January 30 2015 Latest news:
By annabelle dickson Business writer
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Managing director of Bowthorpe-based Kettle Foods has said the brand’s new tortilla chip product has got off to a good start as the company also plans to bring back two flavours of Kettle Chips to celebrate its 30th birthday.
Dominic Lowe said that the company is “battling” its way through the recession, but continuing to grow.
He said: “We are doing very well. I would be the first person to say it is very tough. There is a lot of pressure from a customer that is relatively short of money. We are promoting more than we ever have in the past. We have just launched tortillas which have got off to a good start.”
Kettle Foods has sales of about £92m in the UK and is growing at about 3.6pc year on year.
Mr Lowe said the new Kettle tortilla had been taken up by all of the main players. “We have got more or less everybody using it,” he said. “Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s. Everybody has been very positive. I believe that Kettle is a brand that can stretch beyond Kettle Chips.”
The tortillas are made in Spain but are packed and distributed from Bowthorpe. Mr Lowe said: “It is all a very important part of keeping the profitability of Kettle. It’s all part of the same thing. Tortillas is a slightly younger audience. There is a real opportunity in that.”
He said that the business did have to strike a balance when it came to innovation.
“We can always do another flavour, but this feels like something different and more likely to provide incremental sales. It is getting the right amount, not too much.”
“It is really interesting for our customers. It is something new to try. It gives the retailers something to do and it allows us a bit of extra space. It is a strategic launch,” he added.
He said: “A new flavour is good as well, but it is not going to provide a long-term growth.”
Kettle is also re-releasing its sea salt, rosemary and garlic and blue stilton and port crisps for a limited period.
During March and April, the company ran a campaign on Facebook to get people to select which flavours from the past they would like to see relaunched and the two flavours won.
He said the company was also looking forward to Christmas.
He said: “My experience is that it is the one time a year people will still make sure they have good quality food in the house. We have another great Christmas planned.”
Around 2,000 Tesco workers discovered their jobs were at risk after the supermarket giant disclosed the locations of 43 store closures including two in Essex - a Homeplus store at Chelmsford and a smaller store in Heybridge.