Many major food and drink brands reduced promotional activity in September, but Heinz and Cadbury still pushed hard, reports Vince Bamford

Cadbury pulled out all the stops in September and ran more promotions than Nestlé, Mars and Coca-Cola combined.

It upped the number of featured space promotions such as gondola ends and pallets from 268 in August to 368 in the four weeks to 2 October, according to data from retail analysts Assosia. In the same period, it increased the average saving offered by its deals to 38.6% up two percentage points month-on-month.

The confectioner’s increase in activity was even more marked year-on-year, with the number of deals twice that of 12 months ago, when the typical saving was just 25.7%.

Heinz and Mars also increased the number of deals they offered month-on-month Heinz by a slightly greater percentage than Cadbury to 87 offers. But six of this month’s top 10 most-promoted brands reduced activity, with Walkers and Kellogg’s both cutting the number of deals they offered by almost 40%.

Kellogg’s dropped its average saving by 1.8 percentage points while Walkers reduced the average saving offered to shoppers from 40.2% in August to 34.3% this month although this was still above the market’s 32.1% typical saving during September. Nestlé and Coca-Cola reduced promotions by a third, although in both cases this was accompanied by a slight increase in depth of saving month-on-month.

Across the supermarkets, the overall number of featured space offers has fallen over the past 28 days, with data from Assosia for the four weeks to 2 October showing a drop from 8,482 last month to 8,270. The biggest decline was in deals on own-label products, which have fallen from 1,445 to 1,263.

The picture looks very different year-on-year, with the data revealing a big increase compared with the same four-week period 12 months ago a reaction, no doubt, to the worsening global economic situation. In September 2010, the overall number of deals was just 7,493, while 1,051 promotions were offered on own-label products.

In terms of product categories, the greatest drop in saving was in the bakery aisle, which dipped 6.5 percentage points y-o-y to 24.6%, while health & beauty shoppers were sitting pretty the typical saving rose from 38% a year ago to 43.1% in September this year.

September brought a 2.7% decline in the use of x-for-y offers compared with the same period in 2010; the use of half-price deals ­increased by the same amount.