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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 23:31 GMT 00:31 UK
Healthier options 'boost brands'
Kellogg's cereal
Kellogg's was the UK's biggest selling brand
Brands that have responded to consumer demand for healthier products have shown strong UK sales in the past year, a survey suggests.

The study conducted by TNS Worldpanel and Marketing magazine found that Kellogg's was the top grocery brand with sales up 4% to more than 550m.

Walker's Crisps and Coca-Cola - which both launched healthier versions of traditional products also did well.

However, alcohol brands were also among those making the biggest gains.

The report said that there were several examples of "growth following the introduction or repositioning of health benefits".

'Savvy companies'

It's clear which way the wind is blowing - brands ignore the trend toward health at their peril
Lucy Barrett, deputy editor, Marketing magazine

Researchers said that the launch of Coke Zero - a sugar free drink - had helped the Coca-Cola brand boost UK sales by 7% in the year to the week ending April 22 2007.

Walker's reduction of saturated fat and introduction of baked crisps was another "key example" of the trend, adding 5% to sales.

Another snack brand, Pringles, added 17% to sales, partly through the launch of rice crackers and by highlighting that its crisps had lower fat than many of its rivals.

MOST POPULAR TAKE HOME GROCERY BRANDS
1. Kellogg's - 550m (+4%)
2. Heinz - 520m (-1%)
3. Walker's Crisps - 490m (+5%)
4. Cadbury - 490m (-1%)
5. Birds Eye - 465m (-2%)
Sales in year to April 22 2007. Growth in % is year-on-year. Source: TNS Worldpanel/Marketing magazine

"It's clear which way the wind is blowing - brands ignore the trend toward health at their peril," says Lucy Barrett, deputy editor of Marketing magazine.

"Savvy companies such as Walkers and McCain have responded and are now thriving. This year's figures show that consumers are only too willing to punish brands that don't take similar steps."

Despite the trend, alcohol brands were among the biggest selling groceries, with wine maker Gallo adding 33% to its annual sales and lager firm Carling up 26%.

'Missed opportunity'

"Whilst we are striving for healthier lifestyles, we still adopt a credit/debt attitude by seeking rewards such as alcohol, to congratulate ourselves for healthy living in other areas," said TNS Worldpanel's research director, Edward Garner.

Sales of Bernard Matthews products fell 17% in the year to about 245m, the survey said, amid concern over the outbreak of bird flu at one of its Norfolk farms.

Ms Barrett said that the negative publicity surrounding Turkey Twizzlers - the processed food much derided by high profile figures such as Jamie Oliver - had also dented its performance.

"It missed the opportunity to use this public exposure for its own benefit," Ms Barrett said.

"Companies often use stories such as these to highlight how committed they are to the public good. It failed to do so, and the subsequent consumer backlash is reflected in a downturn in sales."


SEE ALSO
Coca-Cola 'top UK brand seller'
21 Feb 07 |  Business
Coca-Cola profits beat forecasts
19 Oct 06 |  Business
Coke on the Rocks?
18 Nov 05 |  Business
Coca Cola sees profits rebound
21 Jul 05 |  Business
Slow US sales hit Coke's profits
19 Apr 05 |  Business

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