Sunday 13 November 2011

Hello, Hello, They're Back Again

Whilst reluctantly wandering around the supermarket today, what started as quick visit to purchase some forgotten essentials turned into £70 worth of "other stuff we might need" (damn you 'Buy 1 Get 2 Free' offers - I now have a fridge with 3 blocks of Cheddar Cheese in it.  I din't even realise we needed one block of cheese!)).
During navigation of the Crisps & Snacks aisle, I noticed that Golden Wonder Crisps are back on shelves in fairly large quantities.
(I'm sure they've been there for a couple of months, but had not really noticed).

Growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, there were 3 main suppliers of Crisps & Snacks: Golden Wonder, KP & Smiths (4 if you count supermarket own brands)

In addition to Potato Crisps:
Golden Wonder produced Wotsits, Ringos, and Nik Naks
(Nostalgic Trivia: Golden Wonder also produced the Pot Noodle)
KP gave us Skips & Hula Hoops
and Smiths sold Chipsticks, Quavers, Monster Munch & Twists

In the mid-80s, Smiths was subsumed into Walkers.  Golden Wonder now had stronger competition and would ultimately lose out in "The Crisp Wars".

Competition in business is a good thing.  The purpose of the Monopolies & Mergers Commission is to ensure that competition, and therefore consumer choice, remains in the market place.

The one big problem with Walkers rampant march to Crisp Supremacy was ...
they got bag colours wrong.

As anyone knows, the standard is:
  • Ready Salted - Dark Blue
  • Cheese & Onion - Green
  • Salt & Vinegar - Light Blue
  • Beef - Brown
This is, I understand, the recognised standard for crisp bag identification.
Apart from Beef Flavour, Walkers completely ignored the code.
(Smiths didn't get it completely correct - the Ready Salted flavour Chipsticks was Red, but Salt & Vinegar remained blue (therefore 1 correct + 1 wrong = zero, equilibrium of the universe is maintained).

Golden Wonder remained in competition, primarily in the Snack sector, due to the all-conquering corn-based snack of greatness: Wotsits (available in both Cheesy & Beef varieties).

In 2002, Walkers, backed by the fizzy drink behemoth that is Pepsi, acquired the Wotsits brand from Golden Wonder to enhance their own product range, replacing the frankly dodgy tasting Cheetos.
Golden Wonder limped on and its crisps disappeared from the supermarket shelves.

Now it seems it once again has a strong presence in the Crisps & Snacks aisle.
And, perhaps most importantly, it is using the correctly coloured bags for its potato crisps

And whilst I'm here, wallowing in the nostalgia of the 1980s Potato-based Snacks Battles, the attached video show some more 1980s products that are no more, but may well return as the result of some sort of 'ironic-retro-exploit-the-1980s-and-boost-flagging-sales' future marketing campaign.

1 comment:

  1. I have tried them - the Ringos aren't quite the same but close enough. Golden Wonder also did the great random flavour 'sausage and tomato'. On a similar riff Frazzles were briefly available in egg and bacon variant 77/78 I think..

    Smiths did a frightful flavour {can't remember the flavour}that came in muted maroon and green bag..