Sales: £590.9m (+4.2%)
Brits aren’t renowned for being adventurous eaters, but offering them the likes of BBQ Kangaroo or Teriyaki Chicken crisps seems to have worked for Walkers.
The new flavours and accompanying marketing for its Flavour Cup World Cup-themed campaign helped brand sales grow 4.2%. Pulling a similar trick this year, Walkers supported Comic Relief with a new range themed around comedians.
The biggest innovation, however, was Walkers Extra Crunchy, available in sharing bags and slightly more upmarket, selling £4.8m in its first 10 weeks.
“Strong value deals, on-pack promotions, marketing campaigns and impactful advertising have driven both incremental sales and frequency of purchase,” says head of marketing Greg Lyons.
4 (4) Hovis
Sales: £426.1m (–6.5 %)
Premier Foods’ biggest brand expected to win favour among patriotic consumers by relaunching its portfolio with all-British ingredients at the start of 2010. And yet the flag-waving doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect, with the brand now finding itself the poorest performer of the UK’s big bread makers.
It is surely not a coincidence that the underperformance coincided with price hikes. While Premier successfully passed on commodity-fuelled rises to key customers, it didn’t go down too well with Tesco, which punished Hovis with a three month-long nationwide delisting of 12 loaf lines.
Nonetheless, Hovis has been busy, with a nostalgic TV campaign and the ongoing partnership with Victoria Pendleton keeping its profile high for most of 2010.
5 (5) Cadbury Dairy Milk
Sales: £418.3m (+11.8%)
If consumers are feeling put out over Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury, it doesn’t show in the sales of Dairy Milk. The UK’s top chocolate brand enjoyed strong growth once again in 2010, up 11.8% in value year-on-year.
True, Galaxy’s sales grew faster in percentage terms, up 13.2%, but sales of CDM are still almost double its nearest chocolate competitor. And while price hikes prompted by soaring commodity costs played a role in value growth – the price of a 49g bar increased by 3p to 56p in October – volume sales have also increased, by 3.7%. The sky-high cost of cocoa continues to be a worry for chocolatiers, with Cadbury – and rival brands – rapped by the tabloids in February after cutting the number of squares in each bar to maintain price points.
Yet the category keeps growing, as shoppers continue to reach for chocolate to shake off the economic blues. And leading that growth is Dairy Milk, which is likely to remain the UK’s go-to sweet treat for a good while yet.
No wonder Kraft laughs off suggestions that it ever planned to change the recipe. However, the brand did ditch its long-held glass-and-a-half milk claim from wrappers in September – a decision Kraft insisted had been made as far back as 2007 – and replaced it with something rather less punchy. “The equivalent of 426ml of fresh liquid milk in every 227g of milk chocolate,” may be more accurate but it hardly trips off the tongue.
The brand’s advertising emphasis changed too, with Dairy Milk’s memorable post-gorilla run taking a back seat to the Spots v Stripes campaign. And its visibility is set to increase as the 2012 Olympics – which Cadbury is sponsoring – loom ever larger.
6 (7) Kingsmill
Sales: £389.9m (+4.8%)
Kingsmill might be a mere youngster compared with veteran bread rivals Warburtons and Hovis, but it outpaced both in value growth, thanks in large part to increased distribution across the supermarkets and greater focus on customer service. It also benefited from an on-pack tie-up with TV show Britain’s Got Talent that was a neat fit for its modern, family-centered marketing image.
And the Associated British Foods brand had a lively NPD schedule, with Kingsmill’s standout launch being its Secretly Seeded, Lightly Seeded and Really Seeded loaves at the beginning of 2011. The innovative range is targeted at children who don’t like the bitty texture of regular healthier bread, and sales are predicted to hit £10m by the end of the year.
Britain's 100 Biggest Brands 2011