Cheddar brands are staging a comeback after last year’s ruthless category reviews, with several brands gaining new listings in recent weeks.
Wyke Farms returned to Sainsbury’s shelves last week, having been delisted last spring, and Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar - also delisted by Sainsbury’s early last year - is due to be relisted shortly.
Elswhere, Pilgrims Choice has secured a listing with Asda for the first time in recent years - its mature and mature lighter variants went into the retailer on 24 March, priced at £2 for a 350g.
Wyke Farms MD Rich Clothier said some retailers were reappraising brands because they had realised the importance of choice. “Consumers expect choice, as they would in wine” he said. “If you start rationalising your category too much, it sends a message to consumers about what kind of retailer you are.”
Lobbying from customers also played a part, Clothier added. “We had masses of emails when we came out of Sainsbury’s, which sends a message,” he said.
Collier’s took to Twitter to mobilise shoppers to contact Sainsbury’s after getting delisted last year, and sales director Dan Harper said consumer lobbying had been important in getting the brand back on shelves. “The brand enjoys tremendous customer loyalty,” he said.
Sainsbury’s confirmed the relisting of Wyke and Collier’s, but declined to comment further.
Meanwhile, Pilgrims Choice said substantial investment in the brand - owner Adams Foods is spending £5m on a revamp and marketing campaign for 2012, for example - helped seal its return to Asda. “We have an objective of becoming the clear number-two Cheddar brand in the UK, and part of this involves trying to fill some current distribution gaps to ensure that target can be reached,” a spokeswoman said.