Blog: Rest in peace Nik Naks...

Catherine Sleep | 12 January 2006

...farewell Wheat Crunchies. Crisps, chips, call them what you will, it’s a tough old time in the snack world and this week saw the fall of a revered 70s icon.

UK-based crisp maker Golden Wonder has been put into administration, having made significant losses in 2005. The move puts some 850 jobs at risk. As I write this blog, we are told that Irish crisp company Tayto is in negotiations to buy the beleaguered UK manufacturer, but nothing is certain.

When I was a kid Golden Wonder made the crisps we all hankered after, but that was a couple of decades ago and the sector is transformed. When the chips were down (sorry) Golden Wonder was simply fighting a battle on too many fronts. As it said itself, the inventor of cheese and onion crisps could not compete with the might of Pepsi-owned Walkers. But it also faced mounting competition from higher end products such as Kettle Chips, Tyrells and Sensations (yes, as in Walkers Sensations). Perhaps most damaging of all was the onslaught from more upmarket own-label ranges produced by the leading retailers.

If you ask me Golden Wonder made its biggest mistake when it sold Wotsits a few years back. Guess who bought the cheesy puff line? Walkers, of course! Take note: offloading your most successful brand to your archrival is rarely a good idea.

Golden Wonder in administration


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