Producers of the UK’s three leading Cheddar brands have all made headway in reducing the volumes of their cheese they sell through price promotions.
Dairy Crest has cut the quantity of top Cheddar brand Cathedral City sold on deals from 63.7% in 2003 to 51.7% in 2005, according to ACNielsen.
Lactalis sold 52% of Seriously Strong on promotion last year, compared with 58.3% in 2003.
North Downs Dairy’s Pilgrims Choice was most frequently sold on deals in 2005, with 65.7% of its volume sold that way. This was down from 69.9% in 2004, though up from 44.7% in 2003.
Mike Davies, MD of North Downs Dairy, said: “We are encouraging consumers to buy off-promotion and our figures show they are. They have proved to be brand loyal, buying Pilgrims Choice for its brand values, rather than price.”
Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board, welcomed the shift in emphasis away from deep discounting, which is often in the form of bogofs.
“Deals should only be used strategically in the short term as there is little evidence that they grow the sector. The sector needs as much margin as it can to invest and innovate.”
However, the amount of cheese sold though price promotions was unlikely to fall any further, warned Cathedral City brand manager Paul White.
“Around 52% is where we will be this year. It is not realistic to fall below 50% in such a commoditised category.”
He said value sales of Cathedral City had risen due to a commitment to marketing as well as innovative packaging.
Chris Walkland