Walkers (snack foods)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the British snack food company. For the Scottish shortbread and biscuit manufacturer, see Walkers Shortbread.
Public limited company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo[1]
Industry Snacks
Founded 1948 (68 years ago)[2]
Headquarters Leicester, England, United Kingdom
Products See below
Parent PepsiCo
Website corp.walkers.co.uk

Walkers is a British snack food manufacturer mainly operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Walkers was founded in 1948 in Leicester, England by Henry Walker, and acquired by Lay's owner, Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, in 1989.[3] It is best known for manufacturing potato crisps, and other, non-potato-based snack foods. They hold 56 percent of the British crisps market.[4] The Walkers site in Leicester is the largest crisp production plant in the world, producing over 11 million bags of crisps per day and using about 800 tons of potatoes.[5]


In the 1880s, Walker moved from Mansfield to Leicester to take over an established butcher's shop in the high street. Meat rationing after World War II saw the factory output drop dramatically, and so in 1948 the company starting looking at alternative products. Potato crisps were becoming increasingly popular with the public, leading managing director R.E. Gerrard to shift the company focus and begin hand-slicing and frying potatoes.[6]

The present day[edit]

The Walkers logo, featuring a red ribbon around a yellow sun, is noticeably similar to Lay's. It derives from the Walkers logo used in 1990. The company is still a significant presence in Leicester. Gary Lineker, the Leicester-born former footballer, is now the face of the company, featuring in most of their advertising campaigns since 1995's "Welcome Home".[7] The official website states that an estimated "11 million people will eat a Walkers product every day". The company employs over 4,000 people in fifteen locations.[citation needed]

In February 2006, Walkers changed their brand label and typeset. They also announced they were to reduce the saturated fat in their crisps by 70%.[8] They started frying their crisps in "SunSeed" oil, as claiming the oil is higher in monounsaturated fat content than the standard sunflower oil which they had used previously,[9] establishing their own sunflower farms in Ukraine and Spain to be able to produce sufficient quantities of the oil. Walkers updated their packaging style in June 2007, moving to a brand identity reminiscent of the logo used from 1998–2006.

Many of Walkers brands were formerly branded under the Smiths Crisps name. This comes from the time when Walkers, Smiths and Tudor Crisps were the three main brands of Nabisco's UK snack division, with Tudor being marketed mainly in the north of England and Walkers in the south. After the takeover by PepsiCo, the Tudor name was dropped, and the Smiths brand has become secondary to Walkers. The only products currently[when?] retaining the Smiths brand are Salt & Vinegar and Ready Salted Chipsticks, Frazzles and the "Savoury Selection", which includes Bacon Flavour Fries, Scampi Flavour Fries and Cheese Flavoured Moments.

The six finalists of the 2009 "Do Us a Flavour" campaign

To promote the freshness of its products, Walkers began to package them in foil bags from 1993, then from 1996, began filling them with nitrogen instead of air.[10] In 1997, Walkers became the brand name of Quavers and Monster Munch snacks. In August 2000, Walkers launched Max, a brand with a range of crisps. More Max flavours were introduced in 2001. In the same year Walkers bought Squares, a range of snacks from Smiths.

In May 2002 Walkers launched Sensations, a range of crisps in the UK. Walkers introduced the Quavers flavours Salt & Vinegar and Prawn Cocktail in July 2002.

In 2003, Smiths brands Salt 'n' Shake, Scampi Fries and Bacon Fries were relaunched under the Walker's identity. In 2003 Walkers bought Wotsits from Golden Wonder. In July 2004 Walkers launched Wotsits Twisted, a range of cheese puffs in the UK. Nutrition information has appeared on the front of Walkers crisps packets since 2006.

In 2007, Walkers launched Sunbites, a healthier range of lower/better fat crisps made using whole grains.[11]

In July 2008, Walkers launched its "Do Us a Flavour" campaign, challenging the public to think up unique flavours for their crisps. In January 2009 six flavours were chosen from among the entries and released as special editions, available until May 2009. During this period, consumers could vote on their favourite, and the winner would become a permanent flavour.[12] The winner was Builder's Breakfast by Emma Rushin from Belper in Derbyshire. This flavour was discontinued a year later, in May 2010, in order for Walkers to focus on the upcoming 'Flavour Cup'.

In summer 2009 Walkers launched its premium Red Sky brand of "all natural" potato crisps and snacks.[13]

In April 2010, the company launched a promotional campaign entitled the Walkers Flavour Cup in order to locate the world's most loved and favourite flavour.[14] In the end, it was decided that the flavour with the most fans at the end of the tournament/competition would be declared the winner and ultimate champion of all flavours. Walkers encouraged people to engage in social media activity, and upload photos and videos to their website proving people's Superfan status of Walkers Crisps. The best fan from each of the 15 flavours won £10,000.[15] In the end, English Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding won the Flavour Cup.

For the 2011 Comic Relief, four celebrities (Jimmy Carr, Stephen Fry, Al Murray and Frank Skinner) each represented four new flavours.[16]

In early 2013, Walkers revised their packaging, with a new design and typeface. Slogans such as 'Distinctively Salt & Vinegar' and 'Classically Ready Salted' were added to the front of packs. The previous packaging design had only existed for 12 months. Along with this packaging design, there came news that the company would begin using real meat products in its Smoky Bacon and Roast Chicken flavoured crisps.[17] This prompted substantial opposition from vegetarians, vegans and Muslims, who were now unable to consume the crisps.

