Tags Tasty Crisps on target for growth

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Tags Tasty Crisps plans to take flavours such as salt & vinegar into more supermarket chains next year
Tags Tasty Crisps plans to take flavours such as salt & vinegar into more supermarket chains next year

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Family firm Tags Tasty Crisps has clinched a supply deal with Tesco and is close to securing deals with two other major grocery multiples.

The company has agreed to supply 44 Tesco stores with £1 multipacks comprising 25g bags of salt & vinegar and cheese & onion crisps, boss and ex-Seabrook Crisps md John Tague told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“We built van sales in Liverpool and the north west. We are in bars and coffee shops. We’re in Tesco and another two major multiples are seriously looking at us.”

If all went as expected, the next big contract would kick off in January, said Tague, while he was working to sign off a further contract later in 2014. He had also been approached by a Premiership football club seeking supplies of crisps, he said.

He added: “We’re in discussion with quite a big name in foodservice who will test our products in a certain part of their business, which means quite a lot of consumers will taste our products.”

The company, which is staffed purely by Tague, his wife Clare and four children already supplies discount retailers Poundland and B&M.

Two brandings

Referring to product development and strategy, Tague said: “We have two brandings: one premium, one everyday … We have premium that will appeal to mum and dad and everyday for younger people. Then we’re looking at how we extend those into ​[wider] snacks and healthy ranges.”

The everyday range consists of salt & vinegar; cheese & onion and ready salted variants, while premium lines are: malted vinegar and sea salt; mature cheddar & red onion and sweet chilli. Lines include 40g bags and 125g sharing bags.

“Feedback on the flavours has been tremendous, but we need to build up distribution, then bring flavours in and out,”​ said Tague. “We have got numerous new product development (NPD) projects we are ready to go on, but you have got to walk before you can run.”

Despite fierce competition from names such as Walkers Crisps and Tyrrells, he reaffirmed his aim to capture 10% of the crisps market. “We want to be there in 10 years. If we can build momentum next year it’s achievable.

“The mainstream brands will always deliver, but consumers are always looking for something else. There’s 10–20% of the market to be had for non-mainstream brands. People want to see family-owned businesses, not corporates.”

Creating job opportunities

He outlined several other business objectives, including feeding a percentage of profits into charitable causes and creating job opportunities for younger people in the UK as Tags grew.

Tague is credited with growing Seabrook Crisps’ annual sales from £11M a year in 2007 to more than £30M in 2011. He said he decided to split with the company because he differed with its owners over future strategy.

Tague now focuses on manufacturing for Tags, which he outsources to a third party, and van sales, helped by his 17 year-old son Dominic, who also acts as product taster.

His son Joe, aged 25, handles sales and marketing, while his son Patrick, based in Australia, handles finance and international distribution.

His 15 year-old daughter Cecilia helps promote the Tags brand through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, while wife Clare is responsible for NPD.

Tague said the name ‘Tags’ came from a nickname he had when he was at school.

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