Buy 1 get 1 free promotion

When it comes to choice of promotional mechanic, the x-for-y deal has the X-factor for many brands.

In the past four weeks, x-for-ys accounted for 32% of all featured promotional space - up from 23% a year ago, according to retail analysts Assosia. Over the same period, the use of all other promotional mechanics fell, although ‘save’ promos continued to account for the lion’s share of all offers, at 38%.

One of the attractions of x-for-ys is driving volume without losing too much value, says Assosia MD Kay Staniland. And it’s something plenty of suppliers are keen to do - with seven of the top 10 most-promoted brands increasing their use of the mechanic year-on-year.

This has been most marked in the case of Cadbury, which used x-for-y for over half the deals it ran in the past month, up from just 15% of all its activity a year ago. Over the period Cadbury reined in half-price and ‘save’ activity, which fell from a 45% share of its promotions to 26%. ‘Save’ has also fallen in favour with five other top 10 brands.

Brand rank table

Birds Eye, meanwhile, ran no x-for-ys in April 2012 but last month used it for around 8% of its deals, particularly on frozen poultry and veg.

One of the brands to buck the x-for-y trend was Coca-Cola, which increased its focus on bogofs while running fewer x-for-y and straight ‘save’ offers - although x-for-y still accounted for 60% of all Coke promotions.

Coke, along with Mars, has had the pedal to the metal when it comes to promotional activity - with both brands running almost three times as many featured space promotions year-on-year in the past four weeks. In April 2012, Coke’s marketing was focused firmly on the Olympics, and the brand ran just 73 deals compared with the 200 offer in the past four weeks.

But Coca-Cola and Mars are by no means the exception.

Eight of the top 10 most-promoted brands ran more deals than a year ago, and the total number of branded offers recorded across the grocers has risen 19.9% year-on-year from 6,886 to 8,256. This is a continuation of the trend for increasing promotional activity seen over recent months, with Assosia recorded a total of 10,174 featured space promos in the past four weeks, up from 8,032 in the same period a year ago.

Once again, the figures reveal a strong focus on own label activity, with the total number of own-label offers soaring 67.4% from 1,146 to 1,918. With brand price-matching prevalent across the industry, retailers are increasingly using their own-label ranges as a way of differentiating themselves from their rivals and have recognised the value in making this offer as attractive as possible to shoppers.

Potato wholesale prices much higher than last year

It’s no secret fruit and veg growers have had a rough time of it in the UK and many parts of Europe thanks to the bad weather in 2012 and 2013, and the impact is plain to see.

Potato prices remain hugely up on last year as bad weather in 2013 delayed planting in major producing regions. Improved weather in April has meant planting has now begun in most regions - but until the crop is ready, supply is expected to remain very tight.

Carrot prices remain nearly 40% higher than this time last year as wet weather in 2012 affected yields and quality as well as delaying harvests. Prices have moved up further month-on-month in the UK, as carrots are now moving out of the British season.

Onion prices are also up significantly on last year, as wet weather in 2012 reduced the onion crop and put a squeeze on availability. Prices in the UK now stand at £251.30/tonne, down marginally on last month but up 86.1% year-on-year.

Prices£/tonnem-o-m %y-o-y %
Potatoes (UK)2779.5%131.6%
Onions (UK)251.3-2.4%86.1%
Carrots (UK)452.58.4%39.7%
Iceburg lettuce (price per unit, UK)0.637.3%38.9%
Peppers (Capsicums, UK)2425-2.8%38.5%
Pears (UK)1,238.82.9%26.4%
Oranges (DE)993.37.3%12.1%
Apples (UK)1,176.33.4%11.0%
Tomatoes (UK)1,601.8-5.5%2.1%
Bananas (UK)832.53.4%-8.6%

Source: Mintec

Info: All prices indicative only