Hovis is decking out its loaves in colour-coded packaging to highlight the different slice thicknesses and reignite sales.

In a revamp that will encompass the brand's Soft White, Best of Both, Wholemeal and Granary ranges from later this month, medium sliced loaves will sport a red band on packaging, while thick sliced loaves will carry a green band.

The Premier Foods ­bakery is also renaming Hovis Extra Thick as Hovis Doorstep. Its packaging will feature a purple band.

Mandy Dhingra, brand manager for Hovis Best of Both said the colour-coded designs would help revive sales of the brand, which have slipped 1.7% to £452m over the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 4 September 2010].

"Slice thickness is an extremely important aspect of the shopper's decision, so it is essential that the on-pack communication is as clear as possible. For white bread buyers it can even take precedence over brand choice," she said.

Consumers would be more inclined to buy Hovis Doorstep loaves now they had a more ­"engaging" name, added Dhingra. "We would expect to see increased sales of our Doorstep loaves now we have differentiated them from similar products," she said. "Of the major bread brands, our extra thick offering is the thickest by far so by renaming it Doorstep we are communicating very clearly what it is."

Total bakery has dipped 2% to £2.86bn over the past year [Nielsen].