hovis farmhouse bread

Hovis is continuing its programme of NPD as it attempts to claw back the £59.8m lost in value sales in the past year [IRI 52 w/e 27 February 2016] by satisfying demand for higher-end loaves.

The bakery brand has added the premium Farmhouse range to its portfolio in the hope of bringing back value to the beleaguered bread category - down £138.3m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 31 January 2016] - and attracting consumers who buy only farmhouse-style loaves, according to Hovis marketing director Sharon Barraclough.

Brand research had provided “robust insight” into how to deliver the “fresh bread aroma and soft, springy texture” of a farmhouse loaf desired by “a distinct group of loyal shoppers”, said Barraclough.

She added: “It is important we are also catering for the latent love that is strong for white bread. Our expert bakers have been able to create their best-ever white farmhouse loaf, softer and bringing a real fresh bread aroma and taste.”

The new line comprises soft white and wholemeal variants (£1.40/800g), and follows the May overhaul of the Hovis everyday bread offering with new recipes and refreshed pack designs.

Earlier this year, the bakery - which suffered the greatest loss in The Grocer’s 2016 list of Britain’s 100 biggest brands, with value sales down £62.1m [Nielsen 52 w/e 2 January 2016] - made a move into ‘healthier’ bread options with a small, limited-edition sunflower & pumpkin seed loaf and a chia offering, which came with the brand’s prediction of an “explosion in popularity” for the ‘superfood’ seed.