- The Smith's Snackfood Company
Smiths in the UK
Smith's Potato Crisps Ltd. was formed by Francis Leigh Smith in the UK after World War 1. The firm started in Cricklewood, London, reputedly in Smith's garage. In 1927 the company expanded into a factory in Brentford, London. This was enlarged in 1930. During the depression Smith travelled to Australia to expand the business. Smiths was later owned by Nabisco, BSN and finally sold to PepsiCo in the 1990s. Subsequently Pepsico withdrew the brand, in favour of Walkers, which had been heavily marketed in a campaign using footballer Gary Lineker. Smiths is now largely controlled by Walkers Crisps in the UK. Many of the products previously owned by Smiths are now labelled as Walkers, although there are still several Smiths branded crisps.
Smiths in Australia
'Smith's Crisps' were first manufactured in Australia in 1931 by Mr. Smith and an associate, George Ensor in leased premises in Sydney's Surry Hills. They were originally made in 20 gas fired cooking pots, then packed by hand and distributed by Nestle confectionery vans.
'Smith's Potato Crisps' sold its early crisps in three penny packets, 24 to a tin. "Twist of salt" sachets were included before pre-salting had been introduced. In March 1932, Smith's Potato Crisps Ltd. went into voluntary liquidation as a result of the Great Depression. However three months later George Ensor tendered for the business put up for sale by the liquidators, and on 13 May 1932, 'Smith's Potato Crisps (Australia)' was formed with the UK Smith's Company holding a majority interest over minor shareholders. Growth after World War II was rapid so a continuous cooker process was introduced to replace the individual cooking pots and in 1960 the production of a one shilling pack for cinemas and a box pack for four shillings was initiated. In 1961 Smith's introduced its first flavoured crisp - chicken. It was a very popular flavour, influencing most competitors at the time to adopt a Chicken variation. Other flavours released were Original and Salt & Vinegar.
Seven years later Associated Products and Distribution Pty Ltd (APD), partnered with AMATIL Ltd, which had built up a significant snack food company that sold chips and nuts and bought a 41.5% share of Smith's Potato Crisps (Australia)s parent company. Over the next 20 years other takeovers and new products (including Twisties and Burger Rings brands) drove growth. By May 1989, the parent company involved with Smith's, APD and AMATIL Ltd was agreed to be bought out by the Coca-Cola Company. In October 1989, Coca-Cola Amatil was formed and in March 1990, the APD name was replaced by 'CCA Snackfoods'. On 4 January 1993, the Coca-Cola Amatil sold CCA Snackfoods to United Biscuits of the United Kingdom and The Smith's Snackfood Company was formed.
The Smiths Snackfood company in 1998 was Australia’s largest producer of salty snack foods and was acquired in August 1998, by Frito-Lay the second largest producer of salt snack foods in Australia, which is owned by PepsiCo. To prevent the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) from intervening for unfair trading practices Frito-Lay divested a range of brands, manufacturing facilities, including plants in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. The package was named Snack Brands Australia and was sold to Dollar Sweets Holdings. Coincidentally Frito-Lay's British subsidiary Walkers are the successor to the original Smiths Crisps Ltd. of England. Recently, portions contained in "large" bags of Smith's Snackfood products has diminished, from in some cases, 220g down to 175g.
Currently sold products
- Smith's Crinkles (The Original and the Best) (Crinkle Cut Potato chips)
- Smith's Selections (Thinly sliced Potato chips)
- Salt 'n' Shake (now sold by Walkers Crisps)
- Red Rock Deli (Thick sliced premium Potato chips)
- Doritos (Corn chip)
- Twisties (Cheese flavoured snacks)
- Cheetos (Cheese flavoured balls)
- Burger Rings (Hamburger flavoured snack)
- Parker's (Pretzels)
- Nobby's (Nuts)
- Stax (Pringles opposition)
- Toobs (Tomato Flavoured Snack)
- Chipsticks (Salt and vinegar flavour maize snack)
- Frazzles (Bacon flavour)
- Quavers UK only (Cheese flavour, now made by Walkers)
- Grain Waves (Wholegrain chips)
Previously sold products
- Ruffles (Crinkle Cut potato chips)
- French Fries (Small crisp potatoes straws similar in appearance and taste to french fries) - now owned and manufactured by Arnotts
- Thins (Thinly sliced potato chips) - now owned and manufactured by Arnotts
- Smiths Jackets Manufactured during the mid 1980s, these were crisps where the potatoes had not been peeled, leaving potato skin around the edges. There was an advert which featured dancing potatoes singing "We want to be jackets" in falsetto voices, and the slogan "So good, every potato wants to be one".
- Twists manufactured during the 1970s, these were available in Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, and Ready Salted.
- Monster Munch (still manufactured, under the Walkers name)
- Quavers (still manufactured, under the Walkers name)
- Tubes (manufactured during the 1980s, these were available in Lightly Salted and Salt & Vinegar) [there was even a variation of them in the early 90s called 'Tuba Loops', in Ready Salted flavour].
In other countries
- Smiths came to Pakistan with the slogan "the worlds best snacks" a huge product range and double the price of existing chips. Now only one product is sold.
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