Premier Foods to focus marketing spend on fewer brands

Premier Foods, which owns the Bisto, Mr Kipling and Hovis brands, will focus its marketing budget on fewer brands as part of the company’s turnaround strategy.

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Jon Goldstone, who takes on Premier Foods’ first group marketing director role in January, says the company has previously spread its marketing budget too thinly across too many brands.

“I’m keen to identify brands that will benefit from increased investment and focus budget on where it can be most effective.

“If we apply bigger budgets on a smaller number of brands, the net return will be better,” he says.

Under the new strategy, some of Premier Foods’ brands will have increased marketing investment while others will have marketing spend reduced.

Goldstone, who is currently marketing director for the Hovis brand, says it is too early to say which brands will be the main focus.

“All of our brands have merits either in retail value, brand equity or strong growth. We have to put that together to identify which ones to focus on.”

He says the company is trying to do two things at the same time: increase brand sales and reduce the company’s debt.

“We acknowledge that our brands could be growing faster. The business has a fair amount of debt so it needs to accelerate growth and leverage the fantastic brand portfolio,” he adds.

Premier’s debt is said to be £1.4bn, built up when acquiring companies including Hovis owner RHM and the UK and Irish businesses of the Campbell Soup Company. It has said it is open-minded about selling brands and is in advanced talks with two parties over the sale of Quorn.

Goldstone’s appointment is part of a senior management restructure that includes the creation of the company’s first group chief operating officer. Its aim is to align the structure more closely with its corporate strategy.

Tim Kelly, currently Hovis chief operating officer, will take responsibility for brand and commercial operations across Premier’s brand portfolio.

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