Walkers is to tackle the health lobby head on next year with a series of initiatives aimed at dampening the argument over child obesity.
The snacking giant believes a lot of the criticism levelled at manufacturers so far has been unfair. And it vowed it would introduce its own action plan to avoid being put “on the back foot” by lobbyists.
Although Walkers declined to
elaborate at this stage, a number of options would be available including putting more nutrition information on pack. A scheme encouraging youngsters to drag themselves away from the TV would be another clear opportunity. Trade marketing director Andy Thompson said: “An announcement will be made shortly. But we do not believe there is junk food, which is what is being portrayed in the media, just junk diets. Crisps and snacks only account for about 3% of calorific intake so it is not a big contributor (to obesity). However, we are going to tackle this issue seriously in 2004.”
Meanwhile, the company gave a clear indication that it will concentrate on its £510m core range [Information Resources 52 w/e October 4, 2003] as it announced plans to unleash a £10m round of backing in the first quarter of next year, the company’s most intense publicity blitz ever.
The money has been earmarked to support a new, brighter on-pack logo (pictured), new packaging, additional pack variations and the introduction of improved Cheese & Onion and Beef & Onion flavours.
Just under a third of the spend will go on a new television commercial starring brand ambassador Gary Lineker and “friends”.
Simon Mowbray