Hovis has not been over-promoting its product, insisted Hovis’ marketing boss, as the brand closes in on rivals Warburtons.
Premier Foods’ heavy price promotion of Hovis, alongside Allied Bakeries’ Kingsmill, has seen the number two and three brands respectively steal a march on market leader Warburtons.
According to recent data (TNS 4 w/e 3 October), volumes of pre-packed bread were down by 2.5% in total, with Hovis bucking the trend, up 19.9%. Kingsmill rose 7.6%, while Warburtons fell by 7.9%. Own-label suffered a big drop, down 24%.
"I genuinely don’t think we are over-promoting and by that I mean offering such value that it is somehow harming the brand," Hovis marketing director Jon Goldstone told British Baker. "We are offering good value to consumers in a way that is consistent with the overall brand values."
Hovis has now closed the gap on market share with Warburtons to 4.5%, having seen it grow to 10% a year ago. "We don’t have any posters on the wall saying we want to overtake them," said Goldstone. "We want to grow steadily, responsibly and sustainably. We’re close to being back to the high point of 2006, around the 28% [market share] mark, and that will be a huge achievement that we will celebrate and move on from."
As the economy recovers, Goldstone expects the level of promotions to recede. He said: "In the current economic environment, the value we’re offering is appreciated. As we enter the next economic cycle there is an opportunity for the category as a whole to deal less."
He said the brand’s success was down to "confidence in market-leading quality", a strong marketing drive on brand perception and developing more reasons to trial, such as the Wholemeal Challenge.
The next challenge, he said, would be to return the wrapped bread category to the volume growth it briefly enjoyed in 2008. "We want a healthy market with steady long-term growth," he said.
l See full interview in the next issue of British Baker