European savoury snacking giant Intersnack acquired Tyrrells last week, a surprise move that came less than six months after the UK-based hand-cooked crisps manufacturer was taken under Hershey’s wing.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but if Intersnack was able to buy Tyrrells at a discount, as The Grocer suggested, then so much the better. Intersnack does not yet have a brand with the premium, craft snacking appeal of Tyrrells. Nor does it have a US presence, which it will gain through Tyrrells’ footprint in the country.

Buying up assets that Hershey clearly did not feel suitable for a major US push may seem an odd way to conduct a market entry. However, as it does in all of its international markets, Tyrrells promotes itself as an eccentric English heritage brand in the US. It will find a warm reception there over the coming months, buoyed by royal family fever, which is in part being driven by political disillusionment.

A US audience of 29.2 million people tuned in to see Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry, with their nuptials being carried live by 14 US networks, according to Nielsen. This was more than the 23 million US viewers who watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton.

The Tyrrells positioning is firmly at the craft end of snacking, with a story focused on provenance and pedigree. Its website promotes potatoes grown at the company’s farm and crisps being handmade in small batches.

Snack manufacturers face several challenges that will impact growth; among them are negative perceptions of health and consumers becoming bored with traditional snacking options. The key to sidestepping this and enjoying growth will be identifying healthier, but exciting, innovation. This is something Tyrrells – with flavours such as black truffle and sea salt or ham and cranberry crisps – is well placed to do. The firm has also been addressing the war on sugar and salt with a ‘naked’ or no-salt variety of crisps. Meanwhile its root vegetable crisps and premium popcorn, or ‘Poshcorn’, are both on trend.

Hershey bought Tyrells in December 2017 when it acquired the Amplify Snacks group for around $1.6bn. Tyrrells had been valued at around $391m when Amplify took it over in 2016.

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