Bury St Edmunds/ Mendlesham: Premier Foods sales push plans are unveiled

HOVIS bread and Mr Kipling cakes group Premier Foods is to launch a major television advertising push this week after admitting its marketing efforts had failed to keep pace with competitors’.

The debt-laden group has doubled its marketing spend to more than �50million for this year in a bid to build on the “strengths and heritage” of eight “power” brands. Its Sharwood’s spice range will kick off the marketing push on Thursday with a “Great British Curry” campaign showing a chef visiting curry houses.

American presenter Loyd Grossman, whose name is lent to a number of cooking sauces, will return to television from February 6 in an advert that will highlight his passion for food, while a new Hovis ad from February 10 will continue a previous campaign showing a young boy’s journey through recent history.

Further advertising for the Mr Kipling, Bisto, Oxo and Ambrosia brands will be launched in the next few months as part of the largest period of TV advertising the company has ever launched. Each ad will carry a Premier Foods signature.

Premier Foods has more than 40 sites across the UK, including a Hovis distribution site at Mendlesham and a factory in Bury St Edmunds producing Branston pickle and Haywards pickled onions as well as Loyd Grossman cooking sauces and own-label products for the supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Branston does not feature on the list of “power” brands on which Premier plans to focus. The group has indicated that further non-core brands are likely to be sold this year, as it continues its battle to reduce its debt, with Hartley’s jams, made at Histon, near Cambridge, and Sarson’s vinegar tipped to be sold next.

Premier is funding the increased advertising spend by stepping up its programme of cost savings, which it warned earlier this month would involve around 600 job cuts across the group by next year.