Whitbread is aiming to rejuvenate the widget ale sector by slashing the price of its market-leading brand Boddingtons.
The brewer is preparing to cut the price of widget beers Boddingtons draught and the premium hybrid Boddingtons Manchester Gold to realign them more closely to non-widget canned ales.
Boddingtons marketing manager Stuart MacFarlane says research showed consumers were no longer prepared to pay the 1 or more price difference between a four-pack of widget and non-widget beers, except as a weekend treat.
Last year, a four-pack of Boddingtons Draught ale cost 4.55, and 3.99 on promotion, this year it will be 4.29 and 3.69 on promotion. A four-pack of standard non-widget ale costs about 3.49.
The premium Manchester Gold, which is priced at a 15 per cent premium to the core brand, will also be reduced accordingly.
MacFarlane says: “We think the ideal price gap between widget and non-widget should be between 60p and 80p instead of 1 and 1.20. This is good news for suppliers, retailers and consumers.”
He says investment in all above-the-line advertising and promotion in the brand will be unaffected by the pricing changes.