The Smith's Snackfood Company

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The Smiths Snackfood Company
Proprietary company
Industry Snackfood
Founded
Founders
  • Frank Smith
  • Jim Viney
  • George Ensor
Headquarters Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Area served
Australia, United Kingdom
Products Snackfood Potato Chips
Owner PepsiCo
Parent PepsiCo.
Website www.smiths.com.au

The Smith's Snackfood Company is a British-Australian manufacturing company best known for its potato crisps. It is owned by the American multinational corporation, PepsiCo. The company produces and markets various snack foods.[1] Smith's Snackvend Stand is the branch of the company that operates vending machines.[2]

Smiths by country[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Smith's Potato Crisps Ltd. was formed by Frank Smith and Jim Viney in the United Kingdom after World War I. The firm started in Cricklewood, London, reputedly in Smith's garage. In 1927, after buying Jim Viney's share of the business, the company expanded into a factory in Brentford, London, which was enlarged in 1930. During the depression, Smith travelled to Australia to expand the business. The company nearly went under during this time and had to be propped back up by a small number of visitors and investors. The company bounced back and expanded its brands, aided with the help of advancing technology.[3] Smiths was later owned by biscuit company Nabisco, BSN and finally sold to American company PepsiCo in the 1990s. Subsequently, Pepsico withdrew the brand, in favour of popular British brand Walkers, which had been heavily marketed in a campaign using ex-footballer turned television presenter Gary Lineker. Many of the products previously owned by Smith's became labelled as Walkers, although there are still several Smith's branded crisps sold by Walkers, mainly ones sold at a budget price such as Snaps (originally sold by Walkers), Wafflers and Twisted.

Australia[edit]

After establishing the product and name in the UK, Frank Smith moved to Australia to set up the business there.[4] Smith's Crisps were first manufactured in Australia in 1931 with an associate, George Ensor, in leased premises in Sydney's Surry Hills. They were originally made in 20 gas fired cooking pots, then packed by hand and distributed by Nestle confectionery vans.[5]

Smith's Potato Crisps sold its early crisps in three penny packets, 24 to a tin. "Twist of salt" sachets were included before pre-salting had been introduced. In March 1932, Smith's Potato Crisps Ltd. went into voluntary liquidation as a result of the Great Depression. However, three months later, George Ensor tendered for the business put up for sale by the liquidators, and on 13 May 1932, Smith's Potato Crisps (Australia) was formed with the UK Smith's Company holding a majority interest over minor shareholders. Growth after World War II was rapid, so a continuous cooker process was introduced to replace the individual cooking pots and in 1960 the production of a one shilling pack for cinemas and a box pack for four shillings was initiated. In 1961, Smith's introduced its first flavoured crisp - chicken. It was a very popular flavour, influencing most competitors at the time to adopt a Chicken variation. Other flavours released were Original (Pre-Salted) and Salt & Vinegar. Later, in the 1970s, Barbecue was added as a flavour for Smiths crinkle cut crisps, and in the 1980s Cheese & Onion was added. These five flavours - Original Salted (blue packet), Salt & Vinegar (magenta packet), Chicken (green packet), Barbecue (orange packet) and Cheese & Onion (yellow packet) have remained the mainstay flavours of the brand since the 1980s. Many other 'limited edition' variants have also been tried over the years.

Seven years later, Associated Products and Distribution Pty Ltd (APD), partnered with PepsiCo beverages Ltd, which had built up a significant snack food company that sold chips and nuts and bought a 41.5% share of Smith's Potato Crisps (Australia)'s parent company. Over the next 20 years, other takeovers and new products (including Twisties and Burger Rings brands) drove growth. PepsiCo took over the company in 1998. In 1990, the APD name was replaced by CCA Snackfoods.

