World Cup 2014 fever: Nobody else can seriously compete against snacks, says ESA

World Cup 2014 snack specials: Intersnack is among a mass of snack makers cashing in on the games with special edition products

Savory snacks are a perfect fit for the World Cup and industry has injected huge efforts into flavor development, pack design and marketing campaigns to draw the punters in, says the director general of the European Snacks Association (ESA).

Snack players across the world have developed limited edition products for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Among others, PepsiCo is using Argentina’s Lionel Messi on Lay’s packs; Intersnack is using ‘Chio loves Rio’ as a slogan on its Brazilian-inspired Chio chips; and Kellogg is printing national flags and including memorabilia across its Pringles brands.

Sebastian Emig, director general of ESA, said it was the most important occasion in 2014 for European snack makers.

“The World Cup itself is a mega event. It’s the perfect opportunity for snacks to be a part of sharing and indulgence with family and friends. It’s a no-brainer for companies to get involved,” he told

“Due to the fact it goes over an entire month, it’s the perfect storm for our members to bring their products to the table.

“…I don’t know if anybody else could seriously compete against snack makers,” he said.

Attacking with flavor, scoring with packs 

World Cup 2014: 'It’s a big thing in their books, and for 2014 in Europe it’s the biggest investment for them,' says Sebastian Emig, director general of the European Snacks Association

Many snack makers had planned for the 2014 World Cup for 12-18 months, Emig said, and had ensured logistics were up to speed; running lines on high-capacity and stocking up warehouses.

“It’s a big thing in their books, and for 2014 in Europe it’s the biggest investment for them.”

Nearly every snack manufacturer had worked on Brazil-inspired flavors for the event, he said, most of which were meaty with a hint of fruit. Flavor development was a must during such an event, he added.

“I don’t know any of the big brands that have not developed a specific Brazilian-themed flavor. All of them have.”

The head of flavor innovation for Pringles previously told this site the games would spark development of lemon, lime and salsa snack flavors.

Emig said promotional packaging had also been heavily invested in. Innovation could be seen in logo and image designs, he said, but also structure. “There is one product of salty sticks, for example, which has two compartments – one is labeled ‘first half’ and the other ‘second half’.”

He noted that snack manufacturers had also developed themed shapes of snacks, such as extruded football- and player-shaped snacks. “This is a further development and is definitely something we’re going to see more of.”

World Cup 2014: A friendly for flavors

The World Cup provided a perfect “test lab” for new products, flavors in particular, Emig said. “The consumer is expecting something ready for the specific occasion.”

Asked if special edition flavors could prove successful after the games, he said most would likely be a “one-shot” win.

“I think the majority of consumers are going to be loyal to the traditional brands and flavors once the World Cup finishes, but that doesn’t mean that during this period they’re not going to be more daring,” he said. 

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