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Walkers (snack foods)

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**History and Ownership**:
– Walkers was founded in 1948 in Leicester, England, by Henry Walker.
– The Walkers family sold the business to Standard Brands in 1970.
– In 1989, Walkers was acquired by PepsiCo.
– Walkers has a significant presence in Leicester and employs over 4,000 people in the UK.
– In 1999, PepsiCo transferred ownership of Walkers brands to a Swiss subsidiary.
Pepsico Holdings transitioned from a private limited company to a private unlimited company in the UK in August 1997.

**Product Range and New Product Launches**:
– Walkers core crisp flavors include Ready Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese & Onion, Smoky Bacon, and Prawn Cocktail.
– Walkers introduced Squares snacks in March 2001 and launched more Max flavors in November 2001.
– Sensations was launched in May 2002 with flavors like Thai Sweet Chilli and Roast Chicken & Thyme.
– Sunbites, a healthier range of crisps made with whole grains, was launched in September 2007.
– Premium Red Sky brand of all-natural potato crisps and snacks was launched in summer 2009 but discontinued in 2014.

**Flavours and Marketing Campaigns**:
– Walkers produces Cheese and Onion, Salt and Vinegar, and Ready Salted as main varieties.
– Walkers has launched unique flavours through campaigns like Do Us a Flavour.
– Walkers promotes freshness by packaging products in foil bags and filling them with nitrogen.
– Gary Lineker has been the face of Walkers since 1995.
– Walkers sponsors the UEFA Champions League and the Super Cup.
– In 2019, Walkers collaborated with the Spice Girls for a campaign.

**Production and Environmental Impact**:
– Walkers factory in Leicester produces over 11 million bags of crisps daily.
– It uses about 800 tons of potatoes daily for crisp production.
– Walkers started frying crisps in SunSeed oil in 2006 to reduce saturated fat content.
– Walkers initiated a recycling scheme for crisp packets in December 2018 after facing protests.
– UK consumers consume 6 billion packets of crisps annually, with Walkers producing 11 million packets daily.

**Controversies and Competitions**:
– Walkers faced opposition for using real meat products in certain flavors, excluding vegetarians, vegans, Muslims, and Jews.
– The Spell and Go promotion in 2016 faced complaints of being impossible to win.
– Walkers faced backlash for discontinuing the Red Sky range in 2014 due to poor sales.
– Walkers launched competitions like the Walkers Flavour Cup to engage consumers.
– Walkers introduced limited edition vegan flavors in January 2024 for Veganuary.

Walkers Snack Foods Limited, trading as Walkers, is a British snack food manufacturer mainly operating in the UK and Ireland. The company is best known for manufacturing potato crisps and other snack foods. In 2013, it held 56% of the British crisp market. Walkers was founded in 1948 in Leicester, England, by Henry Walker. The Walkers family sold the business in 1970 to American food producer, Standard Brands. In 1989, Walkers was acquired by PepsiCo, owners of US snack brand Frito-Lay.

Walkers Snack Foods Limited
  • Walkers Crisps Holdings Limited (1989–1992)
  • Walkers Smiths Snack Foods Limited (1992–1995)
  • Walkers Snack Foods Limited (1995–1999)
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1948; 76 years ago (1948)
Area served
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
ProductsSnack foods
ParentPepsico Holdings

The Walkers factory in Leicester produces over 11 million bags of crisps per day, using about 800 tons of potatoes. According to the BBC television programme Inside the Factory, production of a bag of crisps takes approximately 35 minutes from the moment the raw potatoes are delivered to the factory, to the point at which finished product leaves the dispatch bay for delivery to customers. The company produces a variety of flavours for its crisps. The three main varieties are: Cheese and Onion (introduced in 1954), Salt and Vinegar (introduced in 1967) and Ready Salted. Other varieties include: Worcestershire Sauce, Roast Chicken, Prawn Cocktail, Smoky Bacon, Tomato Ketchup, and Pickled Onion.

The Leicester-born former England international footballer Gary Lineker has been the face of the brand since 1995, featuring in most of its popular commercials and successful advertising campaigns. For the 2011 Comic Relief, four celebrities each represented four new flavours. The Walkers brand (under PepsiCo) sponsors the UEFA Champions League and the Super Cup for the UK and Irish markets. In 2019, Walkers reunited with the Spice Girls, with the 1990s girl band featuring in a campaign.

Since 2008, Walkers has run its "Do Us a Flavour" campaign, challenging the British public to think up unique flavours for its crisps. Six flavours were chosen from among the entries and released as special editions. Consumers could vote on their favourite, and the winner would become a permanent flavour. In 2018, Walkers launched six new flavours to celebrate the brand's seventieth birthday, with each flavour representing a different decade.

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