Fox's tin

Fox’s is looking to expand beyond its biscuit heartland

Fox’s Biscuits is looking to extend its brand outside its biscuit heartland in a bid to reverse declining sales.

A strategic review by the management team - headed by MD Colin Smith who joined from Müller six months ago - had identified “obvious territory” for the brand to move into.

This included savoury - which Fox’s attempted to gain a foothold in last year with the launch of savoury snacks Magnificos only to pull the range this summer after 15 months.

The business was now preparing “breakthrough” innovation, claimed marketing director Letty Edwards. “Magnificos was a toe in the water,” she said. “If we do go into savoury we need to ensure it aligns with our brand values.”

There was potential to move beyond sweet indulgence into savoury and other categories, she added. Fox’s currently has just one range outside the biscuit aisle - a Christmas puddings offer it launched in 2011.

The 2 Sisters-owned brand will be hoping NPD can turn around its performance. Value sales of its sweet biscuits have fallen 12% on volumes down 16.5% [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 August 2013].

Fox’s had been “complacent”, admitted Edwards, adding that with the exception of breakfast biscuits - which it has entered through a licensing agreement with Hovis - there had been little innovation.

The company is investing £1m in manufacturing capabilities at its Batley and Uttoxeter sites and has ramped up its marketing spend to about £10m this year.

It recently launched products including slices (rsp: £1.89/six-pack) and Belgian-style caramel waffles (rsp: £1.89/eight-pack) under its Caffè brand, festive lines, and the Vinnie’s Tastes of America range, including Mississippi mud pie melts (rsp: £1.69) and key lime pie crunch creams.