Walker’s Shortbread unveils travel retail exclusive range; Dufry UK the first to list

By Luke Barras-hill |

Shoppers in travel retail will benefit from a premium, elevated gifting offer from Walker’s.

Walker’s Shortbread is launching a global travel retail range in collaboration with Dufry that is set to land at more than 55 of its sites worldwide, TRBusiness can reveal.

The 19-strong collection, available at a RRP of between £6/$8 – £15/$20, is set to go live in April.

To begin, it will be available on a two-month exclusive basis with the global travel retailer in the UK.

From June, the premium gifting range will hit shelves across the global Dufry estate and stock with other operators such as Lagardère Travel Retail in the UK.

The independent, family run Scottish brand plans to share the range more broadly with Qatar Duty Free, Bahrain Duty Free, Dubai Duty Free and DFS in the US.

Walker’s is also in discussion with Aer Rianta International to list the GTR range.

MILESTONE PARTNERSHIP

By introducing the range with Dufry [at present, Walker’s works with Dufry’s local teams in the UK, Kuwait and Jordan and the range will move globally to total 55 Dufry sites worldwide as mentioned – Ed] the Aberlour-based shortbread maker has activated the largest global retail partnership in its history as it seeks to evolve the brand in line with heightened customer and consumer demand.

The new Walker’s Shortbread GTR range comprises new products, tailored exclusives and updated lines, while staying true to Walker’s all-butter taste and high quality ingredients. Pictured is the dedicated Scotland World of Walker’s Assortment Gift Box.

 

This range includes five Gift Tubes (Shortbread Thistle Rounds, Chocolate Chip Shortbread, Highlanders, Oat Shortbread, and Salted Caramel & Chocolate Shortbread, all 200g); Shortbread Petticoat Tails Gift Box (225g); Shortbread Scottie Dogs Gift Box (150g) and the World of Walker’s Assortment Gift Box (320g).

The last features whimsical illustrations of iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and the Acropolis.

Bolstering the lineup are refreshed bestsellers with the Shortbread Fingers Twin Pack (750g), while two sharing bags will be available with Shortbread Fingers and Chocolate Chip Shortbread (250g).

UK-specific skus complete the range, with three Sense of Place Gift Boxes, each customised with illustrations of historical landmarks including Edinburgh Castle (containing Thistle Shortbread, 200g); Big Ben*, including Union Jack Shortbread, (175g); and Tower Bridge, also containing Union Jack Shortbread (175g).

Plus, Walker’s is presenting London and Scotland World of Walker’s Assortment Gift Boxes (320g) and two Gift Tube Triple Packs (Classic Scotland and Decadent Favourites).

Meanwhile, Walker’s Royal Tins will continue to be stocked across UK Dufry Stores and will showcase a new celebratory Jubilee Tin.

“We want to bring excitement and enjoyment to travel retail consumers as they travel through the airports,” Amy Youl, Global Travel Retail Account Manager, Walker’s told TRBusiness. “We think this is a really exciting range and we are hoping to see it globally with all the key travel retailers.”

Asked about the timing of the launch, she said: “Travel retail has been impacted by Covid and we wanted to take this time to really understand what role travel retail plays with the consumer and what role Walker’s plays in that journey.

“We have been working very closely with the Dufry team to understand the travelling consumer and ensure we can deliver a really exciting and engaging range that meets their needs.

“We wanted to launch as the industry was opening back up and felt it was right to partner with Dufry on this as we’ve been working with them for a long time in travel retail.”

A new ‘World of Walker’s label, gold embossing and the iconic global landmarks on select products are designed to make the latest range appealing as both a souvenir and gifting item.

Amy Youl, Global Travel Retail Account Manager, Walker’s Shortbread.

ON-PACK QR CODE

To maximise customer engagement and sell-through, high-trafficked Dufry locations at Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5 will benefit from uprated wall bays and digital screens.

In-store fixtures have been refreshed to align with a new contemporary look and feel for the brand, supported by permanent stands and tailored point-of-sale marketing.

In a first move, the range is embossed with an on-pack QR code that imparts information on the product, its ingredients, sustainability credentials and the brand, translated into approximately 30 languages.

