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Brand Overview: Food - UK - March 2018

“Expectations of brands and the categories they are in key to consumer perceptions. Breakfast cereals are a clear example of this. Health standards set by certain brands impact upon the way in which other brands that do not match up are viewed. Conversely, brands in treat categories largely avoid being seen as amongst the unhealthiest: people don’t expect them to be healthy, and so seem to judge them less harshly than is the case in other categories. This has important implications when it comes to reformulation. Brands in markets that are generally seen as being healthy may well benefit from reformulating, while brands in treat categories may detract from their strengths by doing so."

– Richard Hopping, Senior Brand and Household Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

Health and naturalness are key topics in the food market, while there is also real concern over the ethics of food production. When it comes to how people think about individual brands, consumer perceptions of these three qualities are closely linked, each having a knock-on effect on one another. However, brands that are seen as being natural or healthy are less likely to be seen as delicious, suggesting that people still think that there is a trade-off between health and taste.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Food Brand Leaders
            • Big name brands have almost universal appeal
              • Figure 1: Most widely used food brands, January 2015-January 2018
            • Most used brands likely to build trust
              • Figure 2: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that I trust”, January 2015-January 2018
            • Heinz Soup leads the way on value…
              • Figure 3: Agreement with “A brand that offers good value”, by total usage, January 2015 -January 2018
            • …while Heinz also leads on customer satisfaction
              • Figure 4: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by satisfaction (net of “good” and “excellent” reviews), January 2015-January 2018
            • Heinz, Walkers and Cadbury are most likely to be ranked as a favourite brand
              • Figure 5: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “This is a favourite brand”, January 2015-January 2018
            • Food Brand Personality Traits
              • People are prepared to pay more for brands that they’re proud to be associated with
                • Figure 6: Key Driver Analysis – strongest average positive correlation factors with “A brand that is worth paying more for” across all food brands, January 2015-January 2018
              • The value of constantly refreshing product ranges
                • Figure 7: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that is innovative”, January 2015-January 2018
              • Ethnic foods create authenticity
                • Figure 8: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “authentic”, January 2015-January 2018
              • Classic British brands score highly on tradition
                • Figure 9: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “traditional”, January 2015-January 2018
              • Treats = taste
                • Figure 10: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “delicious”, January 2015-January 2018
              • Natural brands unlikely to compete purely on taste
                • Figure 11: Agreement with “natural”, by agreement with “delicious”, January 2015-January 2018
              • Health and Wellbeing in Food
                • Ryvita tops the list of healthy brands
                  • Figure 12: Top ranking of brands by agreement with “healthy”, January 2015-January 2018
                • Perceptions of healthiness are influenced by a brand’s competitor set
                  • Figure 13: Top ranking of brands by agreement with “unhealthy”, January 2015-January 2018
                • Brands reformulating for health reasons
                  • Figure 14: Proportion of new product launches in the food sector carrying health claims, by leading brands in 2017, 2014-17
                • Food Brand Ethics
                  • Little link between recent usage and ethics
                    • Figure 15: Agreement with “ethical”, by eaten in the last year, January 2015-January 2018
                  • Unethical perceptions are fairly rare…
                    • Figure 16: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “unethical”, January 2015-January 2018
                  • …but brands are still showing a greater focus on ethics
                    • Figure 17: Proportion of ethical claims across new product launches in the food sector, 2014-17
                  • Adspend in the Food Sector
                    • Total adspend in the food sector declines
                      • Figure 18: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the food sector, 2014-17
                    • What we think
                    • Food Brand Leaders – What You Need to Know

                      • Big name brands have almost universal appeal
                        • Most used brands likely to build trust
                          • Value works in tandem with usage
                            • Satisfaction level with other sectors
                              • Heinz, Walkers and Cadbury are most likely to be favourite brands
                              • Brand Usage

                                • Big name brands have almost universal appeal
                                  • Figure 19: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by overall usage, January 2015-January 2018
                                • Treat brands able to brush off health concerns
                                  • The biggest brands have good longevity
                                    • Figure 20: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by usage in the last 12 months, January 2015-January 2018
                                • Brand Trust and Quality

