CASE STUDY: Tyrrells Crisps- Finalist for the Grocer Gold Awards Exporter of the Year


Tyrrells, a success story in the UK, is now becoming a success story around the world. Obsessed with producing high quality products, it has taken a flexible approach to its participation abroad. Working closely with carefully selected partners abroad, it consistently strives to understand local markets, establish the brand with its core range as well as opening new opportunities with a strong and ‘international ready’ innovation funnel. At the same time, Tyrrells focuses relentlessly on developing a brand that is globally aligned and resonates with consumers. Tyrrells takes a piece of England around the world… all from a small farm in Herefordshire.

Export success story

  • With this determination and single-minded focus, Tyrrells has delivered impressive growth of 39% in March 2013. (Source: Internal data March 2013)
  • International trade now represents 25% of the Tyrrells business and the potential is such that similar growth levels are expected for 2013-2014. (Source: Internal data March 2013)
  • In France, Tyrrells currently shows a growth of 52% and holds a total of 2.1% market share of the total crisps market. In fact, in Monoprix, Tyrrells has a 20% market share demonstrating the traction that the brand has achieved. (Source: IRI Symphony France February 2013)
  • In the USA, Tyrrells made its entry in the Top 20 Premium Crisps brands in December 2012 and has reached 18th position in March 2013. (Source: IRI data March 2013)

Secrets to their success in the global market

1/ A clear local brand idea that goes global

In 2012, there were many great reasons to be British. The Olympics and the Jubilee were of course shining examples. As a result, the profile of the nation was raised significantly. In its own way, this is exactly the approach the Tyrrells has taken. A brand based on a farm in Herefordshire that has a quintessentially English personality means that it is able to provide consumers from across the world a little taste of England’s finest.

Products: Rather than replicate the conventions of any single market, Tyrrells remains true to providing great English tastes and flavours. After launching Paprika in Germany, one of the best loved flavours in the market, Tyrrells quickly realised that it was the traditional English flavours that consumers bought into rather than flavours that are already well served in the market place. Tyrrells has now doubled its sales in Germany to about £4m at retail sales value with recipes such as Worcestershire sauce & Sundried tomatoes and Mature Cheddar & Chives. This approach has been consistent across all markets that Tyrrells operates in from Canada to China where consumers are willing to experiment with the traditional English flavours.

PR campaign: Tyrrells does not have an “export and hope strategy”. Communication campaigns were initiated in France in the summer 2011 and in the USA & Netherlands in 2012. These were managed directly from Tyrrells Court Farm, with the support of local PR agencies. Events were organised to present the brand and its origin in a quintessentially English way. For instance, in France, in June 2012, all innovations were presented to journalists and fans on Jubilee Sunday with a garden party in Paris, similar to the streets parties being organised throughout the UK with buntings, Pimm’s, etc. Therefore, key to success has been the support of the brand in each of the key markets around the world.

Digital campaign:Tyrrells focuses on digital content and activities in order to build brand advocacy and develop engaging relationships with consumers. Local websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts were launched to ensure the message was understandable and adapted to the local market. Indeed, in the digital sphere, Tyrrells is striking a fine balance of bringing news from Tyrrells that are local and relevant whilst bringing to life the idea of being quintessentially English.

2/ Market positioning as locally sourced

Based in the idyllic county of Herefordshire, Tyrrells prides itself on making fine, English Hand Cooked crisps. It only uses local potatoes from Herefordshire as the region soils are rich – red and fertile – perfect for growing high quality varieties of potatoes such as Lady Claire and Lady Rosetta. Tyrrells is dedicated to this local sourcing; only working with a dozen local family-farmers, and staying close to the whole process from buying the seed to harvesting, ensuring that high standards of quality are always maintained. This local sourcing and care resonates strongly with consumers all around the world, who are increasingly conscious about where their food is coming from. This global trend and Tyrrells obsession to the highest levels of quality allowed the brand to establish itself at the premium end of each market.

3/ Tyrrells approach to innovation

All major innovations are ‘international ready’, and prepared for immediate distribution in main markets. For example, in April 2012, the range of TorTyrrells tortillas were launched with Dutch retailer Albert Heijn within 4 weeks of launching with Waitrose and COOP in the UK.

Some of the ‘focus’ markets are becoming so important for Tyrrells that they actually influence the development of innovation. In France, Tyrrells is well known for its vegetable crisps and the assortment ‘Beetroot, Parsnip & Carrot’ is one of the star products. Constant innovation in the vegetable category has therefore become critical in France to retain leader position. This resulted in the development of innovation ‘Crinkly Veg’ (crinkle cut assorted veg crisps with rosemary & wild garlic) which was launched in March 2012 in France, ahead of launch with Waitrose in May 2012.

4) Tyrrells builds success stories by participating in a relevant way

Tyrrells is committed to developing a strong international business. This has required developing deep understanding of the markets, building strong relationships with local partners as well as acting with speed and efficiency in front of local (or global) giants. Each market is at a different life stage and the below illustrates how Tyrrells has adapted its participation to the varying conditions.

a)    Create a premium segment in the crisps market in France In partnership with our Paris-based distributor Fresh Food Village, Tyrrells has established a leadership position in the crisps category to the point that the premium segment is now commonly called ‘the English crisps’ segment.

b)   Build a presence in a mature and crowded market in USA – In order to enter the market in a profitable way and build a significant presence, Tyrrells appointed a new representative in 2010 (Greenseed). The strategy identified was to build on early distribution gains on the East Coast and then target the natural channels in order to expand and build consumer demand in an in-store environment less crowded than the main crisps aisle. It is a strategy of slower build, that needs to take into consideration the sheer size of the country and the reality of its retailers regional clusters. The reality is that the movement from high quality independent stores into larger multiples is exactly the same approach as the brand has followed in the UK.

c)    Share the premium segment with another strong player. In Germany, Tyrrells appointed an experienced new distribution partner (Genuport) to leverage their experience in building strong premium brands in the German retail environment. In the Netherlands, after establishing the brand directly in Albert Heijn, Tyrrells partnered with local entrepreneur Pascal Camps (Camps Food) to develop the brand further.

Where next?

In 2012, Tyrrells has also created a solid platform for long term growth in developing markets, ostensibly in the BRIC markets. Levels of support are tailored based upon past and potential performance, as well as an eye to how large the premium market really could be. This is the seedbed for future key markets and the growth of the business aims to track the growth in the middle classes and development of the retail environment.

For example, In China, Tyrrells launched the brand through Sinodis, a highly-regarded distributor based in Shanghai. This will be a ‘slow burn’ and complex market requiring disproportionate levels of investment but sales in 2012 were already exceeding initial expectations.Tyrrells secured distribution in Carrefour, Auchan, Family Mart and Vanguard as well as other prominent retailers with distribution on the eastern seaboard (Shanghai, Shenzhen), southern China and Beijing.


Tyrrells has a balance of farm credentials and an entertainingly English approach. This authenticity is something that people are understanding and buying into abroad as much as they do at home in the UK.

With this determination, as well as the understanding of the local markets and adaptation of its participation to the local realities, Tyrrells has delivered an impressive growth with an impressive 25% of its revenue coming from the international stage.

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