Monster Munch

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Monster Munch pickled onion flavour

Monster Munch are a British baked corn snack created by Smiths and manufactured by Walkers. They are aimed at children and widely consumed in the United Kingdom.[1] Flavours include Roast Beef, Pickled Onion and Flamin' Hot.[2]

On the issue of whether the snacks are shaped like monster claws or individual monsters, Walkers said "whilst we think of them as monsters’ feet, we don't want that to stop people from coming up with their own imaginative ideas. The mascot is 6ft and a size 22"[3] Monster Munch is suitable for vegetarians.[4]

Smiths Monster Munch (1977–1995)[edit]

Monster Munch snacks were launched in Britain in 1977 by Smiths. Originally called "The Prime Monster" (a play on "The Prime Minister", and as part of a wider campaign), they were renamed "Monster Munch" in 1978. Advertised as "The Biggest Snack Pennies Can Buy" – in reference to the large size of the snacks – each pack featured a different monster on the front of the packet.

The snack was supported by a "Monster Munch Club", whose members received a "Monster Munch Munchers" membership pack which included a membership card, pen, several story books, and a story tape which included six "tall stories" and accompanying songs.

Original '80s monsters[edit]

The original Monster Munch monsters as featured on a promotional badge from the 1980s.

By the late 1980s there were four main monsters featured on the packaging, although originally a total of six featured in the advertising.

Colour Description Flavour
Pink Monster A tall, pink, gangly creature with a floppy tongue Roast Beef
Blue Monster A blue creature with four arms and long ears, and wears a hat Saucy/Sizzling Bacon/Salt and Vinegar
Yellow Monster A yellow, one-eyed creature with a red nose and mismatched limbs Pickled Onion/Cheese and Onion/Saucy
Orange Monster A fat, orange creature with pink hair Giant Prawn/Pickled Onion

Flavours[edit]

The original flavour for Monster Munch when it launched was Roast Beef, followed by Pickled Onion flavours a year later and Saucy in 1981.

In the mid-80's, Sizzling Bacon was introduced, while Cheese & Onion, Giant Prawn and Salt & Vinegar flavours were introduced in 1986.

The original Monster Munch used two different snack shapes, related to two of the Monsters. The shape known as a "monster paw" that is still used today has long been the subject of dispute over whether it represents a paw or, instead, the single eye and lashes of Yellow Monster (currently seen on Pickled Onion flavour packs). The other represented the gangly, long-tongued Pink Monster: circular with two bumps on the top for eyes, protrusions on either side and a tongue dangling down. For a limited time in the early 1990s, there were also spider-shaped Monster Munch in the Sizzling Bacon flavour.

A short-lived range of Monster Munch themed drinks - Monster Fizz - was available in the 1980s. The small range of flavours included orangeade, cola and lemonade.[5]

In 1994, Mega Monster Munch was introduced, which came in bigger bags in Flamin' Hot flavour.

Walkers Monster Munch (1995–2008)[edit]

In 1995 the Monster Munch brand was taken over by Walkers who relaunched them with a range of four flavours. One of the most significant changes was that the crisps were much smaller than before. The monster characters were also redesigned.

New '90s monsters[edit]

Monster Description Flavour
Pink/Purple Monster A tall, pink creature with a wide mouth, later a purple one as normal. The original 80's version appeared in the Spicy flavour. Beef Burger/Spicy/Roast Beef
Blue/Yellow Monster A furry, blue or yellow creature with an inverted head. Spaghetti Sauce/Cheesy
Red Monster A large, red ogre-like creature. Flamin' Hot
Orange Monster An orange ogre-like creature. Pickled Onion

Flavours[edit]

Alongside the returning Pickled Onion and Flamin' Hot (Mega Monster Munch only), two new flavours, Beef Burger and Spaghetti Sauce, were introduced. A wide range of Tazos, featuring images of the monsters, was produced, with one Tazo included in each bag.

Since then, various packaging changes and new flavours have been introduced. Monster Munch was later part of Walkers' short lived "Snackshack" lineup during 1997–1998. A New Cheesy flavour replaced the Spaghetti Sauce Flavour at this time, and the Blue Monster was recoloured Yellow. Flamin' Hot was later introduced in the multipacks at this time, replacing Beef Burger.

In April 1998, when Walkers changed their logo, Monster Munch changed their packaging. A Spicy flavour was released in August 2000, replacing Cheesy (with the Yellow Monster being retired in the process) and a new Purple Monster (which looked like the Pink Monster from the first era) was the main monster for that flavour.[6]

In August 2001, Walkers announced a special Halloween variant of the Pickled Onion flavour that could turn the consumer's tongue blue, and was promoted with The Beano and The Dandy comics and three ten-second spots that would air on Boomerang.[7]

On October 17, 2002, Walkers announced that the Roast Beef flavour would be reintroduced after a seven-year hiatus, replacing the Spicy flavour.[8] The packaging said "NEW" on the top and in front of the pack, as it was not the same flavouring as the Roast Beef that was previously sold. In October 2004, the Tongue variant of Pickled Onion returned for Halloween as a variant where the consumers tongue could either be blue or green.

