Gone are the days when the most exciting pub crisps you could get your gnashers round was a Nice 'N' Spicy Nik Nak. The traditional pub snack has gone posh. Brands such as Tyrrells, Burts and Pipers have premiumised the market. No longer is it just the packet of salt & vinegar or cheese & onion behind the bar but variants such as Tyrrells Goat’s Cheese, Garlic & Rosemary; Burts Firecracker Lobster and Pipers Wissington Tomato.
Remember that old TV advert for KP Nuts with the strapline “you’ll never know when the nibbles will strike”. Well, nibbling nuts has remained a popular past-time in pubs up and down the country. In 2010, KP even went jumbo to appeal to hungry pubgoers. Then there is that gag about Mary when she walks up to the bar and the landlord Cyril asks: “Why don’t you try my nuts, love?
“Keep your nuts you yourself,” Mary responds.
“I only like Nobby’s”.
“Nobby!” Cyril yells to a punter propping up the end of the bar: “Give Mary your nuts”.
It may be crude but Nobby’s is one of the brands that has reinvigorated the sector with exciting new flavours and variants. There is also hot nuts with brands such as Sahara and even the onslaught of wasabi, chilli and jalapeno variants.
There are so many gags we can make about the pork scratching but despite that they remain a popular pub favourite. A number of pubs have even launched Cock Scratchings onto its menus, to appeal to the hungry diners. And like every other segment there have been attempts to premiumise with exotic variants such as Mr Trotter’s pork scratchings in flavours such as jalapeno chilli and English mustard. Mr Porky’s has even ventured out from just scratchings to pork crackles and crunch. And even celebrity pub chef Tom Kerridge has got in on the act and launched his own range.
The pickled egg is a truly British institution but many have been concerned about eating out of a jar of stinky floating eggs. But the Scotch egg has seen a massive revival in recent years. Who would have thought a fist-sized boiled egg covered in a lump of sausage meat would be so popular? The bar snack staple fell from grace for quite a few years but has seen a resurgence as chefs battle it out for the best combination in cut-throat Scotch Egg competitions.
Popcorn used to be the cinema snack that snogging couples would be nibbling before the lights went down. Sugar or salt would be the choices but now posh popcorn is the buzz phrase. It's gone gourmet like everything else and also has a good GP mark up. Tyrrells even calls its brand Poshcorn boasting flavours such as Coconut & Caramel and Summer Strawberries & Cream. Consett Popcorn has even launched one calls Psycho Corn, made with Bangaldeshi Naga Jolokia chilli peppers.