This week it launched a £10m brand concept called Great Little Ideas, under which 16 of Premier's ambient brands including Hartley's Jelly, Mr Kipling, Batchelors and Bisto will feature a yellow star logo on-pack to alert consumers to hints and tips on how to use the products in more interesting ways and liven up midweek mealtimes.
From this week, the ideas will be printed on more than 250 SKUs, as well as featuring in press ads, online and TV ads breaking in April as part of a £10m marketing push.
Will Carter, divisional MD for grocery at Premier Foods, described GLI as "the biggest initiative to hit the [ambient] food category for years".
"The total retail sales value of the 16 brands carrying the GLI logo will reach between £500m and £1bn by the end of 2010," he predicted. "We are estimating growth between 2% to 4% on these brands post-launch, as Great Little Ideas' main aim is to inspire consumers to use our products more, in easy and relevant ways."
A consumer research study had suggested the repertoire of midweek meals in most households was "safe but dull", he said.
Communicating ideas such as adding lemonade to Hartley's Orange Jelly to make fizzy jelly, and glazing cooked sausages with a blend of a crumbled Oxo Beef cube marked a "step change" in the way ambient food was marketed, he added. He did not rule out GLI being extended beyond the ambient category eventually. "In time it is eminently possible we could enter other categories."
Sales of ambient food have grown 6% to £25bn in the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52w/e 24 January], but there remained an opportunity to increase usage and "remind people of the versatility of some of the brands", said Carter.
He denied that Premier was following in the footsteps of Unilever which introduced 'signature' corporate branding on its product brand advertising 12 months ago and said Premier would not be presenting itself as a brand in its own right. "We're not overtly branding GLI as Premier its provenance is not the issue. Like Airmiles, you can 'earn' on a raft of purchases, it will give you a benefit and you won't care who owns it."
He also rejected suggestions it was trying to steal own label share. "Contrary to incorrect media coverage in the marketing press, we are not declaring war on the own-label sector. We work in partnership with our retailers to grow our business together."