Wotsits
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Wotsits

Wotsits are a British snack product that was first sold by a company called Golden Wonder. The product is made today by a company called Walker Crisps. There are various flavors of Wotsit, and they are one of the most delightful crunchy snacks that you can enjoy in the UK. For those who love Cheetos and other cheesy puffed snacks, Wotsits are a great snack choice.

The silly name, plus the zany commercials that the product became associated with, made this a really successful snack product in the UK which has continued to hold its own over the years despite many other similar products coming onto the snack scene. 

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Wotsits

History

Golden Wonder first introduced Wotsits in the early 90s. When the product was first made, it came in flavors like Cheesy, Crispy Beef, Cheese & Bacon, and Spicy Tomato. Cheese & Bacon and Spicy Tomato were not a big hit, and these two flavors went off the shelves of stores as early as 1993. Smoky Bacon was later replaced in 1998 by Prawn Cocktail. The Crispy Beef variety was later named Barbecue Beef and BBQ Beef.

Golden Wonder named these cheesy little puffed snacks “Wotsits” because this was a play on the word “Whatsit”. In British English, the words sound the same, and so this became the name for this oddball little snack that really didn’t have any other competitors at the time. Extruded and puffed snack varieties were more common in the US at this point than in the UK, making the Wotsit a very different kind of snack product from its competitors.

In the later 90s, the company tried other forms of the Wotsit to see if they would be a hit like the original. “Long Wotsits” were sold to consumers with clever slogans like, “How long is your Wotsit” on the bag. They then made “Weenie Wotsits” which carried the slogan, “Little Wotsits for weenie mouths!”. “Wotsit Wafflers” made their debut in 2000, and “Wotsits Mealtime Potato Shapes at the end of the same year.

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“Whopping Wotsits were offered by Golden Wonder in 2001 with the slogan, “Wot a Whopper!” on the bags. The company also teamed Wotsits up with some promotional efforts, such as a partnership with the BBC for Robot Wars promotion. They also offered up a “Footie Flikka” partnership, and Mealtime Potato Shapes were released in McDonald’s restaurants along with Witosits Wafflers. In 2002, Golden Wonder combined forces with FIFA for the 2002 World Cup to offer “Wotists Goalden Ball” during the promotional period for the game.

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To replace the “Weenie Wotsit” the company came out with “Wotsits Micro Snacks” in 2001. These were actually microwave-friendly versions of the crunchy snacks and were advertised as being a, “Deliciously hot cheesy snack”. There was an oven-based product made as well called the, “Wotsits Wafflers Cheesy Potato Shapes”.

In 2002, Golden Wonder decided to sell Wotsits. Walkers bought this single product from the Golden Wonder stable, and the rest of their products were sold to Longulf. Walkers had tried to license and sell Cheetos in the UK under the branding owned by PepsiCo but without success. The Wotsit was their second attempt to enter this part of the snack space.

Walkers occupies the same place in the UK market as brand giant Lays in the US. They are the purveyors of all kinds of snack products, and they were the logical company to take over the very popular and very creative Wotsit product. There are many puffed corn snacks on the market today, and standing out from the crowd for a product that is competing with giants in the space, like Cheetos, can be tough. However, Wotsits had the advantage of having arrived in the UK before products that were very popular in the US, and their clever name and even more clever marketing style had cemented them in popular culture.

Best of all, the Wotsit is not full of nearly as many artificial flavorings and colors as many other snacks that they compete with. Make no mistake, this is not a health food product, but it is not a snack that will cause you to lose sleep over the unrecognizable ingredients that populate the back of the bag. For those who worry about these things when snacking, Wotsits are a better choice than so many other products.

This meant a redesign of the entire product line and the marketing materials that went along with it. BBQ beef was replaced with Flamin’ Hot, and the company decided to release a product called “Wotsits Twisted” which is a corn twists product that is offered in BBQ and Really Cheesy varieties.

