Pipers, Smiths Crisps, Sunbites, Market Deli, Walkers
Address: Walkers Snack Foods, Freepost LE4 918,
Leicester, LE4 5ZY, United Kingdom
Phone: 0800 274 777
Email: Contact Form
With meat rationing hitting profits, a Leicester based butcher named Henry Walker worked out a plan with his colleague Mr Gerrard to enter the field of Potato Crisps. Walkers Crisps began, and by 1954 the company had advanced sufficiently to introduce the Cheese & Onion Crisp – the UK’s most popular flavour today.
Walkers has approximately half of the UK’s crisp market and makes 10million bags per day. It is also now owned by Pepsico. The largest Potato Chip manufacturer in the World, Lays, is also owned by Pepsico. In the UK alone, the Walkers arm of Pepsico employs over 4,000 people.
Many people wonder what happened to Smiths Crisps, which was a Crisps powerhouse as recently as the 1980s. Major companies with wide ranging branding wasn’t as familiar with the public then as it is now. Nabisco actually owned Walkers, Smiths and Tudor, which was a successful brand in the North of England.
When Pepsico took the company over, they stopped using the Tudor branding and the Crisps under the Smiths branding was reduced substantially, with Walkers taking on the main task of providing the nation with regular Potato Crisps. Currently, the Smiths branding snacks only encompass Chipsticks, Frazzles, Bacon and Scampi Fries, and Cheese Moments.
The biggest change however came in 2006 when the company altered their branding to the Lays model, switched to Sunseed Oil for their cooking and reduced the saturated fat by 70%.
A recent time-line could begin in 1997, when Walkers became the brand name for Quavers and Monster Munch.
Walkers launched Max, as a standalone brand with its own range in 2000.
In 2001 Walkers assumed the branding of the Smiths snack, Squares.
In 2002 Walkers bought Wotsits from Golden Wonder Crisps. They also launched their Sensations range in the same year.
The Smiths brands: Salt & Shake, Scampi Fries and Bacon Fries were re-launched under the Walkers branding in 2003.
To provide a healthier alternative to Crisps during a more conscious age, the wholegrain snack Sunbites was launched in 2007.
The following year, Walkers began inviting the public into the process with their "Do Us A Flavour" campaign. The competition ran for nearly a year and six flavours were introduced, with interactive public participation in voting and the associated publicity getting Walkers brilliant coverage.
In an effort to tackle the premium Hand Cooked Crisps that had become available to the public, Walkers launched their standalone Red Sky branding in 2009.
The earlier success of the ‘Do Us A Flavour’ Campaign prompted a marketing campaign in 2010 called the 'Walkers Flavour Cup' to find the world's favourite flavour. English Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding won. In 2011, Walkers got involved with Comic Relief and used four celebrities to market their Crisps, in the aid of charity.
Walkers rebooted their packaging and branding in 2013.
Walkers Taste Icons Las Iguanas Chilli Con
I opened the bag and the distinct smell of chilli con carne burst out. It had to check the flavour description to make sure. Now, I am aware that I often write that just before expressing my disappointment, but that is not the case here. The flavour was extraordinary. I tasted rich beef, kidney beans in chilli sauce and the seasoning often used in chilli con carne. All separate flavours that also combined. I could identify individual ingredients and the overall taste. These tasted exactly like chilli con carne. Remarkable - And easily the best promotional flavour I have tasted for months, if not years. I would also like to add the flavour variety also made these superior to the vast majority of generic beef flavours in the UK. I hope they return as a regular.
Walkers Taste Icons Gourmet Burger Kitchen Classic Cheeseburger Crisps
These crisps managed to taste of two things at once. Firstly, they tasted like greasy cheese-soaked cheeseburger. If that was a remarkable achievement, the second taste was not so welcome. Burnt plastic is a smell rather than a taste – After all, why would you taste burned plastic? The smell was cheesy tomato, with a hint of spice, so it did not relate to smell. It must have been conferred b the taste, but it was a picture I could not eradicate from my mind as I continued eating. This in turn, meant my experienced was unnecessarily comprised, because I did say it tasted of cheeseburger.
Walkers Taste Icons Pizza Express
Margherita Pizza Crisps
I will keep this short and sweet. These crisps looked feisty, with plenty of seasoning. The flavour was also strong. It tasted of very very slightly spiced passata. I didn’t detect a fulsome pizza, just the tomato sauce that is spread upon it. If there was a creamy mozzarella, I could not find it.
Walkers Taste Icons Nando’s Peri-Peri
There are a variety of Nando’s peri-peri sauces, all of which include varying factors of heat. They travel from mild to extra hot, but there is also a lemon and herb option. So, the first job was to identify which of these the variety resembled most closely. As an extra-hot enthusiast, I won’t deny a level of disappointment that they were closer to the lemon and herb option than any of the hotter versions. The citrus burst through first, but there was a mild heat to back it up, which ironically led the flavour away from a familiar Nando’s sauce. They could have been a little hotter, even for a mainstream promotional flavour, but my overall impression was of a good starting point for a future hot and citrus variety. I live in hope.
