Umbrella brand changes climate

THE company behind McVitie’s and Jacob’s – United Biscuits – is now well into major activity, said to be worth £22m, that has seen it adopt a masterbrand strategy for its brands, which it says account for 40% of all the baked biscuits in UK cupboards.

It created two umbrella brands, McVitie’s and Jacobs, and swapped lines between them, to set up two, significantly more distinct, strands in its portfolio.


The firm claims the new umbrella approach has already helped reverse some stormy conditions in the biscuits market, at least for its brands.

Trade communications controller at United Biscuits, Hena Chandarana said: “At the heart of our success has been the re-launch of McVitie’s and Jacob’s under our masterbrand strategy.

“We have brought all our savoury biscuits and baked snacks, except Carr’s, under the banner of Jacob’s and all sweet products, except Go Ahead, under the McVitie’s brand.

“As a result of the campaign, both sales and brand awareness increased significantly for the McVitie’s range.

“In just a few weeks following the launch of our animal-themed Sweeet TV adverts, sales increased by 11% for the brands featured, and 5% for total McVitie’s products.”

In savoury biscuits it reckons there’s increasing consumer demand for healthier and more convenient products and that its new approach and marketing activity is addressing that successfully.

“The success of Jacob’s Crispbreads, having reached over £4m retail sales value since January 2014, shows that consumers are responding to savoury biscuit lines catered towards a need for lighter on-the-go lunchtime products,” said Chandarana.

“Several of our brands are growing strongly, including Jacob’s Mini Cheddars, Jacob’s Oddities and the Jacob’s Flatbreads range.”

Burton’s Biscuit Company says the overall biscuits market is tough but there are trends that retailers can use to their advantage.

Head of customer category management David Costello said: “As permissibility and portion control remain high on the shopper agenda, this represents a great opportunity for the biscuit category.

“When Scotland’s £22m biscuit market is facing a tough time, everyday treats and savoury biscuits are leading the way and showing value growth of 3.9% and 3.7% respectively.

“Scottish shoppers are also more likely to buy branded biscuits than in other parts of the UK.

“Retailers should give more shelf space to every day treats and savoury biscuits.”