It’s not just packed lunches that help spread sales soar. Butter and spreads are big players on the breakfast table too.
LIKE cereal and milk, toast and butter, or another spread, provide one of the great staple combinations of the breakfast table.
And Flora brand owner Unilever says retailers can capitalise on current demand for cheap, filling at-home breakfasts to boost sales of butter and spreads.
Quoting IRI Research findings for the the year to November 2013, Unilever says the butter and spreads category is worth over £1.2bn in value sales. It also says that low-fat diet spreads are selling well, growing at a rate of 23.5%.
Flora sales are said to be worth £177m and to account for over 14% of the butter and spreads category, while Flora Lighter than Light is said to be worth £2m and growing at a rate of 11.4%.
The research also shows that health spreads account for 22% of the butters and spreads category. The Flora range also includes Flora pro.activ, the UK’s number one cholesterol lowering spread, which had sales of £49m over 12 months according to IRI.
The firm quotes other research findings from Kantar and says 38% of all spreads are consumed at breakfast times.
In tough economic times consumers want to fill up on a good breakfast at home as an effective way of saving money, the spreads brand owner reckons.
Nick Hart, category manager for chilled food at Unilever UK, said: “Breakfast and lunch are the key occasions for spreads, accounting for 84% of total usage. Since the recession started, homemade breakfasts and lunches have enjoyed a revival, up 3% and 3.4% respectively since 2008.
“Homemade breakfasts and sandwiches are the natural choice for mums who are looking for a healthy and economical alternative to out-of-home meals and present a key opportunity to unlock category value. This can be achieved by inspiring shoppers with interesting and engaging mealtime ideas, which feature complimentary foods such as bread and morning goods.”
The company also argues that health and healthy eating are current priorities for shoppers and, as a result, foods that are regarded as healthy are increasingly commercially important to retailers.
But, it claims, consumers will no longer accept products that have excellent nutritional values but lack flavour.
So retailers should stock low-fat or low-calorie products that don’t compromise on taste, it says.
Adrian Adams, senior category manager for chilled food at Unilever UK, said: “Health and taste are key drivers of the butters and spreads category. However, shoppers are increasingly unwilling to compromise on taste in order to be healthier.
“This presents a clear opportunity for the category to maximise sales through tasty product innovation and also improved shopper education on how they can better manage their family’s health.”
Unilever’s tips on boosting butter and spreads sales
• Group products by type (such as all cholesterol-lowering spreads together) to highlight them to consumers and encourage them to expand their selection.
• Encourage consumer trade-up to premium products by stocking a wide range of products. Those should include cholesterol-lowering spreads or olive spreads, such as Flora pro.activ and Bertolli, alongside other leading products to target upper market shoppers who, Unilever says, typically purchase a diverse range of spreads to be used for a variety of purposes.
• Enusre that butters and spreads displays and fixtures are simply laid out and easy to navigate, so that consumers can clearly and quickly identify different spreads and spread types.