Mintel analyst Kiti Soinien told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the expansion came despite tougher competition in the premium crisp market, which she said Kettle had to itself five years ago.
“Walkers’ premium Red Sky brand saw good growth in 2010, although it is still below £20m in sales. You also have Tyrrells and Phileas Fogg going down the premium route – Brown Bag and the Hairy Bikers as well," Soinien said.
However, Kettle remains UK’s biggest premium crisps brand, according to Mintel data for 2010, and the market research firm predicts further growth for the firm in both the UK and export markets.
Strong growth in tough market
California-based Diamond Foods bought the firm from Lion Capital in a £402m deal in March 2010, and Kettle Foods Europe md, Jeremy Bradley said: “We are continuing to drive strong growth in a tough marketplace and see a lot of opportunity to sustain this trend.”
The investment will see new multi-pack packaging lines installed at the Bowthorpe plant, and is expected to create up to 35 new jobs at the plant, which employs about 450 people.
Announcing the investment, Bradley said Kettle had seen “an increased penetration in both the impulse channel and international markets,” with export growth targeted in countries such as Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy.
Kettle Chips’ overall sales were up 24% to £90m in 2010, compared to average growth in the market of 10%, according to latest Mintel data, which makes it the No.5 crisp brand overall, behind Walkers, Pringles, Doritos and McCoy’s.
Kantar Worldpanel figures show that UK consumers spent £809m on crisps in the year to January 23 2011.