Blog: Dean BestHovis turns to flavour to lure UK consumers

Dean Best | 22 April 2014

UK bread maker Hovis is rolling out flavoured loaves to capture consumer attention in a fiercely competitive category.

The company has developed a three-strong Hovis Taste Sensations line and argues UK consumers are "on the lookout" for new products in one of the most heavily-shopped categories in the grocery store.

Hovis, set to be controlled by Gores Group after the US private-equity firm and former owner Premier Foods set up a venture earlier this year, said it had an eye on lunch.

"Lunchtime is a key opportunity for us, especially as sandwiches remain the number one favourite lunchtime option in the UK," Tim Dummer, head of customer marketing, said.

Dummer also admitted UK retailers wanted more NPD from suppliers." Innovation is rising in importance for retailers, with 45% identifying genuine NPD as a key focus, up from 24% in 2012, reflecting their desire to meet consumer demand for new products that will drive sales."

The launch of breads flavoured with sundried tomato, basil and pesto and sweet red pepper is likely to attract consumer interest and the non-white segments of the sector are in robust health.

Nonetheless, sliced white is still the most popular segment of packaged bread sales in the UK. And rival Associated British Foods has sought to grab consumer attention in that part of the fixture with its recent launch of Kingsmill Great White, which it says it is a healthier alternative to standard white bread.

Moreover, packaged sliced bread is under pressure in the UK - should bread makers like Hovis be instead putting more resource into products like pittas, wraps and bagels?

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