British Bakeries is to relaunch its wholemeal Hovis loaves as it celebrates the 120th birthday of the Hovis brand.

New-look 800g and 400g wholemeal loaves, in opaque tomato or baked beans packaging, flagged ‘new improved recipe’, will be available from this week, marketing manager Alyson Ebbrell told British Baker. The recipe has been reformulated to better appeal to the palates of modern consumers, with a sweeter maltier flour used, she said. And the loaves will be baked in a taller tin, giving Hovis a more premium feel, she added.

Speaking as British Bakeries celebrated Hovis’ 120th birthday Ms Ebbrell said the brand’s longevity was due to its balance of tradition and innovation, and a constant focus on healthy eating.

She commented: “We are the only major bread brand that has always been free from artificial flavours. One of the key planks of the Hovis brand has always been goodness combined with innovation. It has always been about healthy eating; some of its advertising slogans are still relevant today – even if they were written for post-war consumers.”

One of Hovis’ biggest recent innovations was the “world first” Invisible Crust crust-free loaf, launched last year, she said (British Baker, July 29, 2005, pg 3).

British Bakeries is seeing the equivalent of £8m annual sales of its white or “Best of Both” loaves, she revealed. The company, which has an annual turnover of £455m, is looking at plans to develop the range, but is keeping these confidential.

British Bakeries has also seen great success with its recent talking ducks advertising campaign for Hovis Best of Both, created by Wallace & Gromit animator Aardman. But it has no plans for a new series.