Crisps and nuts have long been favoured fodder in pubs and bars, but times are changing and customers are now looking for something a little more special to munch on than a bag of peanuts or pork scratchings. Gone are the days when Walkers and KP commanded all the shelf space in the on-trade, now free houses, gastro pubs and trendy bars are looking for snacks that are in keeping with the great range of drinks they have on offer.
Many pubs have introduced bar snack boards offering tasty handmade finger foods such as Scotch eggs or sausage rolls. However, customers still love packeted grab snacks, but choose them carefully. Pick a range that includes more unusual flavours, consider healthier options, vegan and gluten-free ranges, and if there’s a local snack company offering something great then give it a go. After all, what’s the point of offering a fantastic selection of craft ales when your snacks are run of the mill?
Crisps and snacks are a great add-on sale and a brilliant way to boost margins so don’t dismiss their importance. Low fat and low calorie products are great for those who are watching their weight, or who just want a lighter snack; they also ensure that the customer has a good range of choice which is more likely to lead to purchase.
Display is definitely important and pubs should consider their fixtures and make sure they are as attractive as possible to promote purchases. We can also provide beer mats and table talkers, but we’re finding that many pubs and bars are aiming for more of a rustic feel and instead of displaying snacks on old-fashioned clip strips, they are now using rustic baskets or trays to show what’s on offer. These often sit on the bar top, or at eye level behind it so customers can see exactly what’s available at a glance. Large kilner jars are also a popular mechanism for displaying olives, nuts and healthy nibbles.
What we’re finding is that on-trade customers don’t want to find the same snacks in their local as they do in the supermarket, so make sure you’re offering a good range of choices that are a bit different and ultimately taste great! Many people head to the pub for an experience and a treat, so make sure your snack offering is as exciting as the pints you’re pouring.
By Steve Bush, brand manager at on-trade snack producer, Fairfields Farm