|Product type||Cheese puffs|
|Previous owners||Golden Wonder|
Wotsits is a British brand of cheesy flavour corn puffs sold by Walkers Crisps and originally by Golden Wonder. The most common form are "Really Cheesy flavour corn puffs". However, over the years, various other shapes and flavours have also been sold. "Limited edition" Wotsits have also appeared on more than one occasion.The brand name occurs in the singular, "Wotsit", referring to an individual corn puff. It is an allusion to the slang term "whatsit", to which it is phonetically identical.
In 2002, Golden Wonder changed hands and sold off Wotsits to Walkers. Prior to this, Walkers sold the similar American product Cheetos, which was considered a rival in the UK market. Walkers relaunched Cheetos in the UK in 2015 and both brands are sold together.
Varieties and Flavours
When Wotsits were first introduced by Golden Wonder, they were available in flavours such as Cheesy, Crispy Beef (later named Barbecue Beef and BBQ Beef), Cheese & Bacon and Spicy Tomato. The latter two would later be discontinued in the 90's, and a Prawn Cocktail flavour would be put onto the market around this time.
The brand would later be stretched into two more varieties - Weenie Wotsits, being smaller versions of the snack in November 1999 and Wotsits Wafflers, which were corn grids in May 2000. In November 2000, a version of the product called "Mealtime Potato Shapes" were introduced. They were made from potato and cheese and meant to be baked in the oven.
In January 2003, when the brand changed hands to Walkers, the packaging was changed to match the rebranding, although the flavours, varieties and logo remained the same. In April 2004, a Flamin' Hot flavour replaced BBQ Beef.
In July 2004, Walkers launched Wotsits Twisted in BBQ and Really Cheesy flavours, which contained twists of corn. They didn't end up being very successful and vanished after about a year on the shelves.
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. In May 2008 Wotsits were changed from being fried to baked instead.
In December 2009, Wotsits, Quavers, Squares and French Fries changed packaging again to show they have 100 Calories or less. Wotsits had 95 calories in multipack bags and 99 calories in standard bags at the time. In January 2012 the Walkers logo was re-added again and after a while, the brand has simply been sold in Really Cheesy flavour. In January 2020, Walkers announced that Flamin' Hot and BBQ Beef (renamed to Sizzlin' Steak) would be reintroduced due to popular demand.
A limited edition version Zombie Fingers was put on sale for Halloween in September 2013 and has returned at following Halloweens. These come in Flamin' Hot flavour and are longer and curlier than normal Wotsits.
Another variety called Wotsits Giants were introduced in January 2020, available in Really Cheesy and Flamin' Hot, and are double the size of regular Wotsits.
The brand was the first to introduce inserts into its packs in 1994, with the insertion of "Pogs". It also inserted merlin football stickers and other inserts aimed at 11-year-old boys. The brand was advertised with the strapline "you only get a whoosh with a Wotsit" between 1994 and 2002 following a campaign designed by JWT of a play on words. Wotsits packaging used to come with a joke or trivia section on the back.
Wotsits were one of the sponsors of SMTV Live (alongside other Walkers snacks such as Monster Munch and Squares) from 4 January 2003 until the show's discontinuation on 27 December 2003.
In 2003, the advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers made a public apology when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health brought to light a private brief that it had made to Frito-Lay (Walkers' owners) where it proposed encouraging children (4 to 9 years old) to believe that "Wotsits are for me—I'm going to buy them when I get the chance and pester Mum for them when she next goes shopping".
- "Walkers Wotsits Crisps | Walkers Snacks". walkers-snacks.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
- archive.theargus.co.uk; article dated 28 May 2002, retrieved 27 October 2006.
- The Wonder of potato, Catering Update via caterersearch.com. Article dated 1 November 2000, retrieved 21 January 2007.
- publications.parliament.uk, retrieved 27 October 2006. (Note: These contain the referenced information, but are not necessarily the sources used by the original author.)
- "PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF FOOD INDUSTRY ADVERTISING DOCUMENTS", Written evidence, UK Parliament Select Committee on Health