Premier Foods has said it will continue its Hovis marketing push in a bid to cement the brand’s turnaround.
Alongside TV advertising, the firm plans a big media campaign behind Best of Both at the end of March, followed by the launch of a new range of rolls in April. "We have been working to match the quality of our bread, so that we have the best quality rolls in the marketplace," said Hovis marketing director Jon Goldstone.
The rolls will include white, Best of Both and wholemeal varieties in resealable packs, a first for the sector, according to Goldstone, who added that the range had tested well with consumers. Hovis will also focus on price this year - for example, selling three loaves for £3 in Tesco.
Volume sales for the brand have increased 11% since August, according to Premier’s preliminary results. However, it admitted that a rise in trading profit for the Hovis division - £756.3m for 2008, up 41.4% on 2007 - was mainly due to the inclusion of a full year of RHM trading, partly offset by lower volumes in the second and third quarters of 2008 and added investment in the Hovis brand.
Premier Foods, which has debt totalling at least £1.6bn, plunged into the red in the financial year to 31 December 2008, with a pre-tax loss of £404m compared with £77m in 2007. It now has plans to raise £404m by selling new shares.
It has now completed the sales of its Martine Spécialités SAS and Le Pain Croustillant businesses for approximately £44m.