17 (20) Heinz soup
: £234.8m +9.1%
Launch: 1910

Heinz Soup has certainly been looking pretty perky of late. The brand’s impressive surge in sales was achieved on the back of 12.8% volume growth.

The soup sector has been a battleground in the past year, with brands and own label slugging it out after the big four and The Co-operative Group ramped up promotions on own label and increased its ranges.

While rivals Baxters and Batchelors have stalled, Heinz has prevailed with strong marketing that positioned the soups as a way of getting one of your five-a-day and a series of multibuy offers on the Classics range. It also repeated its Get Well Soon Facebook campaign in November (left), asking consumers to personalise cans of soup for poorly loved ones. For every can given, Heinz pledged to fund 30 seconds of a Christmas pantomime put on by a hospital or hospice.

The emphasis on digital is set to continue, Heinz’s president for the UK and Eire Matt Hill told The Grocer in a recent interview, adding that 20% of his budget is currently going online. “If we’re to recruit the next generation of Heinz lovers, we need to be engaging with them where they are,” he said. “I’m going to be in the places they’re shopping, in the places they’re communicating, and selling them the products they’re buying.”

Heinz recent performance on its soups shows why it might, just, be worth $23bn, as Warren Buffett thinks it is. If it does as well in emerging markets as it has here, Buffett could soon be looking like the fat cat that got the cream… of tomato.