The figures speak for themselves when it comes to toilet roll. Although it doesn't quite have total penetration, 95.6% of households buy it. Therefore, the only way for brands to grow sales is by trading consumers up to posher paper.

As the market leader, Andrex says it is constantly looking at ways to inject value into the category and break new ground. "We delivered this strategy in 2009 with the launch of Andrex Shea Butter one of the most significant toilet tissue launches ever," claims Steve Coghlan, Andrex marketing manager.

The Shea Butter range, which featured "enriched sheets, a scented inner core and luxurious brown packaging", has generated sales of more than £10m in its first year, with cannibalisation from other Andrex variants lower than anticipated, he claims.

Andrex also believes it has identified an untapped market for on-the-go toilet roll for the out-of-home market. Last April, it launched a coreless toilet roll.

Rival SCA, too, is attempting to drive growth through more premium products but with an environmental twist.

In January 2009, SCA launched an environmental programme for its Velvet brand to ensure that three trees are replanted for every one used in production.

"The initiative is a first for the category and its added-value appeal at a competitive price point is expected to drive greater brand loyalty," says brand marketing controller Emma Heald.

"While consumers may not be keen to pay more for environmentally sound products in the current economic climate, research has shown that competitively priced products with strong environmental credentials do add extra reassurance and offer added appeal."

Since the launch of the initiative, Velvet has grown its value share by 6.3% against a category growth of 0.7%, according to SCA.

Focus On Household