By SAM BUTLER
Britons have been snapping up original snacks from a small Northern Ireland company in their search for deliciously different flavours during the coronavirus lockdown.
As a result of this market trend, Noisy Snacks has doubled its business in Great Britain over the past three months.
Ballygowan-based Noel Allen, founder and managing director of Noisy Snacks, explains: “We pivoted the business during lockdown to focus on online sales and in home snacking.
“As a result of this refocusing, our sales in Britain have enjoyed huge growth while the lockdown closed many of our established outlets in bars and cocktail lounges.
“We’ve found that people there are extremely receptive to trying new things at this time. We have been overwhelmed with demand. People are especially interested in anything that delivers more of a memorable experience.
“Our snacks have been created to give people an engaging experience with bold flavours; with snacks that make lots of noise; snacks that have to be shaken; and snacks that deliver an element of surprise.
“What the lockdown also did was to force us to bring forward plans for a major revamp of our website with an e-commerce section which has enabled us to sell a great deal more online. This important strategic switch was assisted by Invest NI funding to enable us to link up with a specialist web designer.
“I appreciate greatly the Invest NI assistance which helped us to win the new business in Britain,” he adds.
The small company, he continues, has also been repositioned in the marketplace as “more than just offering snacks to a total sensory experience”.
“Every pack of Noisy Snacks is a sensory adventure waiting to happen. It’s the chance to try something new, surprise yourself and – most of all – make some noise,” he explains.
“Noise is our secret ingredient because every time a customer shakes a Noisy Snack pack, the extra flavours at the bottom of the bag are activated. Most snack companies use four per cent flavouring: we use eight per cent. We believe that this doubles the taste, the flavour and the fun,” adds Noel.
A graphic designer and experienced marketer, Noel established Noisy Nuts in 2018 with wife Sarra to market a novel range of flavoured peanuts in cartons aimed initially at the craft beer sector.
The cartons contained peanuts with separate sachets of delicious flavours. Noise resulted when the carton was shaken vigorously when the flavouring was added.
The success of the initial snacks led Noel to widen the range of convenience foods and rebrand the business as Noisy Snacks.
The new snacks featured healthy toasted corn and beans and followed extensive investment in market research, new product development and packaging.
“Our research found that the UK and Ireland snacking industry is valued at £1,489.3 million. As well as the UK and Ireland, we believe there are vast export opportunities. For example, the snacking market in the Netherlands is expected to grow to £1 billion by next year. We’ve already developed contacts there.”
Ultra-convenient and fully recyclable pouches were created for the new snacks.
“We have spent the last year extensively testing our new range on customers all over the UK,” explains Noel.
“People love our enhanced flavours which have double the impact of regular snacks, and they also love our noisy ‘Shake it, to Wake it’ mechanic.
“Shaking the product ensures our bold and exciting flavours give a generous coating around the snacks themselves,” explains Noel.
“They reflect our dedication to creating delicious and healthier snacking experiences that are both memorable and fun. We put taste first and our exceptional flavours tantalise the taste buds.
“Noise is our key product differentiator, however meeting and exceeding customer expectations on taste, feel, and smell are key components to our success in creating a memorable customer experience using all five senses,” he adds.
He describes the snacks as “a guilt-free indulgence with 100 per cent recyclable packaging”.
“They are flexitarian, vegan, gluten free, high in fibre, and a good source of protein,” he continues. Some of the flavours are red curry and coconut, Jamaican jerky, pickled onion, and beef brisket.”