Simon Mowbray
Walkers has been running secret trials of a copycat Pringles offering, The Grocer has learned.
The snack giant is supplying batches of Stax to selected stores and is understood to be monitoring consumer reaction before deciding whether to press ahead with a full launch.
The brand, already on sale in the US, comes in three flavours - Ready Salted, Cheese & Onion and Sour Cream & Onion.
So far, it has been on sale in Tesco Extrra and Blockbuster stores in the London area on offer at 98p a tube. Each plastic pack features a bold blue and yellow livery and the normal list price is £1.28.
According to packs, the product is made in Mexico, although production would be
likely to switch to the UK if Walkers’ marketing chiefs decide to make it a permanent fixture.
The attraction to Walkers of launching a Pringles-style sharing product this side of the Atlantic would appear to be obvious. According to latest figures from ACNielsen, sales of Walkers’ standard range of crisps dipped by almost 2% in the year to October 4, although the brand remains far and away the market leader, with sales of £416m across all outlets.
However, in contrast, Procter & Gamble grew sales of Pringles by almost 2% over the same period to consolidate the brand’s position as Britain’s second favourite bagged snack.
Meanwhile, Walkers Sensations continues to rocket at the till - up more than 34% in the last year - to comfortably keep the brand’s position at number three in the sales chart.
One buyer said: “Walkers have been very secretive about Stax and taking on an established brand such as Pringles would certainly be a brave move.”
Bendicks aims to have Christmas wrapped up for Mingles with a new £1.5m TV and cinema campaign which hits screens on December 1. Predicted to reach more than 40 million viewers, the campaign opens on the big screen for six weeks and will be on television until December 23. The commercial, ‘New Neighbours’, portrays Mingles as the perfect social ice-breaker when Conran and Chantelle, a young footballer and his wife, pop round to visit their new neighbours.