Sales: £350.7m (-4.8%)
Of Britain’s three major bread brands, Hovis is the only one in volume growth.
It’s a big improvement on the double-digit decline of a year ago, and the business says it’s been achieved by working closely with retailers to develop ranges that fit consumer needs.
Still, price has played a role. The average price of Hovis SKUs has fallen 7.6%, and large Hovis loaves have been as cheap as 75p in some stores. Hovis - split off by Premier Foods as a joint venture with The Gores Group last year - admits driving value into a category that’s become a key battleground in the price war is its biggest challenge.
“The market has become substantially more competitive as bakery features in almost every household’s weekly purchases,” says a spokesman. “Retailers have been fighting hard to establish and signal great value to consumers and using the most popular brands to do this.”
To add to the pressure, it is also seeking a new CEO and CFO following the departures of Michael Kennedy and Bob Spooner. And confidence will have been dented by the failure of Hovis’ major NPD of 2014, flavoured Taste Sensations loaves.
“It is disappointing for a new idea not to work, but we realise not everything we try will succeed,” says the spokesman. “There is without question a place for more exciting tasty bread products.”
Hovis remains committed to its premium Seed Sensations range, including the launch of Seed Sensations Soft Granary Batch, a soft granary loaf with nine seeds and grains, in July 2014.