Walkers reformulation and new product development
30 August 2023
For almost 20 years, Walkers has led the way in reformulating and developing new, healthier products, reducing saturated fat by 70% and reducing salt by between 25% and 50% across the range.
Most recently, in April 2022, Walkers set out an ambition to make 50% of its snack sales come from healthier alternatives by 2025, targeting 30% to come from non-HFSS products and 20% from snacks sold in portions of 100 calories or less per packet. On the back of this ambition, two thirds of all new products launched in 2022 were not classified as high in fat, salt or sugar, and one year on – by April 2023, the brand is already halfway to reaching this goal – with non-HFSS snacks now accounting for 15% of Walkers’ overall sales and a further 15% from less than 100 calorie portions, making up 30% of UK snacks sales.
A major step towards this progress was the launch of Walkers 45% Less Salt, the company’s first potato crisp to not be classified as HFSS. Despite only launching last year (2022), 45% Less Salt has already become a popular brand with sales over £30million and a loyal customer following. It is estimated that over 16% of UK households now choose 45% Less Salt regularly. Walkers’ expert R&D team in Leicester continue to trial and develop delicious new products that respond to consumer demand for healthier snacking options, without compromising on taste and quality. This is also backed by the company’s advertising and marketing to encourage consumers towards healthier choices. Through this, despite the product containing nearly half the salt, the range has performed strongly in consumer taste testing, with 8 out of 10 consumers stating that it exceeded their expectations and there was no perceived taste compromise with less salt.
Reformulation and new product development is not easy – it takes time and ingenuity, but it is a journey that the brand has been on for some time now and continues to be dedicated to inspiring customers to make positive choices. Beaumont Park, one of the company’s five global R&D sites, is the hub of innovation in the UK, and multiple functions and teams within the business are involved in the process as well as extensive consumer engagement to ensure the success of the reformulated product.