Hovis set for another revamp

Premier Foods is overhauling the packaging for its Hovis brand for the second time in 15 months as it looks to revive flagging sales.

Premier is revamping the packaging for its Hovis brand for the second time in 15 months.

The company will roll out the refresh over the next three months. It will replace the Hovis brand’s’ current packaging, which launched last January to promote its health credentials and British heritage.

Unveiling first quarter results earlier today (23 April), Premier says the revamp will give Hovis “strong standout on shelf in a highly competitive category”. It will continue with the positioning adopted by previous packaging but will emphasis the Hovis brand name further as well as show more of the bread. A spokeswoman for the business declined to provide further details.

Premier is hoping the move can help lift the struggling brand. To drive growth, the food manufacturer has extended the Hovis brand into new categories with the launch of a branded breakfast biscuit range last year.

Hovis struggled to match the growth of market leader Warburtons in 2012 with volume sales for the 52 weeks to 29 December 2012 falling 6 per cent to £284m, according to retail analysts Symphony IRI (see chart). Warburtons revenue grew 1 per cent over the same period.

Premier reported a 0.8 per cent increase in year-on-year sales during its first quarter earlier today (23 April). Bread sales increased 0.8 per cent over the same period with Hovis bread maintaining its share in the category, the business claims.

The company says marketing spend helped grow sales of its eight power brands 2.2 per cent higher to £275m in its first quarter. Premier is looking to cut its debts by boosting investment for its top brands such as Ambrosia, Mr Kipling and Hovis.

Chief executive Gavin Darby, who recently took over from former boss Michael Clarke earlier this year, added the company has the “right strategies in place” to succeed in a “ challenging consumer environment”.

He said: “I am pleased to report continued momentum in our power brands in the first quarter. This represents the fifth successive quarter of sales growth for our grocery power brands, demonstrating that our strategies of investing in marketing and improving customer collaboration are working. Five of our Power Brands have been on TV in the past weeks, with more to come in the second quarter.”

UK Bread sales – Symphony IRI: 2011/2012

Brands Volume sales 52 w/e 31 Dec Volume sales 52 w/e 29 Dec % Change
Warburtons £348.2m £348.2m 1.6%
Hovis £284.2m £284.2m – 6.0%
Kingsmill £244.9m £244.9m – 2.5%
Own Label £199.7m £199.7m – 2.8%
Allinson £6.8m £6.8m – 33.4%
Other £109.6m £109.6m – 7.6%

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