Aisle Spy

What could Pringles’ new range mean for healthy crisps?

It’s not only flavour that is driving NPD in snacking, but new ingredients and techniques as well.

25 February 2019

Looking to tackle the healthy snacking market, Pringles has launched its biggest innovation in four years with a new rice-based crisp.

The range, called Rice Fusion, is principally made with 24% rice, rather than the 42% potato contained in its original Pringles. It also has 2.6g of saturated fat per 100g, which is around 23% less than the brand’s core offering, as well as less salt.

Making the most of the rice angle, the products are Asian inspired and far more experimental than barbecue or sour cream and onion, based off research that showed that 53% of savoury snack buyers are prompted to buy more when they see new flavours. Options include Malaysian red curry, Indian tandoori chicken masala and Peking duck with hoisin sauce, which will be available across grocery, while Japanese BBQ teriyaki will be exclusive to Tesco.

Pringles commercial lead Vicky Middlemast said rice was a really good flavour carrier, which suited the “really creative” Asian-accented bites. She added that they were also more meal based than is common in bagged snacks.

“There are a lot of people out there who like trying new flavours in crisps, so we’re trying to attract those who are seeking new experiences,” she said.

Having taken two years to develop the Rice Fusions, Pringles owner Kellogg’s is predicting sales of £20m this year.

The range is the first innovation for the brand since Pringles Tortilla, which generated £8.4m in sales and 6.3m in unit sales in the first 12 weeks. Kellogg’s expects the NPD to dominate the large sharing category in 2019.

The Rice Fusions are packed into a 160g can, which is 20% smaller than traditional Pringles, for a RRP of £1.99 – although it will be introduced at a promotional price of £1. It is also being supported by a £3m investment in exclusive in-store POS, e-commerce, digital, TV and out-of-home advertising. Last year, Pringles enjoyed value growth of 8.9% to £185.9m after a series of high-profile promotional activities, Nielsen reported.

Ethnic flavours seem to be driving NPD in the crisps category across the board. Walkers added two new variants to its core crisps in January to modernise the range – a BBQ pulled pork and spicy sriracha. It picked the flavours using insight tools to identify flavours trends that are emerging throughout Britain, with the new duo coming top of the list for 2019, it said. In September, London Flavours introduced crisps based on Asian-inspired flavours: pho, sticky ribs and teriyaki.

A rise in rice-based snacks?

Pringles isn’t the only brand turning to rice for healthier snacks.

One trailblazer in this area is Yorkshire start-up Bite UK, which was recently acquired by Northern Ireland’s Tayto Group to enable it to compete in the free-from snacking space. Its grab-and-go items are promoted as vegan, low in sugar and salt, high in protein and fibre, and free from cholesterol, gluten, preservatives and dairy.

MD Jason Bull was spurred to create the business when a family member was diagnosed as coeliac.

The range of popped rice clusters boasts flavours like strawberry and goji berry and blueberry and cranberry. These bites can be served straight from the packet, with milk and honey for a healthy breakfast, as a shared party snack or for children’s lunchboxes, according to the company.

Bite launched into the market in 2017 and is listed in the likes of Nisa, McColl’s, Applegreen and Scotmid Co-op. It is also creating an exclusive new snack range for Yo! Sushi made up of wasabi peas, chilli rice crackers and chilli peanuts, which are set to hit 70 restaurants across the country.

Back in 2017, Empire Bespoke Foods also launched Rice Up in the UK – brown-rice-based snacks available in three formats: traditional rice cakes for substantial snacking; rice rolls for canapes and dips; and rice crisps. The products claimed to be high in fibre and were made with olive oil and natural ingredients, without any yeast. However, the line appears to have been discontinued.

Healthier processes

Pringles’ push into healthy crisps comes as new players enter the retail arena too. Fledgling bagged snack brand Corners secured its first listing in January in a major supermarket, landing in more than 400 Sainsbury’s stores through the retailer’s Future Brands initiative.

Made in Belgium, its healthier crisps are heat-popped via a proprietary process and are low in saturated fat, with no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours. Its four SKUs consist of Pop Corn Sea Salt and Pop Corn Sweet & Salty, along with soy-based duo Pop Protein Sweet Barbecue and Pop Protein Cheese & Onion.

Corners is a “dynamic brand, which opens up huge possibilities for the crisp category and has the potential to drive the category growth in snacking and better-for-you brands for Sainsbury’s,” said the supermarket.

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