                                  • Most used brands likely to build trust…
                                    • Figure 21: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that I trust”, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • …but there are exceptions to the pattern
                                    • Figure 22: Agreement with “A brand that I trust”, by total usage, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Filippo Berio stands out for quality
                                    • Figure 23: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that is consistently high quality”, January 2015-January 2018
                                • Brand Value

                                  • Value works in tandem with usage
                                    • Figure 24: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that offers good value”, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Trade-off between price and taste in chocolate
                                    • Figure 25: Agreement with “A brand that offers good value”, by total usage, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Quality helps to offset lack of perceived value
                                    • Figure 26: Agreement with “A brand that offers good value”, by agreement with “A brand that is consistently high quality”, January 2015-January 2018
                                • Brand Satisfaction and Recommendation

                                  • Satisfaction equal with other sectors
                                    • Figure 27: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by satisfaction (net of “good” and “excellent” reviews), January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Satisfaction generally leads to recommendation
                                    • Figure 28: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by likely recommendation, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Genius’s niche positioning may impact recommendation
                                    • Figure 29: Likely recommendation, by satisfaction (net of “Good” and “Excellent” responses), January 2015-January 2018
                                • Brand Preference and Differentiation

                                  • Heinz, Walkers and Cadbury most likely to be people’s favourite brands
                                    • Figure 30: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “This is a favourite brand”, January 2015-January 2018
                                  • Walkers and Cadbury edged out on differentiation
                                    • Figure 31: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by differentiation (net of “It’s a unique brand” and “It’s somewhat different from others”, January 2015-January 2018
                                • Food Brand Personality Traits – What You Need to Know

                                  • Generating pride could influence perception of worth paying more for
                                    • Investment in NPD pays off in terms of consumer perceptions
                                      • Ethnic foods create authenticity
                                        • Treats = taste
                                          • Natural brands unlikely to compete purely on taste
                                          • Brands Considered Worth Paying More For

                                            • Quality and standout contribute towards a willingness to pay more for a product
                                              • Figure 32: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that is worth paying more for”, January 2015-January 2018
                                            • Generating pride could influence consumer perceptions
                                              • Figure 33: Key Driver Analysis – strongest average positive correlation factors with “A brand that is worth paying more for” across all food brands, January 2015-January 2018
                                            • Creating pride through caring about food
                                              • Figure 34: Lurpak “Game On, Cooks” campaign, September 2016
                                            • Ben & Jerry’s aligns social causes with consumers
                                              • Figure 35: Ben & Jerry’s partnership with International Rescue Committee, October 2017
                                          • Innovative Food Brands

                                            • Innovative brands active in NPD
                                              • Figure 36: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “A brand that is innovative”, January 2015-January 2018
                                            • New variants influence Ben & Jerry’s innovative image
                                              • Figure 37: Examples of Unilever launches under the Ben & Jerry’s brand, 2017
                                            • Other big name brands focus on NPD
                                              • Figure 38: Examples of new product launches from brands considered innovative, 2017-18
                                            • Advertising and promotion as an innovator
                                              • Figure 39: New York Bakery Co. “The Woman Who Runs New York” campaign, September 2017
                                            • Brands are defined by the past as much as the present
                                              • Figure 40: Examples of New Covent Garden Co. launches, 2017
                                            • Being first to offer alternatives boosts image of Genius and Frylight
                                            • Authenticity and Tradition

                                              • Ethnic foods create authenticity
                                                  • Figure 41: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “authentic”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                • Patak's demonstrates its history to promote authenticity
                                                  • Tilda combines authenticity with relevance
                                                    • Figure 42: Tilda Super Grains launches, 2017
                                                  • Filippo and Napolina considered authentic
                                                    • Figure 43: Salov’s launch of Filippo Berio 150th anniversary packaging, 2017
                                                  • Tradition as a British trait
                                                    • Figure 44: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “traditional”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                  • Geographical factors influence tradition
                                                    • Figure 45: Colman’s and Ambrosia’s geographical citation on branding, 2018
                                                  • Past or present as a defining factor
                                                    • Dairy Milk uses advertising that links the past and present
                                                      • Figure 46: Cadbury’s “A glass and half in everyone” ad campaign, January 2018
                                                    • Anniversaries present opportunity for building traditional image
                                                      • Figure 47: Heinz and Ambrosia anniversary packaging, 2017
                                                    • Kellogg's Corn Flakes promotes universal appeal
                                                    • Food Brands and Taste

