Introduction: Harvey Wallbanger, president of Harvey Wallbanger Popcorn, entered the popcorn market in 1972. He is considered to be the person most responsible for creating a gourmet popcorn market in the United States. His claim to fame is that his corn is lighter, fluffier, “tenderer”, and bigger than ordinary popcorn. He also boasts that his popcorn has fewer hard, un popped kernels than competitive products. Harvey’s company sells popcorn to several markets in the United States: 1.
Un popped corn sold to food stores for the consumer to take home. There are several companion products- flavour ed seasoning, cooking oil- and a variety of different size packages including a sealed cooking bag with popcorn, oil, and flavour ing for use in a microwave oven. 2. Bulk popcorn is sold to concessionaires such as movie theatres and sports arenas. 3. Franchising the Harvey Wallbanger Popcorn Shoppe, a gourmet popcorn store, is a new venture.
He has 20 company-owned stores and 120 licensed stores. Franchises of popcorn shops have been successful in the United States, but are considered a fad and only do well in shopping malls and other high-traffic locations. Consumption of popcorn is, however, a staple in American snack diets. Gourmet popcorn stores handle a large variety of savoury favours; sour cream and onion, cheese and spice favours, and jalap e~no are popular additions to the traditional salted, buttered variety. Also included are the various caramel and other sweet favours including watermelon, chocolate, Amaretto, and cherry liquor ice. 4.
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The company is testing a concept of leasing popping equipment to supermarkets for making fresh popcorn for on-premise consumption and also for taking home. For gourmet popcorn shops, he has machines that can pop 1 320 livres of corn in an hour and cook up to 20 savoury favours or seven sweet favours at the same time. He leases a smaller version of these machines to large supermarkets; the few he has in a test market are proving successful. The idea fits in with the move by larger supermarkets to add gourmet foods, delis, and other upscale attractions for customers. 5. His newest venture is fresh-popped corn which is packaged in foil bags for distribution through food stores and wherever corn chips, potato chips, and other snacks are sold.
The company sells regular popcorn plus a line of flavour ed gourmet popcorn. Problem: Wallbanger spent six months in England recently and was surprised that the English ate practically no popcorn, even though they consumed large amounts of other snacks while they drank beer. The only popcorn he could find, besides some stale bagged corn in supermarkets, was caramel corn which wasn’t very popular. Wallbanger believes there is a great opportunity in Great Britain as a whole. The British are big snickers, they visit pubs on a frequent basis, and they are great TV watchers.
He wants to explore the possibility of expanding into Great Britain. At the moment, he is thinking about exporting his franchise gourmet-shop operation and licensing stores to sell his brand of popcorn. Although he is open to suggestions of other possibilities, he is sure, as he told his board of directors, that “Harvey Wallbanger Popcorn will have a major investment in Great Britain within two years.” As his staff assistant, you have been selected to do a preliminary evaluation of the opportunities and problems of selling popcorn in Great Britain, which will be used in the decision whether to enter the British snack market. The British Market: The British make a distinction between savoury (spicy and salty) snacks and sweet snacks. Savoury snacks in Britain include a wide variety of flavour ed potato crisps, extruded snacks such as Bugles, and salted peanuts. Snacking on potato crisps or salted peanuts while drinking beer, especially in pubs, is very traditional social behaviour.
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Snacks are purchased as a companion product to beer and are bought in pubs and in grocery stores for home consumption. As Table 1 shows, 40 percent of all savoury snacks are purchased at grocers and supermarkets, while 25 percent are purchased in public houses and off-license establishments. More important, 50 percent of all nuts are purchased in grocery stores, 24 percent are purchased in pubs, and 6 percent in off license houses. Sixty-five percent of all beer purchased on premises is in pubs (brewery-owned and privately-owned), 21 percent in private clubs, and 11 percent in off-licenses (See Tables 2 and 3 for more detailed data. ).
Many of the snack-food distributors are also owners of off-license houses and pubs. KPs, the best-selling beer nut, is manufactured by a brewer which also owns pubs. Forty-five percent of all pubs are owned by breweries which typically do not carry competing products. Most products sold in brewery-owned or licensed pubs are distributed exclusively by the brewery. Savoury snacks include potato crisps, extruded snacks, and nuts. In 2000, there were 12 700 000 households in Great Britain in which 152 600 tonnes of savoury snacks were consumed (This compares to 3.
1 kilograms per household in France. ).
Pre-packaged nuts have traditionally been marketed and consumed as a snack to go with beer. In Great Britain, to the predominantly male pub-goer, it has been considered manly to consume a fair number of pints of beer.
Since eating any salty snack tends to increase thirst that leads to increased beer consumption, the wise pub owner has always made salty snack foods available. The total savoury snack-food industry in Britain was lb 1. 1 billion for 1997 and grew to over lb 1. 7 billion by 1999. Popcorn is available in Great Britain, but it is usually candied, similar to Cracker Jacks in the United States, and sold in small boxes at the cinema. Fresh, hot, buttered, and salted popcorn is a relatively new product concept in Britain.
One problem in positioning popcorn as a savoury snack is its possible comparison with caramel corn. Butter kist, caramel corn, is essentially a sweet snack and the British tend not to mix sweet with savoury. Fortunately, caramel-flavour ed sweet popcorn products are not particularly popular in Great Britain, so this resistance may be minimal. The favourite snack of the British are crisps, which account for 60 percent of all savoury snacks Great Britain. They do not snack with television as is the case in the United States, but they do snack while drinking beer, visiting bingo halls, and at all sporting events.
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In all these situations, regular or flavour ed crisps and salted nuts are favourites.