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Insider View: December 2015

Insider View: December 2015

…..Own label is tightening its grip, with the Discounter twins forcing all grocery retailers to review their strategy and up their game.

Analysis of all products tested through Fast Foodfax in 2015 revealed the best ever year for own label, mirroring findings in this year’s 10th Grocer Food & Drink Awards. Standards are on the increase and, while Premium lines inevitably do well, that’s not the full story, as just under half of the 2015 Gold winners in the Grocer Awards were taken by ‘standard’, mid-tier products. The impact of the Discounters across the grocery landscape is clear from the rise in Own Label product ratings since 2013. In our Top 100 review of new products tested in 2015 Aldi has achieved the top conversion rate again (with over half of the 20 products tested making it into the Top 100 most highly rated lines). Consumers were often amazed at the quality of Aldi’s Specially Selected range, particularly at the prices asked. Across all products tested in 2015, the average price was £2.26 (£2.08 last year), while the average price of Top 100 lines was 64p cheaper. Whilst absolute price point is important, the most successful products are not just cheap, they are usually as good, if not better than, comparative brands.

So who were the winners for 2015? The Top 100 scorers this year were the most innovative and the most relevant; they offered consumers quality and affordability. The brands were well represented, taking 6 of the top 10 slots, but were mostly familiar brands such as The Laughing Cow, Cadbury’s and Colman’s. Tesco was well represented in the Top 10 Own label performers scooping the number one position with their Peanut Caramel Ice Cream (50), and Sainsbury’s had a better year, particularly for their standard range. 2015 was a year when manufacturers were striving for a less processed image, where provenance and cooking method were often mentioned in the product descriptions. The growth of ‘free from’ was very evident from the number tested this year (12 compared to just 2 in 2014) as ‘clean’ eating rises.. So what can we expect for 2016? We predict no let up from the Discounters and a continuing rise in own label standards across the Big 4 as they respond to this challenge. As for the Brands more extensions of well established names, but a tough year for middle market players, although there may be space for more innovative smaller brands to fulfil a niche amongst early adopters, even if the space doesn’t last long – retailer patience for performance is shorter than ever.

Visit our website: for more detailed information about this year’s TOP 100…….. Contact Ann Moore on 01223 492069 for details about Fast Foodfax

This was a month where health and indulgence sat side by side:

  • Tesco is set for January with a healthy frozen soup. Healthy Living Mediterranean Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup ticked all the boxes, with the pellet format making it easy to heat up just the amount required. (Showcase Product of the month Review 151202)
  • Iceland is also expecting a post Christmas diet boom with their Chicken Ramen Soup – another frozen product that offers a lighter meal option, but was packed full of flavour (Review 151214)
  • Weetabix packs some punch with its new Protein Crunch, a high protein and fibre cereal with strong health credentials, but sweet enough for the family cereals repertoire. (Review: 151201)
  • While Kellogg’s has also jumped on the Protein bandwagon – with Protein Crunch, an interesting choice for their female oriented Special K (Review: 151225)
  • Asda’s Christmas Belgium Chocolate Cranberry & Orange Tiffin (44) was so delicious “you wouldn’t guess it’s Free From”. (Review: 151210)
  • And Cadbury’s hasn’t lost its magic with consumers as their Amaze Bites Brownie Cakes matched the current category max rating. (Review 151234)

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