Warburtons’ “rare” growth has seen it extend its reach over Hovis as the second most valuable UK grocery brands, with a brand value of £583m. “It is rare for a brand to continue to grow from a large base at such a pace as Warburtons,” commented independent brand valuation consultancy, Intangible Business, which has just published its annual league table of the 100 most valuable UK grocery brands.

Warburtons’ sales have increased 13% since last year and its brand value by 11%. Its distribution also continues to grow, taking the brand to an increasing number of customers. Intangible Business defines brand value as “the amount the brand owner would be willing to pay for its brand if it did not already own it”. It is calculated using a variety of factor including forecast sales and brand strength.

Coca Cola is top of table with a brand value of £1,151m and Lucozade are third with a value of £457m. In terms of the snacks sector, Kettle Chips has taken the biggest lead up the ladder, moving up 20 places in the table to 74th position with an increased brand value of 28%. Its success is thought to be due, in part, to its move towards offering more single pack sizes. Innocent has also moved up the ranks, up 16 places to number 32.

Of the top 100 brands 54 of these as UK brands, 30 are US and six are French. The most valuable sector is soft drinks with 16 brands in the top 100 and a total brand value of £3,868.5m, confectionery is second and bakery third with three brands in the top 100 and a total brand value of £1,149.8m. Hot beverages was 6th in the table and biscuits and snacks 8th.

“The economic downturn has had a profound effect on the grocery market in 2008 and played straight into the hands of discount retailers,” commented Stuart Whitwell, joint managing director of Intangible Business. “If, as expected, major supermarkets bring in more lines of own label products to compete with discount retailers, 2009 will see a fierce battle of brand owners. We have seen examples of this in 2008 with Coke increasing market share over Pepsi and Warburtons firmly establishing itself as the number one provider of baked goods. This will only get worse.”

The report predicts that brands able to segment their product offerings to attract value conscious shoppers while maintaining brand equity are likely to be best able to withstand the coming storm.