Responding to a changing market
A Golden Wonder case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Golden Wonder 4 Image 1Golden Wonder has been one of the most easily recognisable household names for over fifty years. It has developed a product portfolio which includes crisps, such as Golden Wonder and Groovers, and snacks, such as Wotsits, Nik Naks, Wheat Crunchies and Jungle Fresh nuts.

Golden Wonder has always considered innovation to be important. The company pioneered the first ready salted crisps, as well as flavoured crisps – introducing Oxo, followed shortly by Cheese and Onion and Salt and Vinegar which remain the most popular flavour of crisps available today. In 1995, Golden Wonder was acquired by a management buy-out (MBO) team which has been determined to remain one step ahead of the competition through continuous innovation and perpetual change. A management buy-out occurs when the current management team of the business takes over ownership of the business where they are employed, with backing from institutional investors.

It is important that companies view today’s market-place as being dynamic rather than static. The most successful organisations in the competitive world are those which are market orientated and not product orientated, i.e. they analyse the changes that are taking place in the marketplace and respond to these changes. In order to appreciate exactly what it is that the market wants, an organisation must be prepared to carry out market research. Although the changes occurring in the market-place are beyond the direct control of the organisation, such change must be seen as inevitable and should not be feared.

This case study focuses on how Golden Wonder has responded to the constantly changing snack and crisp market. It examines the development of Golden Lights, a low fat potato snack, and considers how Golden Wonder has been able to anticipate a consumer need and satisfy it profitably. Golden Wonder was able to recognise some fundamental changes in factors external to the organisation which would change the very nature of the market in which it had been a major player for so long. Some of these changes would prove to be beneficial and others problematic. Devising a strategy to meet these challenges required extensive market research, considerable investment in research and product development and the careful implementation of a marketing strategy to launch and support the new product - Golden Lights. To begin with, let us consider the changing nature of the snack market and the reasons behind these changes.

Golden Wonder | Responding to a changing market