131-year old Whitworths celebrates its best year yet


Healthy food brand Whitworths, has reported its most successful year to date out of 131 years in business following a significant increase in sales.

The UK’s leader in dried fruit, nuts and seeds (DFNS) saw a huge uplift in sales, with 57.8% brand growth in the last 52 weeks. This has been driven by the brand’s move towards developing snacking ranges to meet the needs of today’s consumer, no matter their age.

This record-breaking year has contributed a massive 71% to the total DFNS category value growth. Without Whitworths, sales from other branded products within the category would be in decline. However, because Whitworths introduced 258k new customers to the DFNS category last year and gained more than 1.6 million new shoppers in total, brands are growing seven times faster than own-label products**.

Phil Gowland, marketing director at Whitworths, said: “Our results are exceedingly impressive and demonstrate that by understanding our consumers and our market, and sticking to our key principles we can really deliver. We pride ourselves on offering healthier snacking options that taste great, no matter the age of the consumer, and know our product must fit into consumers lives, and importantly, shopping missions. We have high hopes that the momentum will continue throughout 2018 as we continue to focus on developing and enhancing our DFNS snacking offering.”

One key driver of the DFNS category is the popularity of Whitworths’ Shots range, which is currently growing at 74.2% YOY, and is also introducing younger consumers to the category. The range is made up of eight flavour variants, each with a selection of dried fruit, nuts, seeds and a hint of indulgence such as chocolate or biscuit pieces to make it feel like a treat. Each pack is under 100 calories, and available in perfectly portioned, hand-held packs.

Following the success of Whitworths Shots, in 2017 the brand extended the range with Whitworths Shots Nuts to meet the consumer desire for high-protein and plant-based alternative snacking. Whitworths Shots Nuts provides the recommended daily nuts portion in a single pack (25g), combining a mixture of natural and flavoured nuts in one of four flavours; Touch of Chilli, Dash of Salsa, Hint of Smoke and Pinch of Salted Caramel.

In addition, Whitworths’ core snacking ranges, which include multi-serve and single serve packs, have contributed to brand growth following an increased demand from consumers for traditional tree fruit products, such as dates and apricots. The snacking ranges are only set to grow in popularity as Whitworths gains further distribution in new and existing channels.

But it’s not just adult snacking that is a focus. Whitworths launched its Bright Little Nuts range at the end of 2017, which is the only natural nut snacking option for children aged 5+. The three tasty varieties – almond halves, mini cashews and mini hazelnuts – are packed with health benefits including vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre. Each 20g snack pack contains just the right amount of halved or mini nuts to help children to refuel. Bright Little Nuts were recently part of the government’s Change4Life campaign to help families choose healthier snacks and reduce their children’s sugar intake.

Whitworths also recognises that it is vital these healthy alternative products do not compromise on taste, which is a careful consideration when it comes to NPD for the brand.

To continue the momentum for Whitworths, 2018 kick-started with a variety of activity, including sampling, price promotions and an out of home media campaign in key commuter hot spots within four major cities; London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, which reached 12 million people. Additionally, Whitworths appointed a new PR and Social Media agency, McCann Birmingham, to help raise awareness of the positive benefits of healthy snacking, as well as promote the brand.