Young’s blames the sinking fortunes of its frozen fish on shoppers switching to chilled, which is currently a lot cheaper than it used to be.
“Chilled fish has attracted shoppers through increased promotional activity such as temporary price reductions,” admits Martin Gormley, marketing director at Young’s. And it has cost Young’s four places in our rankings, falling from 27th to 31st place, and wiping £17.3m off its 2012 sales.
That’s in spite of the May 2012 launch of the value-added Gastro sub-brand, which is now worth £9.9m [Nielsen 52 w/e 5 January 2013]. Last year also saw strong growth in calamari and garlic & herb prawns.
These victories weren’t enough to offset declines in other areas. Battered, for example, is in 12% year-on-year decline as shoppers leave the core frozen area. “Our focus in frozen has been on high-value non-commoditised segments,” adds Gormley.
And Young’s is upbeat about the year ahead, claiming that a strong marketing plan in place for the start of this year will help turn things around. “Our TV campaigns for the Chip Shop and Gastro brands have supported high-visibility Young’s Seafood fish promotions in stores,” asserts Gormley.
He adds that Young’s mySupermarket mini store - launched last month - will provide another way to access consumers and highlight promotional activity for the brand. “MySupermarket will help us gain insights into digital and online shopping, which we can use in developing future activity.”
In a complete reversal of fortunes, John West has climbed seven places on last year, turning declining sales into a double-digit hike - in contrast to closest rival Princes’ performance (no 38). It comes after the company’s first brand-wide campaign for fish since 2001 hit screens in autumn last year, and the roll-out of its Can Tracker technology, which allows shoppers to see where their fish comes from, enhancing its sustainability credentials.
Innovative stuff from Doritos last year. As well as running quirky TV ads featuring a mariachi band covering 80s synth classics, the nacho specialists teamed up with Pepsi to boost sales. Doritos launched Jalapeño Fire Doritos at the same time as Pepsi launched Citrus Freeze Pepsi Max - and a four-week blaze of publicity encouraged shoppers to buy them together. Sales rocketed, says PepsiCo, with a 16% spike in sales of Doritos and a 41% increase in sales of Pepsi Max.
Mr Kipling is having an exceedingly difficult time stemming its decline in value. Despite owner Premier Foods quadrupling marketing spend on the brand in 2012 - and with plenty of activity including strong NPD and advertising around the Jubilee - this thoroughly British brand ended last year with little to celebrate. But it came out fighting this January, unveiling cakes based on Dessert Classics that may help sales rise to the occasion this year.
A brand that’s starting to look like it’s gone off the boil. Unilever’s bid to capitalise on the growing trend for premium tea with its Special Moments range wasn’t enough to offset declining sales of its core range, even with the help of a stuffed monkey. Unilever has promised to spend £8m on marketing the entire PG Tips portfolio with the slogan the Catch Up Cuppa in 2012, including sponsorship of ITV’s Loose Women programme.
Mars’ little balls of chocolate are rolling in the right direction, with strong value and volume sales in the past 12 months boosted by continued consumer interest in sharing packs of confectionery.
In addition to the publicity and kudos around becoming Fairtrade-certified in 2012, the brand has benefited from marketing activity, including a movie-themed £3.3m push across ‘bitesize’ Mars brands last summer.
The brand’s owner is looking to increase momentum following the launch earlier this month of Maltesers Teasers, the brand’s first foray into the bar format. Available as a countline and a sharing block, the NPD will be backed with a £4m campaign featuring a TV ad, which will hit screens in April.
“What we’ve come up with is based on the Celebrations Maltesers, but we wanted to intensify the amount of chocolate while keeping the crunch,” says Mars Chocolate’s R&D director Geoff Bryant, adding that the launch will reinvigorate the block category, which has suffered from a lack of innovation in recent years.
Teasers is the first product to come out of Mars’s new £6m R&D facility, which the company opened last autumn. It required a brand new production line to be installed at the Slough factory. “The new line has meant we are able to create smaller centres using exactly the right mould for the perfect bite,” adds Bryant.
The brand has also just linked up with Red Nose Day this year with a campaign encouraging consumers to ‘do something funny for money’.
Life has been pretty tough for Cravendale in recent years, as value has been stripped out of the fresh liquid milk market. As one of the few brands in the aisle, it has had to work hard to justify its place among the cheaper own-label products. Its latest quirky campaign, Epic Straws, did at least shield it from anything more than a 1.8% sales decline. But it faces new functional milk competition, with A2 upping the stakes. Or will two marketing budgets be better than one?
Princes has been hit by a double whammy of higher fish prices and stiff competition from rival John West, which continues to see the benefit of its 2011 brand relaunch. Prince’s standard tuna, in particular, found itself beached by a cut in bogof deals and a rise in shallower discounts. But marketing director Neil Brownville says: “We have a strong pipeline of NPD planned for 2013, which we expect to drive both incremental volume and value sales.”
Under review, like GSK stablemate Lucozade, an end-of-term report for juice brand Ribena would be ‘could do better’, with value sales down 0.6% and volumes falling a disappointing 5.8% - despite Fruit Shoot’s well-publicised troubles, and the fact that in 2012 GSK launched four Ribena Plus drinks containing added vitamins and calcium and spent £8m on promoting the brand, with an eight-week TV ad campaign launching in April.
The resurgence in home baking, inspired by TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off, has provided a shot in the arm to suppliers of sugars and syrups, and with sales growth of almost 10% in 2012, Silver Spoon has captured its fair share of this flourishing market. However, should the baking renaissance prove to be a passing fad, the brand’s long-term performance is likely to be shaped by the public’s appetite for Truvia, a tabletop sweetener containing stevia.