And, despite increasing competition from categories such as cakes, biscuits and now cereals with the recent launch of Weetabix Crrrunch and Minibix in crisp style bags, bagged snacks continues to increase in value, by 2% this year. Walkers Crisps remain far and away the bestselling brand, not only remaining firmly at the top of the top of the snacking league, but also contributing the most value to the category by achieving the highest growth in value sales terms. The brand now accounts for a 27% value share of the category and over the last three years has continued to take market share from the retailers' own label brand crisps which have themselves seen 10% slump in value this year. Achieving exceptional growth this year were Squares (85%) which were relaunched by Walkers in March this year following the purchase of former rival Smiths in 1998. Walkers French Fries also continue to climb up the top 20 thanks to an impressive 15% increase in value sales to earn a 2% share of the category. Meanwhile, things have been pretty busy at KP, too, with Hula Hoops XL getting their launch in March this year. As an extension to the Hula Hoops brand these crisps are not only in bigger bags (50g as opposed to 34g) but also bigger sized hoops as well. These feature just inside the top 30 and were the third bestselling new product, achieving over £8m sales to date. The brand also got another extension in the shape of Hula Hoops Minis which were launched recently and aimed at those whose appetites are not so large. Both KP newcomers have performed well and contributed towards a 2% surge in sales for the overall Hula Hoops brand. Bugles from Golden Wonder were also launched this year, in March. Initially available only in Scotland and the north-east of England, Bugles come in three flavours ­ barbecue, salt and vinegar and cheese ­ and have gained sales of more than £1m already. They have also been supported by a nationwide round of promotional activity which has included £5m worth of television advertising. This has undoubtedly helped the new snack achieve over 92% distribution in the major multiples since their national launch just two months ago. Meanwhile, the trend for sharing bags continues to grow in popularity with Kettle Chips achieving more than 27% growth during the survey period. Doritos tortilla snacks have also grown significantly, by 10%, with new flavours Hint of Lime and Hint of Garlic getting debuts this year and backed by the Friendchips' television adverts. Flavour has also been a key feature of the past year, with the overall theme being distinctly spicy'. As a sub brand of McCoy's, Spice launched in June and is available in Chilli, Balti and Firecracker Chicken flavours. This has helped McCoy's achieve value growth of more than 26%. In September, Pringles added a curry flavour to its range, and Twiglets uniquely advertised its new curry flavour on take-away curry box lids throughout Scotland and the north of England. Mini Cheddars are now also available in Tangy Salsa and Smoky BBQ, with the brand now holding a 2% share of the category, while at the end of October, Walkers re-launched its Max crisps range which are currently just outside the top 20. The brand includes new flavours Chip Shop Curry and Chargrilled Steak and feature deeper ridges for more flavour', available in 55g bags. A £2.5m advertising campaign for the revamped snack hit the streets and airwaves at the beginning of December, featuring radio and outdoor adverts together with a large instore presence. Wotsits Wafflers, last year's star product, has continued to grow in popularity with sales increasing almost fourfold to over £6m since last year. The brand continues to expand with the limited launch of a new variant entitled Whopping Wotsits, a bigger version of the Wotsits snack. These launches have helped offset the decline of the original Wotsits cheesy snack, to stabilise the total Wotsits brand. Age-old favourite Monster Munch has achieved a 12% growth, boosted by a limited edition version of the pickled onion flavour which turns tongues blue when eaten. The novelty factor is an obvious attraction for children and adults alike. Last but not least, comes one of the most successful dual-branding products of the year. In a first-of-its-kind joint venture, Walkers teamed up with Heinz to re-launch its Tomato flavour crisps in July this year. These were turned into Heinz Tomato Ketchup flavour with the help of Gary Lineker and Olympic oarsman Sir Steve Redgrave in the advertising campaign. It will be interesting to see if this kind of partnership will become commonplace in the bagged snacks market. {{P&P }}