A range of four canned soups is being developed under the Batchelors name to steal share from the market leader. It is the first launch by Premier Foods since it acquired Campbell's UK business in July and the first move by Batchelors away from its dry Cup A Soup positioning.
Cream of tomato, chicken and mushroom, as well as a vegetarian variant, are being listed in Morrisons from this month, and in Tesco and Sainsbury's from next month, in what is the start of a wider move into the canned soup category planned by Premier for next year. "These four soups are just the foundations of what we want to do in canned soups," said marketing manager Michelle Wilde. "Our vision is to drive innovation in the category."
The products will be priced at 56p, compared with 59p for Heinz's classic soups, which Premier said would fill the gap between own label and the brand leader. "We are better value than Heinz but with the same quality," said Wilde.
According to Premier, there is a big opportunity to introduce the Batchelors name into wet soup because its Cup a Soup has a 60% share of the dry sector and is bought by more than 60% of Heinz canned soup consumers. This is the latest attempt by Premier Foods to encroach on territory once held sacrosanct by Heinz. In October last year it put Branston Beans up against Heinz's market-leading baked beans and launched a Branston-branded table sauces range in February this year.
Premier claims Branston Beans has already grabbed a 10.4% share of the baked beans market, behind Heinz, which holds a 66% share.
"Our success in reinvigorating categories has been proven over the past 18 months," said general manager Martin Hall. "We can, through the Batchelors brand, turn around the category. Taste tests have given us confidence in the product's ability to challenge the market leader in soup."