Birds Eye has upped its promotional activity, reports Alex Beckett, but shoppers are being lured away from frozen by fresh and chilled deals

As the reins of powers change hands at Downing Street, the upper echelons of Britain's most promoted brands have also experienced a shake-up.

In a month when the overall number of grocery promotions fell 4.5%, Cadbury lost its position as the most-promoted brand for the first time in 2010 after reducing its deals 68.6% on the previous month. As a result, Birds Eye took top spot with 146 promotions up 15.9% month-on-month.

The frozen food giant appears to have upped the ante against rival Young's, with increased deals on fish fingers and fillets, predominantly in Asda and Tesco. However, a rise in activity has not been seen elsewhere in the frozen category, said promotions consultants Assosia.

"Although Birds Eye has grabbed attention by wresting Cadbury's biggest promoter title, the frozen category has actually dropped slightly in its amount of promotional activity, with only Morrisons and Sainsbury's seeing a slight increase," said Assosia MD Kay Staniland.

Despite the efforts of Birds Eye, shoppers have been enticed away from frozen by chilled and fresh promotions, said Adrian Atterby, analyst at Kantar Worldpanel. "Fierce competition among the leading retailers and increased promotional activity in the fresh and chilled categories have attracted shoppers back to the fresh fixture and away from frozen products," he claimed.

Meanwhile, the combination of Birds Eye's activity and the Easter egg season coming to an end has nudged Nestlé from second place to third with 36.4% fewer deals. Consequently, ambient confectionery is no longer the most promoted sub-category, and wine has taken the top spot by offering 11% of all deals.

With Walkers' World Cup promotion hitting TV screens, and May Day bank holiday deals on sharing bags, the crisp brand has continued its climb up the ranks with a 77.4% rise in activity. However, the PepsiCo brand also offered the lowest average saving on the list, at 19.3%. At the other end of the scale, Unilever's Dove provided the biggest saving, at 42.7%.

In terms of placings, Heinz made the biggest jump up the table, with a 75% rise in the number of deals taking it from 17th to fifth.

Kellogg's, meanwhile, cut its number of deals and dropped six places to 10th. The company said the reduction followed an intense period of deals on products such as Special K ahead of the spring and summer diet season.