The company hopes the move will reinvigorate the territorials category, which has been struggling amid deep-cut promotions on Cheddar. Over the past year, value sales of territorials declined by 4.9% to £212.6m, while volume was down 6.9%.
Pilgrims Choice's three new territorials Red Leicester, Wensleydale and Double Gloucester (rsp £3.49) will be sold in 350g blocks, using the same resealable format shoppers are used to from Cheddar. "We wanted to make territorials like Cheddar an everyday choice rather than something you would buy for a cheeseboard," said Pilgrims Choice marketing controller Hannah Jenkins.
Branded territorials would offer a point of difference from Cheddar, allowing them to compete for market share without having to resort to the aggressive promotional strategies of the Cheddar brands. "We are looking to add value back into the category," said Jenkins. "We've taken the look and feel of Cheddar, but we are not looking to go down the same promotional road."
Territorials were a "bold move" for Pilgrims Choice, but nevertheless an obvious choice for the brand, she added, as Pilgrims Choice was well-established but flexible enough to work across a range of products, not just Cheddar.
"Territorials are a first step for us. We are thinking about whether we could step out of cheese and into other grocery categories."
All the cheese going into Pilgrims Choice's territorials range will be British-sourced and Red Tractor-certified. The range will start to roll out across the multiples from the end of February. Pilgrims Choice said it would announce listings details shortly.
The company also this week confirmed its first listing for its new Lighter Mature cheese, which will go into Tesco stores at the end of February.