branding. Aimed at the premium end of the market, the crisps went on sale at a higher rrp point than even market leader Kettle Chips - despite the fact that it was not a hand-cooked crisp.
But while Red Sky quickly established excellent levels of distribution, sales of the crisps were disappointing, said industry insiders.
“It’s the only real cock-up that Walkers have made,” said one insider. “They thought they could take a normal crisp, put it in a nice bag, take out all reference to Walkers and sell it at a premium. But you can’t fool consumers that easily. If it wasn’t a Walkers brand, Red Sky would have been out much earlier.”
Another source said: “Walkers tried to create a niche-looking crisp brand, but consumers saw through the fact it didn’t have the heritage or quality of alternative products like Kettle Chips, Tyrrells and Burt’s Chips.”
The delistings have eaten into sales of Red Sky. Over the past year, the brand’s sales have slumped 56.5% to £3.1m [Nielsen 52 w/e 7 September], while the total bagged snacks market is up 5.3%.
Walkers declined to comment on the brand’s performance.