81 (72) Actimel
: £101.2m -0.9%
Launch: 1862

It will take more than a new look to make Actimel fly from the chillers. Despite its first packaging makeover (n-s ) in 10 years, sales are looking less than perky.

82 (78) Rowntrees*
: £99.8m +0.7%
Launch: 1862

It hasn’t been the best of years for Rowntree’s. That’s despite a bang-on-trend (but bizarre) launch: Sporty Summer Mix Randoms with cricket-playing foam gnomes. Even news that Roberto Mancini is a big fan had little impact on sales.

83 (83) Clover
: £98.7m +6.4%
Launch: 1983

Clover Seedburst’s launch last summer was billed as a step change for functional spreads - but then a packaging fault delayed its arrival by six months. Nevertheless, growth suggests the launch of Clover’s first block margarine has generated incremental sales.

Mars in England colours

84 (82) Mars
: £97.1m +4.4%
Launch: 1932

Having crashed 20 places down the table last year, Mars came out fighting in 2012. Sponsorship of the England football team boosted sales during Euro 2012. Now Mars is striving to meet a pledge to cap its calorie count at 250 per portion by the end of this year.

85 (81) Birds Eye Poultry
: £96.9m -0.4%
Launch: 1949

Birds Eye introduced five new varieties of chicken in 2012. It also gave its packaging a facelift and introduced a new strapline, ‘sourced and prepared with great care’. It might need all the help it can get - fishy rival Young’s entered the chicken market in 2013.

86 (86) Bisto
: £96.3m +5.7%
Launch: UK, 1908

Despite a hike on marketing spend on TV and radio, Bisto’s volume sales fell 10.2% during 2012, although it still managed value growth. And at least the Premier Foods brand is innovating, rolling out Bisto Stock Melts in August and frozen ready meals this month.

87 (85) Kettle Chips
: £94.8m +3.8%
Launch: 1982

Kettle turned 30 last year but showed no sign of slowing down. It launched its first baked crisps and expanded into tortillas, activity that helped boost value and volume sales. To kick off 2013, the Diamond Foods brand unveiled new, brighter packs.



88 (94) Aunt Bessie’s potatoes
: £94.5m +10.7%
Launch: 1851

Despite her grand age, Aunt Bessie is still innovating. A host of potato-based NPD at the tail end of 2011, including Rustic Mini Rosti and Homestyle Hash Browns, helped ensure good sales growth. Not bad for a 162-year-old.

89 (87) Twinings
: £94.0m +4.1%
Launch: 1706

Premium tea specialist Twinings got tongues wagging earlier this year when it announced it was setting its sights on the everyday market.

The company is investing £9m in encouraging consumers to trade up to a better-quality cuppa, rolling out a new Everyday blend and four Everyday Extra teas offering health benefits. Twinings says the activity is designed to “help put the sparkle back into the mainstream category” - but it will also be looking to add some sparkle to its sales, with the 4.1% value rise masking a fall in volumes.

“It was a tough year for everyone, but we have kept re-focusing and investing in our portfolio to keep ahead of our competition,” says Twinings sales director Neil Manders.

The highlight of 2012 for the brand was the relaunch of Fruit & Herbal Infusion teas with the addition of three new blends and a £1.3m push. Twinings also created four Benefit Blends using traditional herbal remedy ingredients, and the luxury Twinings Silky Pyramids range of whole-leaf teas.

The brand has extended its ongoing Gets You Back To You marketing campaign into this year to support Everyday tea.

90 (89) Birds Eye vegetables
: £93.0m +6.8%
Launch: 1946

Birds Eye really got behind its vegetables in 2012, splashing out £3m on its first on-pack promotion for three years. It gave away free seeds with every purchase to back up its new strapline ‘We’re the growing experts’, and added four new varieties to the range.


*UPDATE 15 April, 2013: In our Britain’s 100 Biggest Grocery Brands supplement, we stated Kellogg’s Special K had not made the top 100 and would have been ranked 104th.

The data from Nielsen in relation to Special K was based on Special K Original being a brand and each of its sub-variants separate brands.

Had we treated Special K’s breakfast cereal portfolio as one brand, it would have ranked 82nd, with retail sales of £100.1m.