In 2014 Lineker launched a new "Do Us a Flavour" Walkers competition which encouraged people to submit new flavours of crisps, with the best six being sold later in the year before a public vote to decide the winner. The winner would win £1m.[18]

In early 2015, the packaging was again revised due to the fact that British-only ingredients were no longer part of the recipes. As a result, the various UK-related front-of-pack slogans were replaced by 'Fresh Taste Guaranteed'. The typeface was also changed.

In August 2015, Walkers launched the "Bring me Back" campaign, reintroducing the Barbecue, Cheese and Chive, Beef and Onion, Lamb and Mint and Toasted Cheese flavours for a limited time. People can vote on Walker's website or use hashtags to see which flavour would be reintroduced permanently. The Marmite flavour was also brought back permanently to coincide with the promotion. 'Beef and Onion' got the most votes and was reintroduced permanently.

On April 10, 2016, Walkers launched the Spell and Go promotion, again fronted by Gary Lineker. This competition caused some controversy as customers complained that it was impossible to win. The fairness of the competition was discussed on You and Yours, the consumer show on BBC Radio 4. Over 100 entrants complained to the Advertising Standard Authority, who after completing an investigation, decided that elements were misleading, and the competition was banned.[19] It was reported that only 800 holidays of the promised 20,000 were actually won.[20]

Product lines[edit]

A Packet of Walkers Cheese & Onion crisps

Walkers most common flavours of regular crisp are Ready Salted (sold in a red packet), Cheese & Onion (blue), Prawn Cocktail (pink) and Salt & Vinegar (green). Other flavours are sold in other coloured packets, such as Beef & Onion (brown) and Worcester sauce (purple).

Some flavours were made available for a short time either because they tied in with special promotions, or failed to meet sales expectations. Walker's "Great British Dinner" range included Baked Ham & Mustard and Chicken Tikka.

A series of "mystery flavours" were launched in 2012, and later revealed to be Sour Cream & Spring Onion, Lincolnshire Sausage & Brown Sauce and Birmingham Chicken Balti.[21]

Other products sold by Walkers include their Baked crisp range, Cheese Heads, Crinkles, Deep Ridged, Extra Crunchy 150g bags, launched in 2010[22] Lights (low fat crisps, formerly Lites), Market Deli crisps, pitta chips and tortilla chips, Max, Pops, Potato Heads (discontinued in 2008),[23] Salt 'n' Shake, Sensations,[24] Squares, Stars, Sunbites (wholegrain crispy snacks) and Hoops and Crosses.

Other types of snack food sold by Walkers include Chipsticks, Doritos, French Fries, Frazzles, Mix-Ups, Quavers, Monster Munch, Wotsits, Twisted, Wafflers, Sundog Savoury Popcorn and Snaps.

In 1998 Walkers celebrated their 50th birthday in which they produced limited edition bean bears.[citation needed]

In 2016 Walkers produced a limited edition 'Winners - Salt and Victory' crisps to commemorate their home-town football team, Leicester City, winning the Premier League for the first time.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FAQ". PepsiCo UK. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Walkers Crisps". PepsiCo UK. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Walkers Snack Foods Ltd. History". fundinguniverse.com. 
  4. ^ "BBC Food: Crisps: Is classic potato losing its appeal?". BBC. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Walkers Crisps Production Line, Leicester". Packaging Gateway. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Glenn, Martin (2005). "The Walkers' Story". The Best Job in the World - The Walkers crisp Marketing Case Study. Compton House Publishing Ltd. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-9549518-0-1. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Smith, Adam (7 May 2015). "Gary Lineker celebrates his 20 years at Walkers by recreating the famous 'Welcome Home' advert and reuniting with the cast". Mail Online. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Walkers Crisps – Better for you | less saturated fat". Walkers-eathappy.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Sunseed Oil". www.pepsico.co.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "History of Walkers Snack Foods Ltd. – FundingUniverse". 
  11. ^ "Sunbites website". Sunbites.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Squirrel-flavoured crisps go on sale in UK". Metro.co.uk. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  13. ^ "Red Sky Potato Chips from Walkers". Talkingretail.com. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Home". Walkers.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Walkers Flavour Cup". Brandown.com. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Dunkerley, Jennifer (4 February 2011). "Comedians battle for Denise van Outen". Daily Star. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Hickman, Martin (28 February 2013). "Not suitable for vegetarians: Walkers' new potato crisps range uses real ingredients - including meat". The Independent. 
  18. ^ "Do us a Flavour! Lineker launches new Walkers ad with a crisp million up for grabs". dailymail.co.uk. 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  19. ^ "Walkers Crisps holiday competition banned after claims it was impossible to win". standard.co.uk. 2014-08-17. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  20. ^ "Walkers Crisps promised to give away 20,000 holidays - but actually dished out just 800 in a nearly impossible to win competition". dailymail.co.uk. 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  21. ^ Bamford, Vince (14 March 2012), "Walkers reveals its three mystery flavours", The Grocer, William Reed Business Media, retrieved 25 April 2012 
  22. ^ "Indies clash over Walkers Extra Crunchy coup", The Grocer, William Reed Business Media, 21 August 2010, retrieved 3 May 2012 
  23. ^ "Walkers abandons Potato Heads line". Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  24. ^ "Walkers Sensations". Sensationscrisps.co.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Sayid, Ruki (3 May 2016). "Walkers is handing out Leicester victory crisps - how to get a free packet". 

External links[edit]