Poultry supplier Lloyd Maunder insists it is not branding its products by the back door after a deal to get the words Devonshire Red on own-label packs of chicken.
The West Country-based chicken producer said instead that it was adding value to packs by drawing attention to the type of bird used. The Devonshire Red is a four-year-old breed developed and farmed exclusively by Lloyd Maunder as the bedrock of its range of high-welfare chicken products.
"The breed had to be robust and inquisitive so birds would range more when we gave them access to the outdoors," said Andrew Maunder, head of Lloyd Maunder's chicken division. "Devonshire Red is not the company name or logo; it's not a brand and doesn't compete with the multiples' brand. The reason we've managed to get it on to packs is because it resonates with customers and consumers as a mark of traceability, calling to mind small family farms in the West Country."
The words will appear over the summer on own-label chicken in Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda, Somerfield, Budgens and Nisa. And in some cases a Devonshire Red logo may accompany them, although the company is still in talks about that, Maunder said.
The consumer launch will take place at the Devon County Show on 19 May, and will be backed by a poster campaign. To begin with it will run locally, before being rolled out. Maunder trucks will also carry the new livery.
It spells the demise of the Lloyd Maunder brand, which currently appears in some c-stores, and will be phased out over the summer. It also spells the end of the company's red, bronze and gold tiering, which stood for free-range, Freedom Food and organic. "It takes a layer of complication out of the marketing," said Maunder.