The crisps and snacks manufacturer previously set a goal to make 50% of its snack sales to come from healthier alternatives by 2025, a target that it is now more than half-way toward achieving.
Non-high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) snacks now account for 15% of Walkers’ overall sales, and portions of 100 calories or less account for a further 15% of sales. Two-thirds of all new products launched last year were not classified as HFSS.
‘Stepping up our efforts’
Jason Richards, general manager of PepsiCo UK & Ireland, said: “Walkers has long been a leader in the development of healthier snacks and last year we stepped up our efforts, setting our boldest ambition yet. I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come in a year by reshaping our portfolio.
“We’ve done this through a combination of innovation with new products such as Walkers’ 45% Less Salt and Popworks, reformulation of established family favourites Walkers Baked and Doritos Dippers, and offering a broader range of our most loved brands in portions of under 100 calories or less.”
According to Richards, the sales success of Walkers’ non-HFSS products was a sign of the UK’s increasing appetite for healthier choices.
‘Demand for healthier choices’
“Our R&D team in Leicester has met this demand for healthier choices without compromising on our trademark taste and quality,” he added. “We know there’s more work to do, and we remain confident that we can reach our ambition, dramatically shifting our snacks portfolio towards healthier alternatives.”
Walkers’ progress towards its goal of 50% sales arising from healthier options comes a year after an initial three-year investment of £35m to drive product innovation and reformulation.
A raft of other brands in Walkers’ portfolio have also switched to non-HFSS in the past year, including Walkers Baked, and the launch of HFSS compliant brands Doritos Dippers, Doritos Pizza, Max Strong, PopWorks and Snack a Jacks.
Meanwhile, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – AKA the Sugar Levy – has been a catalyst for growth in the soft drinks industry, but growth of sugary drinks in the out of home market suggests more could be done to educate retailers and consumers of sugar-free alternatives.