The fastest growing grocery brands in the UK are those that claim health benefits, with other major trends including the prolific rise of premium, indulgence and convenience products, the latest Top 100 Grocery Brands 2005 Report from ACNielsen and Checkout concludes.

The annual survey of grocery sales shows that an increasing proportion of shoppers in supermarkets, impulse stores and independent retail outlets are opting for products that are perceived as healthy, such as juices and probiotic yoghurts.

Eleni Nicholas, group managing director of ACNielsen UK said: “If I were to summarise the trends across most categories they would be: health and wellness, premium/ indulgence and convenience – all driven by changing consumer lifestyles. If marketers can address all three areas by developing a healthy, convenient and indulgent product, then they will undoubtedly have a recipe for success and real growth.”

Danone probiotic products reported impressive growth throughout 2005. Actimel, the fastest growing brand in 2004, has continued to expand with sales increasing by 26% in 2005, becoming the UK’s 41st largest brand. Sales of Danone’s probiotic yoghurt Activa grew by an impressive 70% but failed to make it into the list of the UK’s top 100 brands.

Marketing health has also paid off for leading bread brands, with Warburtons, Hovis and Kingsmill making it into the top-ten sales rankings. Warburtons, which launched several new products last year including a prebiotic loaf “Healthy Inside” saw a 13.5% increase in sales and was 2005’s number two brand, second only to Coca-Cola.

Others brands that benefited from increased health conscious shopping included Petit Filous (+22.6%), Uncle Ben’s rice (+21%), Tropicana (+14%), Flora (+8%), Heinz Baked Beans (+7%) and Weetabix (+6%).

On the other hand, the survey demonstrated that indulgent food brands also performed well throughout the year. Aero, positioned as a lighter chocolate, was the fastest growing brand with sales increasing by 33% on 2004 levels. Sales of Galaxy, which launched the Promises sub-brand last year, grew by 11%. In savoury snacks, McCoy’s crisps grew ahead of the sector, with sales increasing by 16% making it the nation’s 70th largest brand.