A "Baked Bean" flavour was made available in February 2003 for Comic Relief, alongside Quavers, Wotsits and French Fries and standard Walkers Crisps. In April of that year, a "Vanilla Ice Cream" flavour was released to mostly negative reaction. This type of Monster Munch was non-savoury, and it contained sugar instead of salt.[9] The Tongue variant returned again that year with new Halloween-themed packaging, although it reverted to the 2001 version where it could only turn blue. This version returned for one more year in 2005.

In February 2007, Walkers changed the packaging for all their snack products, which were Quavers, Wotsits, Squares, French Fries and Monster Munch. This packaging reflected the usage of Sunseed Oil, which was used in all products. The Multipack bags were in a different layout, being in Landscape style. For Monster Munch, the logo was changed, but the monsters and flavours didn't. However, for Monster Munch, This packaging style was short lived, as huge changes happened to the brand in September 2008. This packaging remained for the short lived Baked Monster Munch.

Original Monster Munch relaunched (2008–present)[edit]

In September 2008 Walkers re-launched Monster Munch, based on the original Monster Munch from the Smiths days. The crisps have returned to their original larger size, and the packs include retro designs based on the original packs, featuring three of the original four monsters. "Roast Beef" flavour features the Pink Monster as originally, "Pickled Onion" features the Yellow Monster and "Flamin' Hot" is marketed with the Blue Monster. The orange monster was not brought back. A Mega Monster Munch website was launched to coincide with the relaunch.[10]

Monster Description Flavour
Pink Monster A tall, pink, gangly creature with a floppy tongue Roast Beef
Yellow Monster A yellow, one-eyed creature with a red nose Pickled onion
Blue Monster A hat-wearing blue creature with floppy-ears and four arms Flamin' Hot

A product called "Mega Monster Munch Webs" was sold starting from Halloween in September 2013 and came in a bacon flavour. This product has been popular enough to be released every Halloween after that. This product had previously been marketed under the Wotsits brand as "Wotsits Wafflers," when it was re-launched in July 2012, and was resold as simply "Wafflers" afterwards under the Smiths brand.

In 2016 Monster Munch Pickled Onion was voted the champion of the World Cup of Crisps.

In August 2019, the packaging was updated alongside other Walkers Snacks, to inform about a reduction in plastic used on the packet. The Walkers logo also returned to the front of the packaging for the first time in 11 years. The flavours and monsters remained the same.

Recreating Pickled Onion Monster Munch featured as a challenge in Channel 4's Snackmasters programme [11] in 2019, featuring chefs Tristan Welch and Matt Worswick. The programme also looked at the production of Monster Munch at the Walkers Skelmersdale factory, including the raw ingredients, the extrusion process and flavouring. In addition, the programme suggested that 'Lily' is the name of the Pink Monster, as referred to by staff.

Tayto Monster Munch (Ireland)[edit]

In Ireland, the major potato crisp and corn snack brand Tayto made a spicy flavoured corn snack with the name "Monster Munch". Upon the movement of Walkers into the Irish market in the 1990s, the name "Monster Munch" was purchased from Tayto. Thereafter, Tayto changed the name of their snack to "Mighty Munch" to differentiate between the Tayto and Walker snacks.

Intersnack Monster Munch (France) [edit]

Monster Munch in France

In France, the major potato crisp brand Intersnack (France) commercializes a range of flavoured potato chip based snacks with the name "Monster Munch", named after Eduard Munch's "The Scream". The range of flavours includes ready salted, ham & cheese, barbecue, ketchup, pizza and cream cheese. The monsters are smaller in size than UK Monster Munch, much thinner with a smiling ghost shape.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sector Insight: Crisps and salty snacks". www.campaignlive.co.uk.
  2. ^ "Walkers Monster Munch Crisps | Walkers Snacks". www.walkers-snacks.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Monster Munch debate: Walkers give a definitive answer to crisp quandary". www.chroniclelive.co.uk. 2017-01-12.
  4. ^ "isitveggie.com - Walkers Products". jamjee.co.uk.
  5. ^ Paul (2008-05-31). "The Cobwebbed Room: 'Monster Munch' - Pop And Tape". Cobwebbedroom.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  6. ^ http://www.ntk.net/2000/08/11/
  7. ^ https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/media-walkers-launch-limited-edition-monster-munch/76935
  8. ^ https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/briefs-walkers-revive-monster-munch-flavour/161216
  9. ^ https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/media-brief-walkers-crisps-uses-posters-promote-monster-munch/180758?src_site=marketingmagazine
  10. ^ "Find Our Monsters! Monster Munch - They're Back and They're Bigger!". Megamonstermunch.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  11. ^ "Snackmasters: Snackmasters - On Demand". Channel 4. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  12. ^ "Intersnack web site". Retrieved 2015-01-22.