Snack manufacturers are crazy for clips with the ’big two’ Walkers and United Biscuits (UB) both investing in clip strips to help retailers maximise sales.

Walkers says that according to Shoppercentric research, impulse retailers can grow their crisps sales by as much as 30% by using its pre-filled, ready-to-sell clip strips for each of its four best-selling standard bag crisp flavours: salt & vinegar, ready salted, cheese & onion and prawn cocktail.

All four flavours are available in outers containing three ready-to-merchandise eight-bag strips. The company says these can be purchased in addition to the loose standard bag range to help drive incremental sales.

One of the reasons for the introduction of the strips is to boost distribution of the prawn cocktail flavour because apparently many independent retailers were unaware that prawn cocktail has the same rate of sale as salt & vinegar and is therefore a must-stock line.

Jon Kyle, impulse sales director at Walkers’ brand owner PepsiCo UK and Ireland, says: "By making a significant investment in new clip-strip technology, along with our dedicated field sales team which is calling on hundreds of stores, we aim to help independent retailers unlock the full sales potential of Walkers prawn cocktail and drive their crisp sales.

"By stocking up on clip strips and positioning them in key secondary siting locations such as the till point and soft drink chillers, and including the crisps as part of meal deals, retailers can maximise this opportunity and make it easier for shoppers buying standard bags to find their favourite flavours."

Over at UB, multi-strips have been introduced for KP Nuts. The new format comprises ready-to-display cards of three strips that can be broken up into individual strips of six-packs, offering retailers the opportunity to site nuts at various points in store. Original salted 80g, dry roasted 70g, jumbo spicy chilli 70g and jumbo salt & vinegar 70g variants are available in the strips, in £1 price-marked packs.

George Johnston, marketing director of bagged snacks at UB, says: "Our research has told us that if shoppers see nuts more often in store, they buy them more often. This presents retailers with a great opportunity to generate extra impulse sales by positioning the KP Nuts strip near complementary categories, such as alcohol and sandwiches. The packs come ready to display, are easy to replenish and are also available price-marked, which gives shoppers confidence about the value for money they offer."

Penn State, the UK’s best-selling American-style pretzel brand (IRI data) is available to forecourts in a clip strip of 30g bags. Plain salted and sour cream & chive (the brand’s most popular variety) are available in this format. Both are listed by WHS Travel and Moto.

Penn State brand owner Intersnack also offers retailers the Pom-Bear range of teddy-shaped snacks for children. For forecourts, Pom-Bear is available in a specially-designed ’Bear size bag’ a bigger 35g fill than standard individual Pom-Bear packs that’s designed for family sharing.

Upmarket brand, Kettle, offers retailers clip strips, grab towers and counter-top display units to house its crisps.

If you don’t already stock Kettle Chips you should seriously consider them. According to Nielsen, Kettle is the number one hand-cooked crisp brand, worth £89.5m, with 71% market share within the impulse sector. In addition the brand is out-performing the total crisps and snacks market in the UK with value sales over the past 12 months up by 10.1% (versus 5.5% for the total market). Within the impulse sector Kettle is also delivering significant growth ahead of the market with sales up by 9.7% year-on-year (versus 1.4% for total impulse crisps and snacks).

Kettle Foods reckons that by stocking its chips, you can capitalise on the trend towards better-quality snacking options.

It recommends forecourts stock a core range of: lightly salted; sea salt & balsamic vinegar; mature Cheddar & red onion; and sea salt with crushed black peppercorns.

The brand was recently relaunched with a new packaging design designed to reinforce its quality and premium credentials.

Improved flavour

Two more brands that have recently been relaunched are UB’s Skips and Nik Naks. Nik Naks has been given an improved flavour while the snacks themselves have grown to make them more satisfying to eat. There is also new packaging to help increase stand out on shelf, while the 30g handy packs will be available in a range of price-marked packs. In addition, the scampi ’n’ lemon flavour has been added to the multipack.

Skips too has new packaging which highlights the snack’s tongue-tingling taste and the fact that each pack contains just 82 calories.

Following research that revealed consumers would buy Skips more often if they were available in different flavours, UB has added a sizzling salt & vinegar variety to the six-pack.

UB’s Johnston says: "Nik Naks and Skips have delivered over £30m-worth of sales to retailers in the past year and the new pack designs will help to grow their sales further.

"Consumers have been campaigning passionately on social networks for new flavours and we’re delighted to be able to respond to this demand.

"Both brands are available in price-marked packs, which are increasingly a key sales tool for retailers as consumers continue to feel that they offer better value for money."

Top 10 crisps and snacks (singles)

1. Walkers crisps single 30-35g cheese & onion

2. Walkers Big Eat crisps single 50-55g cheese & onion

3. Walkers crisps single 30-35g ready salted

4. McCoys crisps single 40-50g flame grilled steak

5. Walkers Big Eat crisps single 50-55g ready salted

6. Walkers crisps single 30-35g salt & vinegar

7. Quavers Big Eat 34g cheese

8. McCoys crisps single 40-50g salt & malt vinegar

9. Mega Monster Munch single 40g roast beef

10. McCoys crisps single 40-50g cheddar & onion

Source: Nielsen Total Impulse