It’s been 70 years since the first Walkers crisps were made in a humble butcher shop in Leicester. A lot has happened since then; Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the UK’s National Health Service was born, the concord made both its maiden and final flight, and the first mobile phone call was made.
While the world has been changing, Walkers has been making its own little changes in its part of the world, from reformulating our famous crisps, launching new ranges, to supporting the Leicester community.
From a treat for the Leicester community to a national icon
When Walkers crisps was born, amid post-war rationing and a climate of disillusionment, these hand-sliced snacks, served as delightful savoury treats to cheer up the people of Leicester.
As demand increased, Walkers began rolling out new flavours, which are still loved today – Cheese & Onion, Prawn Cocktail, Roast Chicken, Salt & Vinegar – what we now know today as Walkers’ classic range of crisps.
Since then, British taste buds have yearned for more, and Walkers has answered, developing everything from Onion Bhaji to Cheese Toastie & Worcester Sauce, Chili & Chocolate to the more outlandish Cajun Squirrel.
Today, our core Walkers snacks range is in approximately half of all houses in the UK.
Creating healthier choices
The first Walkers crisps were a bit more decadent than those we enjoy today. But as more crisp-lovers became more health-conscious, Walkers created a number of lighter options in response.
In 2011, we launched Sunbites, which contain a third of our daily recommendation of wholegrain in each portion and is 30% lower in fat than standard Walkers. And last year we also relaunched Walkers Oven Baked, which now comes in a whole host of flavours and contains 50% less fat than the average potato crisp.
Over a decade ago, we removed over 70% of saturated fat from Walkers crisps and snacks by switching to healthier oils such as sunflower or rapeseed oil, while still retaining the great taste people know and love. We also removed 25% of the salt from our crisps and have continued to invest in ways to reduce the salt and calories in our products, becoming one of the first companies to sign up to the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal 2017 salt targets.
Our Leicester site is the biggest crisp factory in the world producing 8 million packets of classic Walkers crisps every day.
We’re incredibly proud of our Leicester heritage, even creating the exclusive ‘Salt & Victory’ branded crispsto celebrate Leicester City’s victory in the 2016 Premier League. The special edition packets weren’t available in shops – they were made especially for Leicester City supporters and were given for free as part of the city’s celebrations; a special thank you to our home town.
We also now have multiple sites throughout the UK, employing 2,700 people across our factories in Leicester, Lincoln, Skelmersdale and Coventry.
Walkers has achieved a lot in 70 years, but we wouldn’t be the nation’s favorite crisp brand without our expert team.
We can’t wait to see what the next 70 years brings. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing more stories in the coming weeks to give you an insight into the wonderful world of Walkers crisps.