The QR code links to a dedicated website where the customer can find details on the specific sku and learn more about Walker’s sustainability ethos and responsible business practice targets.

Walker’s says the inclusion of the QR code on the packaging allows for bespoke retailer promotions and added consumer engagement to drive activity across the markets.

Seasonal tasting and sampling activities are already being planned for later in the year, covering sites such as Heathrow Terminal 2 and Gatwick’s newly reopened South Terminal.

As travel reignites, consumers are keen to re-engage with brands via samplings and tastings but the health situation is always front-of-mind.

Walker’s says it has enlisted an agency to better understand what necessary protocols are needed to reassure consumers when it comes to safety and comfortability around tastings.

The company confirms that product giveaways, GWPs and different packaging formats are an area of exploration and one that could become more important as impending UK retailing restrictions on the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) loom [new rules on HFSS are due to come into force in October 2022 – Ed].

Philippe Moryl, Global Head of Category – Confectionery & Food at Dufry said: “The launch of this new global travel retail range is another example of the way in which Dufry and its global brand partners are collaborating to adapt the travel retail offer to customers’ evolving lifestyle agendas.

“Not only do we bring travel retail exclusive products to our customers, but we also create a strong base for future growth focusing on quality, sustainability, and digitalisation. We are delighted to continue our journey with Walker’s and very much look forward to developing our collaboration beyond the UK and taking this category to the next level.”

SUSTAINABILITY: WALKING THE TALK

Joseph Walker founded the company when he opened a village bakery in 1898 within Speyside’s village of Aberlour.

Since then, Walker’s has stayed true to its roots by fostering a responsible approach that extends not only to the ingredients found in its food production, but a respect for the welfare of its workforce and the relationships it holds with local suppliers and businesses.

Recipes are 100% vegetarian; contain no animal fats, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colours, flavourings, preservatives or hydrogenated fats; and raw ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.

Among its achievements, the firm is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, sourcing palm oil from sustainable forests, and the Vegetarian Society and is certified to produce organic products by the Soil Association.

Nicky Walker was appointed Managing Director of Walker’s Shortbread earlier this year.

A GTR FOOTPRINT SINCE 1975…

The company has also implemented a range of sustainable measures spanning packaging, energy efficiency, water and waste management, and transportation.

In an ode to that commitment, Walker’s has introduced recyclable paper skillet across most of its lines, fully recyclable paper [outer] sharing bags and fully recyclable Gifting Tubes featuring paper bases.

“Sustainability was a huge piece of this work [around the range launch],” continued Youl. “We are also continuing to improve our technology and investing in different ways to minimise our plastic use and, where possible, use FSC (certified) card to ensure we are managing the impact on forests. All our paper is supplied from the UK.”

Nicky Walker, recently appointed as Managing Director of Walker’s, said: “We are excited about the new launch, and I am delighted that the new range continues to represent Scotland at its finest. We are also delighted to continue our excellent partnership with a company that holds similar values and ambition to us.

“We have been operating in travel retail since 1975 and it remains hugely important to us that our heritage is both celebrated and respected as we continue to shape a stronger future by working with ambitious global companies such as Dufry.”

The Scottish Highlands manufacturer currently works with Lagardère Travel Retail, WHSmith and Caviar House & Prunier in the UK.

Outside of the UK – in addition to the aforementioned Middle East retailers – Walker’s is listed with the likes of Morocco Duty Free (Dufry) and World of Delights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

In addition to airport retail, Walker’s also has a presence with cruiselines and ferries and is onboard with Qatar Airways.

The independent, family run company is headed today by founder Joseph Walker’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“Travel retail is very important to Walker’s; it’s been a part of the business for a long time,” concluded Youl. “However, we recognise that there is a bigger opportunity and Walker’s has a place in travel retail.

“We now have a dedicated team for travel retail and are working with retailers such as Dufry to really understand the consumer and ensure they deliver a product that suits.

“This has been a significant undertaking by the brand with everyone involved from all areas of the business and has really highlighted to key stakeholders the importance of travel retail. It will continue to form part of the strategic plan of the company.”

For more from Walker’s Shortbread, stay close to TRBusiness…

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