Mondelez is extending its Ritz biscuit brand into crisps in an attempt to establish itself in a European category where it has it a limited foothold and says is currently worth £2.3bn.
The extension, dubbed “Ritz Crisp & Thin”, hits UK stores this month and aims to further inflate a brand Mondelez claims is worth £19m in the market, growing at 33 per cent in value sales annually.
To give the crisps cut through, the snacks maker will bake it into a wider £10m nationwide push for Ritz across TV, outdoor, sampling and in-store. The campaign, which has been created by Mother, will be rolled out over the next seven months with TV and outdoor in the summer ahead of activity from H+K Strategies and HeyHuman, all of which is media planned by PHD.
The Ritz brand is at the tip of the company’s renewed charge on the biscuit category in the UK that saw it return to TV after 30 years in 2014 after value sales grew 12 per cent between 2012 and 2014. A successful move into crisps could open up new occasions for the company, which does not have any major presence in the category.
Kate Wall, senior brand manager for crisps and snacks for Mondelez in the UK and Ireland, said the product would “explode” the savoury market with a “premium brand positioning” for those “Ritz-Up” occasions.
“It marks an important step in our journey to become a global snacking business,” she added. “Ritz is an iconic brand with 93 per cent consumer awareness, but we want to build on this and engage with younger consumers, without losing what is special and unique about the brand. Mother perfectly captured where we should take Ritz, in a very fresh way, whilst retaining its strong heritage."
Ritz’s crisp extension follows a template fast becoming the norm for Mondelez’s top brands, whereby it leverages its dominance of one category to make headway into another. Cadbury and Oreo have been the main beneficiaries of this strategy to date with both occupying one another’s shelf space as well as those of Philadelphia and the Tassimo coffee machines.
The move is the company’s latest attempt to adapt to changing lifestyles in developing markets where its core audience of millennials are leaning toward healthier alternatives.
Revenue in its fourth quarter fell 6.9 percent year-on-year to $8.8bn in the quarter that ended 31 December. While pricing gains and strong sales of its power brands, of which Ritz is one of, softened the decline, Mondelez was weaker by volumes in the North American market.