Kepak Convenience Foods has announced a multi million pound investment to double sales in the convenience channel in the next three years.

The supplier of micro snacks has targeted annual sales in convenience of £66m by 2018.

The move follows the launch last year of Rustlers Super 6, a range of Rustlers top-selling SKUs all price-marked at £1.99, which, says Kepak, already accounts for more than 40% of all sales within the micro-snacking market of 60 SKUs.

In addition to TV advertising for the 14th successive year, NPD, a new look for Rustlers and major on-pack activity this year, Kepak is increasing the size of its convenience sales force and stepping-up its face-to-face contact with retailers.

Rustlers will benefit from a major overhaul this year, including the introduction of a refreshed logo and new packaging to reflect the brand’s growing male and female consumer base.

“Young lads can no longer make an exclusive claim on Rustlers,” said John Armstrong, Kepak’s marketing director.

“Rustlers has evolved and has attracted lots of new consumers, so much so that 40% of Rustlers consumers are female and the age profile of Rustlers’ consumers now stretches from 16 to 34-year-olds.

“This is really good news for forecourt retailers. With more consumers than ever before buying Rustlers, there’s never been a better time to stock the brand, particularly as we’re now embarking on an accelerated growth programme.”

Kepak is starting from a position of real strength as 23% of the company’s sales are in the convenience channel (excluding Co-ops and major mults) versus a grocery average of 7.7%.

“The even better news is that currently only one in four of our core target market buys micro snacks regularly, so the potential is huge. However, we must plug the distribution gaps and work with more retailers to show the sales uplift they can achieve by selling micro-snacks and merchandising them effectively.”

He added: “Micro snacks are already among the top-performing SKUs in the chiller cabinet, but there’s still an education job to be done.

“Our core target market of 16 to 34-year-olds are true convenience channel shoppers. They plan less, shop more frequently and are of course heavily into snacking, whether it’s young adults buying for themselves or parents buying for older children still living at home.”

Kepak will be using its flagship Rustlers brand to drive growth in convenience. The Hunger Monkey TV commercial will be back on national TV this autumn, once again delivering the ‘hunger satisfying’ message.

01772 688300