Many Russian consumers believe potato crisps and other savoury snack foods to be potentially harmful.
This is one of the findings of a survey carried out by the Moscow-based market research group Proryv (Breakthrough to Success) entitled "How to create a successful brand".
The various flavourings used in potato crisps were regarded as simply chemicals, an attitude that put off potential customers wanting a 'natural and useful' product. A thousand interviewees in major cities were asked for their views on 22 of the best-known brands as to such parameters as price, taste, frequency of purchase, variety and packaging.
The answers revealed that most Russians have little or no brand loyalty. What really mattered was visibility; if their usual brand was not on display, they simply took whatever was on the shelf.
Proryv also found that publicity to win high visibility for a product was often far from affective. For example, 61 per cent of those polled knew about beer snacks, a Russian version of pork scratchings made from dried, salted fish such as anchovy, mackerel and squid rings providing an extremely popular accompaniment to beer.
The well publicised brand BEERka came only in third place with 28 per cent of those polled saying they preferred it. In second place was Dalniko with 33 per cent and first place went to Varentsev with 36 per cent.
In the case of potato crisps cheapness of the product was an important factor. In this regard the favourites were 'Russkaya Kartoshka' (Russian Spud) and Moskovski Kartofel (Moscow Potato).
These two domestically manufactured brands were fairly close to one another in the estimation of consumers.
On a scale of one to five Russkaya Kartoshka scored 4.82 and Moskovski Kartofel 4.78. Cheetos, produced by Pepsi-Co, were considered reasonably priced scoring 4.64. The most expensive was Pringles which scored 3.8 compared with an average of 4.38.
Proryv noted that this was only to be expected given the higher production costs of the product. Consumers named Russkaya Kartoshka as not too greasy scoring 4.76 compared with an average of 4.25.
However, this commendable quality appealed to only 0.8 per cent of consumers which explained the relatively modest position the brand had in the market, the survey stated.