Cheese and onion is UK's top potato snack flavor

Fri Mar 6, 2009 6:52am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Crumbs -- the numbers on ready salted potato crisps have been crunched and cheese and onion is Britain's new favorite flavor.

Market research firm Mintel said sales of cheese and onion crisps -- known as potato chips in other parts of the world -- have soared by 15 percent in the last two years to 256 million pounds ($364.1 million).

Long-time bestseller ready salted fell to second place in the hearts and stomachs of the nation despite a 5 percent rise in sales between 2006-8, while traditional favorite salt and vinegar saw its popularity slip with sales down 7 percent.

However, overall sales of the three most popular crisp flavors still dominate the market, accounting for almost two-thirds of 1.47 billion pounds worth of crisps Britons chomped their way through last year.

"Despite the ongoing development of new and exciting flavors, the traditional favorites still win hands down," said Mintel analyst Emmanuelle Bouvier.

Mintel said that while recent sales had risen impressively, the market was unlikely to grow in the next five years as the credit crunch cut the amount people munched.

In Britain, chips always refer to the deep fried potato chunks commonly called french fries or chips in other parts of the English-speaking world or frites in French.

(Reporting by Michael Holden)