McCambridge Foods relaunched Soreen this week in a bid to reposition the malt loaf brand as an energy food and called on retailers to scale back ­promotional activity.

A third of the £6m invested in the brand by Barclays at the start of the year has been spent on a new marketing strategy, pack design and NPD, revealed exclusively to The Grocer this week.

The new packs feature larger photographs of the fruit, bolder health messages that highlight the low-fat content and a new strapline: 'Deliciously squidgy energy.' Marketing support kicked off this week with a national print campaign highlighting the energy message as a new Apple & Sultana and Banana loaf joins the portfolio.

Soreen sales have risen 20.8% to £30m over the past year [Kantar Worldpanel], but MD Paul Tripp said it had been "an incredibly difficult year" given the 60% hike in the prices of flour and Californian raisins. "It is particularly ­affected by fruit costs as our products contain between 14% and 26% fruit," he said.

He refused to be drawn on whether retail prices were likely to rise, but warned that the current levels of promotional activity were unsustainable.

"These increases in input costs present a real challenge for promotional support in a market where the majority of growth is ­generated through this ­mechanic," he said. "We are in discussions with retailers and they understand the ­pressures."

This month, the company completed the £4m merger of its two plants into "a super bakery", which is expected to boost production capacity by 25%.

Read more
The Human Angle: Paul Tripp, Soreen MD (8 May 2010)
Just chew it: Soreen to rebrand as energy food (13 March 2010)