The food maker linked marketing and innovation initiatives for brands such as Mr Kipling and Sharwoods with growth of its share of ambient food – food stored at room temperature – up 2.3 per cent in the year to December compared to 1.7 per cent the previous year. Within the category its share of savoury and sweet foods jumped 4.4 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively over the same period, it adds.
The gains helped lift sales of its eight power brands by 2 per cent with Ambrosia’s return to TV after a decade singled out for its impact on customer demand.
Looking forward, Premier says it will increase marketing spend by double-digits over the medium term to offset what it predicts will be “slightly lower” sales in its first quarter. New products launches across it eight top brands are planned over the period with the business targeting growth across the range of 2 to 3 per cent in 2014.
Gavin Darby, chief executive of Premier Foods, said the marketing drive would be supported by longer-term strategic partnerships with its suppliers and internal changes as a “way to step-change our thinking”. Premier appointed SABMiller marketer Pam Powell as a non-executive director last year to identify new growth opportunities.
Darby added: “Through our category-based strategy, we have delivered grocery power brands sales growth of 2 per cent, some good market share performances and progressively stronger customer partnerships.
“Over the medium term, the group is committed to increasing both the quantum and efficiency of its consumer marketing expenditure, to support growth of its branded portfolio,” he adds.
The announcement comes as continues with its financial restructure aimed at reducing debts of around £890m.