Me and My Brand: Matt Smith of Tayto

Matt Smith, Marketing Director for Tayto Group UK, tells Asian Trader all about the growing market for pork snacks and why it’s the start of a golden age for Golden Wonder

Matt Smith

Can you please give an overview of your brand?

Tayto Group is the largest family-owned snack business in the UK. Our portfolio ranges from the legendary Golden Wonder brand – still delivering its trademark taste and value after more than 70 years – to our pork snacks, where we own the top three brands: Mr Porky, Real Pork Co and Midland Snacks. This unique range is why we believe that we have ‘Snacking Sorted’.

How is the crisps market currently performing? How is your brand currently performing?

Crisps, Snacks and Popcorn is a mature £3bn market that is in good growth (+3.6% YoY), proving that we have remained an avid nation of snackers in a challenging year for everyone,with many of us reaching for a savoury snack to give us a lift. Given the impulse nature of the category, it is an important one for the Convenience sector and accounts for about 20% of sales.

As with most categories, Coronavirus has made its mark on savoury snacks as consumers have changed both what they buy and where they buy it. Pork snacks has been the star performer –  the fastest growing category (+10.1%). This is due in part to pub closures leading consumers to pick up scratchings in shops so that they can ‘take the pub taste home’. Mr Porky remains the No.1 brand with over 40% share.

Despite this growth, many independent retailers are missing out by not stocking pork scratchings as consumers frequently talk about buying their pork scratchings ‘at the offie’, by which they mean their local convenience store. They may be the ultimate pub snack but, more scratchings are sold in shops than in pubs, even before the pandemic.

£1 PMP Snacks are growing three times faster than the market and now account for 39% of Snacks with family favourites such as our Golden Wonder Ringos and Transform-A-Snack brands performing well. We’ve seen strong growth in our 30p/2 for 50p Fun Snacks range that includes Tangy Toms, Spicy Bikers, Awesome Oinks, Quarterbacks and Cheesy Snakes.

Do you have any new product development? How are you supporting your brand & NPD?

We are driving the category forward with our refreshed range of Great Taste award-winning products and have introduced new formats specifically designed for Convenience such as Mr Porky clipstrips. These are the perfect solution to capture profitable, VAT-free sales as they enable retailers to merchandise pork scratchings adjacent to BWS – a great way of picking upincremental sales without taking up precious shelf or floor space.

We are also supporting Mr Porky with the biggest ever campaign for pork scratchings with the strapline “There’s no matching a scratching”.

The campaign will include national radio coverage, as well as up-weighted regional activity in the Midlands (where sales of scratchings are particularly strong) across OOH, radio and digital. This activity will support our successful ongoing digital activity that is bringing more people into the Mr Porky brand and the wider category.

We’re also not forgetting Golden Wonder, especially in the all-important £1 PMP snacks segment. We expanded our range earlier this year with launch of Spicy Bikers – our best-selling ‘Fun Snack’ – with early sales exceeding our expectations. We continue to support the launch with an ongoing digital campaign including opportunities to win bikes and activities exclusively for independent retailers including money-off vouchers.

In April we are launching new flavours into the £1 ranges of two more of our successful brands – Sour Cream & Onion Ringos will tap into the double-digit growth of this flavour and we will be making our popular Cheese & Onion Transform-A-Snack also available as a £1 PMP.

How important are independent retailers to your brand?

Golden Wonder over-trades in the independent retail sector and so I would like to thank all of our stockists for supporting the brand over the years. Our focus remains on delivering the brand’s promise of ‘more punch per crunch’ along with great consumer value and we recognise the importance of providing strong trade margins. We understand the challenges of being an independent retailer and have a team dedicated to the sector with a bespoke promotional planincluding regular offers mailed directly to store owners.

What trends are occurring in the sector?

Coronavirus has accelerated the shift towards both £1 sharing packs and entry-level price-points – with both outperforming the market. Retailers need to ensure that they have strong offering for both.

Similarly, pub closures have helped pork snacks become the fastest growing category as people recreate a pub experience at home. By stocking pork scratchings alongside BWS, convenience retailers can continue to encourage this behaviour and profit from it even as people return to the pub.

The long-term trends however are unchanged – Taste, Value, and increasingly, Health. Value has always been important and never so much as now. A great example of this is Golden Wonder Ringos, which has seen phenomenal growth by delivering a fully flavoured snack with less than 100 calories per serving. Also, as we all look for tasty, comforting snacks, we expect pork scratchings to just keep on growing!

Describe your brand in three words…

Tayto – snacking sorted!