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Walkers actually changed all of the packaging for every product in their stable in 2007 and then changed the Wotsit branding again in 2009 to show their “99 calories or less” tag as they engaged in a marketing plan targeted at, “New Year New Me” marketing. This branding lasted until 2012, when the Walkers logo was added again. The rest of the flavor varieties were pulled off shelves for a time during this period as well, and only the “Really Cheesy” variety was offered.

Wotsits Wafflers came back to stores in 2012 but only in Bacon flavor. A limited edition flavor called, “Zombie Fingers” was introduced in 2013 and has been returned to the shelves of stores around the UK at Halloween every year since. These are the same products but larger, and they are sold in the Flamin’ Hot flavor. 

By 2020, the older flavor varieties were clearly being missed by those who were loyal to the brand. Walkers responded by releasing the flavors that people had been begging to see back on store shelves. Prawn Cocktail was the last of the traditional flavors to return to stores, having just started being offered again in 2022.

The Walkers brand has tried almost as many variations of this product lineup as Golden Wonder did. However, they have not associated the product with any sponsorships and have tried to strip down the varieties to the basics. This has appeared to satisfy those who are brand loyalists for the time being. This seems to be a product that is very easy to customize and change to experiment with new ideas, and Wotsit lovers can probably count on their favorite snack being released in new flavors and varieties over and over again.

Varieties

  • Wotsits Celery
  • Wotsits Crunchy
  • Wotsits Flaming Hot
  • Wotsits Giants
  • Wotsits Sizzling Steak
  • Wotsits Prawn Cocktail
  • Wotsits Really Cheesy
  • Zombie Fingers- seasonal

Marketing

Over the years, the marketing for this product has changed a lot, but the original Wotsits products were created to be a little offbeat and strange and to have really memorable packaging. The products are still sold with zany riddles and jokes on the back of each bag that are not usually all that funny. This is because the jokes are meant to be “cheesy” just like the products inside the bag.

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The simple new livery of all of the Walkers products is a big departure from the Golden Wonder marketing style for Wotsits, but it does stand out just because it’s so simple. Most of the Wotsits bags are a single color related to the flavor inside the bag, and they usually just indicate the flavor in smallish lettering in the middle of the bag. A picture of the Wotsits you can find inside the bag is located to the right of the flavor name.

The Wotsits logo is bright orange, and the font is intentionally shaped like the Wotsits themselves. The product bags also state that they are “baked” which is indicated above the logo. There is not much to indicate anything exciting or creative is going on inside the bags of chips that are marketed by Walkers, but Wotsits are so well-known these days that this is hardly necessary. This would prove to be a bigger stumbling block in new markets outside of the UK, but Walkers has catered their efforts toward the brand loyalists in Britain.

The ”Really Cheesy” variety is probably the most well-known of the Wotsits, and this is the product that most people think of when they describe what a Wotsi actually is. This variety is sold in a plain blue bag these days with the above indicators of product name and product flavor on the bag. If you are looking for something that is very close to a Cheeto in nature, this is the version of the Wotsits that you will want to order. You should be able to find these products for sale online if you want to give the Wotsits brand a try.

Logo

Wotsits Logo

Ingredients

From a Tesco listing:

  • Maize
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Cheese Flavour [Dried Cheese (from Milk) (7%), Milk Lactose, Flavour Enhancer (Disodium 5′-Ribonucleotide), Acid (Lactic Acid), Colours (Paprika Extract, Annatto), Natural Flavourings, Salt, Potassium Chloride]

The company notes that these snacks are made on shared equipment that also handles celery, mustard, barley, gluten, wheat, and soya products.

Nutrition

Serving Size:28 grams (27.7g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories156
Total Fat 9.9g
Saturated Fat1.6g
Trans Fat0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat5.2g
Monounsaturated Fat3g
Cholesterol1.1mg
Salt0.6g
Total Carbohydrates14.8g
Dietary Fiber0.6g
Sugars0.8g
Protein1.6g
Vitamin D0mcg
Calcium15.8mg
Iron0.3mg
Potassium55.2mg
Caffeine0mg

Pictures

Ads:

 A delightfully zany ad from the 90s:

Another classic ad:

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

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