Premier Foods sees sales fall, but market share rise

Premier Foods, owner of brands including Hovis, Quorn, Hartleys and Sharwoods, has posted a 5.1% fall in group sales for the first three months of the year, but says its brand market shares are continuing to increase in a challenging environment.

The company says that its branded sales remained the same as last year, but volumes increased by 2.2%, helping it boost its market share in the UK.

It is hoping that its investments in marketing and promotional investments will help it to increase growth in its half-year results.

The company recently launched a £10m brand campaign called ’Great Little Ideas’, which aims to give mums hints, tips and twists on how to use some of Britain’s best loved food brands.

Lynda Bellingham, who is famous for playing the “Oxo mum” in adverts has agreed to front its new ad push, playing herself and the company has pledged £5m towards an integrated marketing campaign for its newest loaf, Hovis Hearty Oats.

Robert Schofield, Premier Food’s chief executive, says: “We are pleased that our brands have continued to gain volume market share with volumes of our “Drive” brands up 6.6%. Trading conditions, however, remain challenging with promotional activity across the market continuing at elevated levels. Non-branded sales were lower primarily due to promotional activity by brands, the effect of contract exits in 2009 and flour deflation. We expect an improving trend for non-branded sales through the year as contract exits and flour deflation drop out of the comparatives and recent contract wins come into effect.”

Premier Foods Foodservice recently appointed former Procter & Gamble marketer James Arnold to the new position of head of marketing.

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