Kingsmill launches £6.7m bid to save ‘demonised’ white bread

Kingsmill is unveiling its “Great White” loaf with a £6.7m health-focused push to challenge what it claims is the “very negative story” around white bread being unhealthy.

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The loaf launches later this month (27 March) and is marketed as a “delicious soft white bread” containing as much fibre as whoelemeal. Kingsmill is using the fibre claim to appeal to shoppers who are “white bread lovers’ but feel guilty when they buy it.

Kingsmill says the product has also been developed to appeal to customers not won over by the “50/50” wholegrain white bread hybrid it launched in 2007. The firm predicts the “Great White” loaf will cannibalise around 20 per cent of sales from its “50/50” and “Soft White” ranges initially. Demand will level out between the two in the “long-term”, Kingsmill says.

A TV ad starring actor Jon Thompson is fronting the push alongside ecommerce and sampling with the big four supermarkets to drive trials. It will be extended throughout the year with in-store promotions and PR events, which Kingsmill wants to spark debate around the claims white bread is not healthy.

The negative perception of the food has knocked demand in recent years. Sales of sliced white bread have been in long-term decline and fell 4.8 per cent by volume to 40 million loaves in 2013, according to Kantar. If the decline continues sales could fall by a further 20 per cent by 2017, according to the baker.

Darren Grivvell, director of brands at Allied Bakeries told Marketing Week the new product is the baker’s “biggest” launch campaign to date. The product could generate an additional £102m in sales over the next three years for the business, after tests revealed 63 per cent of customers would buy it, he adds.

Grivvell adds: “We know there are some people not moving over to our 50/50 product so there’s an unmet need that ‘Great White’ can fulfil.

”It is not health-obsessed people we’re trying to target. We’re focusing on people who feel that they should be buying healthier bread but their family will not accept it. This is a way for them to smuggle some goodness into their homes and feel better about purchasing a white loaf.”

Kingsmill is the third biggest bread brand in the market by sales behind Hovis and Warburtons.

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