In 1998, the Smiths Snackfood company was Australia's largest producer of salty snack foods. It was acquired in August of that year, by Frito-Lay the second largest producer of salt snack foods in Australia, which is owned by PepsiCo. To prevent the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) from intervening for unfair trading practices Frito-Lay divested a range of brands, manufacturing facilities, including plants in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. The package was named Snack Brands Australia and was sold to Dollar Sweets Holdings. In that package included the brands sold were CC's, Cheezels, Thins and Samboy.

Despite Australians using the term "chips" for crisps, Smith's called their product crisps until as late as 2003. They are now labelled as Smith's Chips.[6] As of 2010-2011, portions contained in "large" bags of Smith's Snackfood products have diminished, down from 200g to 175g.[7]

Products[edit]

Current products[edit]

  • Burger Rings – hamburger-flavoured snack
  • Bacon Fries – similar to Frazzles, but smaller, crunchier and sold in a smaller pack
  • Cheese Flavoured Moments Cheese Moments – cheese flavoured triangles, with cheese powder center
  • Cheetos – cheese or flamin' hot flavour puffs
  • Chipsticks – salt and vinegar
  • Cool Pak popcorn
  • Doritoscorn chip
  • Frazzles – bacon flavour snack
  • Grain Waves – wholegrain chips
  • Maxx – multiple flavoured chips
  • Nobby's [8]nuts, peanuts and cashews
  • Parker'spretzels
  • Red Rock Deli – thick-sliced premium potato chips
  • Sakata – rice crackers
  • Salt 'n' Shake
  • Scampi Fries – scampi-and-lemon-flavoured cereal snack
  • Smith's Crinkles – The Original and the Best – crinkle-cut potato chips
  • Smith's Popped – air popped potato snacks
  • Smith's Selections – thinly sliced potato chips range in various flavours
  • Snaps - spicy tomato flavour potato puffs
  • Sunbites - wholegrain chips
  • Lay's Stax – competitor of Pringles
  • Toobs – tomato-flavoured
  • Twisted – flamin' hot flavour corn puffs
  • Twisties – cheese-flavoured snacks
  • Wafflers - bacon flavour waffles (previously Wotsits)

Previous products[edit]

  • Ruffles – Crinkle Cut potato chips
  • Chipsticks – Ready salted
  • French Fries – Small crisp potatoes straws similar in appearance and taste to french fries - now owned and manufactured by Snack Brands Australia
  • Thins – Thinly sliced potato chips - now owned and manufactured by Snack Brands Australia
  • Smiths Jackets – Manufactured during the mid-1980s, these were crisps where the potatoes had not been peeled, leaving potato skin around the edges. There was an advert which featured dancing potatoes singing "We want to be jackets" in falsetto voices, and the slogan "So good, every potato wants to be one".
  • Twists – Manufactured during the 1970s, these were available in Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, and Ready Salted.
  • Quavers – introduced 1968, now sold under the Walkers name
  • Monster Munch – still manufactured, under the Walkers name
  • Fighter Planes - salt and vinegar flavoured snack in shape of planes, manufactured in the 1970s
  • Battle Tanks - cheese and onion flavoured snack in shape of tanks, manufactured in the 1970s
  • Tubes – manufactured during the 1980s and available in Lightly Salted and Salt & Vinegar flavours (there was also a variation of them in the early 1990s called 'Tuba Loops', in Ready Salted flavour).
  • Zodiacs - mystery flavoured snack in shape of zodiacs
  • Fangs – cheese and onion flavoured snack in shape of fangs, manufactured in the 1970s
  • Bones – salt and vinegar flavoured snack in shape of bones, manufactured in the 1970s
  • Claws – bacon flavoured snack in shape of claws, manufactured in the 1970s
  • Ribs – manufactured in the 1970s
  • Bats – manufactured in the 1970s
  • Squares - ready salted, cheese & onion & salt & vinegar flavour square shaped potato crisps, sold under the Walkers name.
  • Salt and Shake – still manufactured, under the Walkers name[9]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]