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Insider View: December 2014

Insider View: December 2014

 … and they were almost matching brands in ratings for innovation and lifestyle relevance.

The discounters have fundamentally changed the retail environment in the UK, further enhancing the role of own label. And once again Aldi has led the way with half of all of its products that we tested in 2014 making it into the Top 100 most highly rated lines over the year. With more than 90% of consumers in our recent U&A claiming to be ‘always on the look-out for a bargain’*, and the discounters changing the way we benchmark Value for Money, absolute price point remains a key driver of success. Average prices for the Top 100 scorers are 33p cheaper than on all products tested, but there was an average price plateau this year following a sharp decrease in the average price of the highest scoring lines in 2013. This is further evidence of a stabilisation of food prices and consumer confidence following the recession. Research in the USA** suggests that cautious spending behaviour is the new norm and the same seems true in the UK. That doesn’t mean that consumers won’t pay a premium for top tier/ high quality/ treat items. It just means they are even more critical if they feel a product is over-priced. It also affects the way they spend their money. Any possibility of reducing their bill on everyday staples will help fund weekend treats.

Successful own label brands are far more innovative and relevant than other entries. So what is the future for brands in the UK? Brands have to become smarter about offering a unique selling point, often re-inventing themselves, exploiting their strengths, using innovative packaging and offering sharper prices. The Discounter has played a key role in this change, introducing new often high quality ‘brands’ from the Continent and blurring the lines between own label and traditional branded lines. Never has the retail environment witnessed such turbulence. It will be fascinating to see what 2015 brings.

*Source: Shopper Behaviour Survey, Cambridge Market Research, Sept 2014

** Source: America the frugal: US Consumer Sentiment Survey. McKinsey & Co, 09/12/14

Keep in touch with your competitor’s innovations – a Fast Foodfax subscription is a small price to pay for competitive advantage. Contact Ann Moore on 01223 492050 for details – we offer great deals to new subscribers.


  • Asda’s Mini Chocolate Orange Cheesecakes – a bite sized treat; perfect for entertaining. (Review 141209)
  • Iceland’s Duck Legs flavoured with Jim Beam Bourbon perked up our testers for being ‘new and different’ with a ‘delicious sauce’ and ‘lots of meat’. (Review 141203)
  • Nomadic’s Oat Clusters & Natural Yogurt (45) shows there is life beyond the twin pot & their dome shaped pot prompted a near maximum rating for packaging (Review 141233)

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