Walkers Taste Icons Yo! Katsu Curry Crisps
The back of the pack explained that the contents of the seasoning included Katsu Curry seasoning and soy sauce seasoning, among its long list of ingredients. This was more than enlightening because this is what they tasted of. The soy dominated slightly, but the overall flavour was of familiar katsu curry. Mild, a little sweet, and oriental saucy.
Walkers Taste Icons Pizza Express
American Hot Crisps
This promotional short term-product was an interesting variation on the ketchup theme. I did not get any pizza base, but I did get spicy tomato. They were very tomato heavy, as a pizza should be. I could not identify pepperoni, creamy mozzarella, or chilli peppers. I sensed the spicy was paprika with a touch of chilli.
Walkers Chip Shop Chicken Curry with Free
Range Chicken from Devon Crisps
The North of England may be more familiar with this flavour than those in the South, where chip shop curry is not seen as regularly on menu boards. However, the taste will be familiar to all Brits that have tried Chinese curry sauce. As for how near the flavour represented the taste, it was trying to achieve . . . Well, 'exactly,' would be the phrase I would use. Slightly sweet, a hint of not-at-all-hot curry, a touch of spice. Hold the front page: But what’s this? The flavour was actually chip shop chicken curry. You see, Walkers provided an ingredient that required inclusion for this contest. And the point here is chicken, beef, lamb - It doesn’t matter to the original recipe of this style of curry sauce. So, although an accurate representation of the flavour it was attempting to achieve, it has to lose a mark because there is absolutely no hint of chicken in the flavour.
Walkers Pulled Pork with Sticky BBQ Sauce
with Pork from Norfolk Crisps
Another familiar flavour to American potato chips eaters. This could be a clue for future contest entries – If Lays have made something similar in the US, add a UK twist and ta-da. Anyway, there was undoubtedly a smoky flavouring and the barbecue sauce mixed well. It took a few, but enough crisps eaten and the ham flavour shone through. I would have preferred a little spice but the sweetness was probably more appropriate for a flavour - That if not such a descriptive mouthful, could hit the mainstream.
Hot Dog with Tomato Ketchup & Vale of Evesham Tomatoes
A Nose Plunge Test was a must for these. Would they conjure up imagery of a New York winter’s day? What about the frying onion smell of a seaside burger van? Well, no. It was more a muted tomato aroma. At first the flavour that came through was a meaty, maybe even smoky, sort of tomato. There also seemed to be a bit of a herby addition that was something like coriander. The aftertaste was most certainly smoky, but also hot dog, and maybe even a bit of bun. There was no sauerkraut or onions and no mustard, which was a shame because it takes all that to make a great hot dog. However, I was in search of a flavour resembling what it said on the bag, and although there was a fairly representative taste, it was not nearly as rounded as eating a hot dog with ketchup.
Walkers Sizzling Steak Fajita with Aberdeen
What a weird flavour this was. There was something fajita-like in the flavouring, but sadly, not necessarily the best aspect of it. Fajitas have onions, they have peppers, and they have spicy Mexican powders and sauces. They also have a charred barbecued meat or fish taste, invariably from a ‘sizzling’ hot plate or pan - Which is the flavour that shone most prominently. Sadly, it is unlikely that ‘burned beef flavour’ would work as a regular on the crisp aisles.
Walkers Ranch Raccoon with Sour Cream
With Marco Pierre White accompanied by David Walliams on the judging panel I just knew the comedian would sneak in a joke flavour. But was it a joke flavour? A Nose Plunge Test revealed the sort of smell you would expect when opening a tub of double cream. The flavour was all a bit milky cream and parsley. Or, a very familiar, 'sour cream' which can be found on potato chips shelves across America. I would not presume to suggest what raccoon tastes like, but you can be assured there was nothing remotely raccoon-like in these crisps. Which of course undermines the claim on the bag. These were just sour cream crisps without the usual onion accompaniment.
Walkers Cheesy Beans on Toast with
Cheddar from Somerset
I am not entirely sure it matters where the Cheddar comes from when melting it over baked beans. Sadly, my entry of cheese and beans on toast with Worcester sauce was rejected so I was more than looking forward to seeing what these tasted like. There was certainly something cheesy about them, and while it may well have been focussed imagery, there seemed to be an underlying resemblance to toast somewhere in there. I can’t say for sure whether any baked beans flavouring was around, but there was an ever so slightly sweet tomato taste in the background. Overall, the emphasis was a bit wrong and the flavour was a bit weak. Given the option of this or a plain cheese crisp, the latter would surely be preferred by all.
Walkers Spicy Sriracha Crisps
Although sriracha is the big news condiment of recent times, it still seemed a somewhat surprising introduction to the Walkers range. It appeared to be heading towards the mainstream options range, but it seemed a bit niche to me. The crisps were well coated and a Nose Plunge Test revealed a distinct smell of Sriracha. There was a tomato undercurrent, but there was a definite hit of sriracha. Not particularly ‘spicy’ but it was certainly sriracha, which has to be applauded.