Sales of its 32-strong soup range have risen 2% in the past year to £59m, a sluggish performance compared with own label (up 25% to £72m), Glorious! (up 70% to £8m) and Yorkshire Provender (up 46% to almost £3m) [Symphony IRI 52w/e 9 July 2011].
In a bid to claim back market share, New Covent Garden is redesigning its soup cartons to make them more contemporary and emphasise taste credentials its first significant revamp in a decade.
From September it is rolling out reformulated versions of seven existing recipes, plus eight new soups including Mexican Chipotle Chicken, Souper Greens and a Heart Warming soup that will raise funds for the British Heart Foundation charity.
All its products will be positioned in one of five soup segments core range classics, seasonal, a new soups of the world sub-brand, big & bold and 99-calorie and the company is launching a TV push from November.
"The competition in the soup market has got stronger and caught us up," admitted senior brand manager Nick Munby. "We need to make New Covent Garden as relevant and salient in consumers' minds as any of the new threats."
However, Tom Ellis, director of branding agency 1HQ, said the rebrand seemed to be less of an overhaul and more an attempt to stem declining sales.
"They need to focus on redefining soup for the next generation the way they managed to do so many years ago," he added.