                                                      • Treats = taste
                                                        • Figure 48: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “delicious”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                      • Relationship between taste and comfort
                                                        • Figure 49: Agreement with “delicious”, by agreement with “comforting”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                      • Indulgent imagery can create taste expectations
                                                        • Figure 50: Agreement with “delicious”, by agreement with “indulgent”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                      • Healthy brands may lack perception of taste
                                                        • Figure 51: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “bland”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                      • Consumers also account for sophistication
                                                      • Natural Food Brands

                                                        • Breakfast cereals dominate brands considered natural
                                                          • Figure 52: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “natural”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                        • Natural brands unlikely to compete purely on taste…
                                                          • Figure 53: Agreement with “natural”, by agreement with “delicious”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                        • …but “natural” and “healthy” go hand-in-hand
                                                          • Figure 54: Agreement with “natural”, by agreement with “healthy”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                        • Shredded Wheat and Weetabix push natural as energising
                                                          • Figure 55: Team Shredded Wheat at the British Touring Car Championship, 2017
                                                        • Burgen, Alpro and Flora use ingredient cues to denote “natural”
                                                          • Figure 56: Alpro plant-based breakfasts, change a little, enjoy a lot, September 2017
                                                        • Teaming up with conservation organisations
                                                        • Health and Wellbeing in Food – What You Need to Know

                                                          • To be seen as healthy, well-being needs to be at the core of a brand’s proposition
                                                            • Different breakfast cereals considered healthy and unhealthy
                                                              • Brands reformulating for health reasons
                                                                • Risk of detracting from strength by reformulating
                                                                • Healthiness in Context

                                                                  • Consumers looking to eat healthily
                                                                    • Publicity promotes sugar and salt concern
                                                                      • Figure 57: Importance of factors when looking for healthy foods, November 2017
                                                                  • Brands Considered Healthy

                                                                    • Brands considered healthy make it a priority
                                                                      • Figure 58: Top ranking of brands by agreement with “healthy”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                    • Ryvita teams up with Davina McCall to boost weight loss connotations
                                                                      • Figure 59: Davina McCall teams up with Ryvita, January 2018
                                                                    • Frylight and Special K proposition built on calories
                                                                      • Figure 60: Kellogg’s Special K product launches, 2017-18
                                                                    • Breakfast cereals use wholegrains as a health cue
                                                                      • Figure 61: Examples of product launches from Weetabix, Shredded Wheat and Oat So Simple, 2016-17
                                                                    • Brands contributing towards ongoing health and functionality
                                                                      • Figure 62: Actimel Stay Strong campaign, 2017
                                                                    • Flora’s plant base helps indicate healthiness
                                                                      • Figure 63: Examples of Unilever launches under the Flora brand, 2017
                                                                  • Brands Considered Unhealthy

                                                                    • Breakfast cereals considered unhealthy
                                                                      • Figure 64: Top ranking of brands by agreement with “healthy”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                    • Expectations of brands play a vital role in how consumers view them
                                                                      • Favoured brands unlikely to be thought of as unhealthy
                                                                        • Kellogg’s undergoes product revamp
                                                                          • Figure 65: Public Health England response to Kellogg’s announcement to cut sugar, November 2017
                                                                        • Pot Noodle’s image influenced by past campaigns
                                                                          • Figure 66: Pot Noodle #YouCanMakeIt Instagram Post, January 2018
                                                                        • Brands considered less natural considered unhealthy
                                                                          • Figure 67: Agreement with “unhealthy”, by agreement with “natural”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                        • Cheestrings and Peperami attempt to boost natural image
                                                                          • Figure 68: Cheestrings and Peperami packaging calling out natural/healthy cues, 2017
                                                                        • Natural connotations can help save brands from unhealthy associations
                                                                        • Brand Activity on Health

                                                                          • Brands reformulating for health reasons
                                                                            • Figure 69: Proportion of new product launches in the food sector carrying health claims, by leading brands in 2017, 2014-17
                                                                          • Low/no/reduced fat and calorie launches slide
                                                                            • Figure 70: Examples of new product launches with low/no/reduced fat or calorie claims, 2017
                                                                          • Low/no/reduced sugar claims grow
                                                                            • Risk of detracting from strength by reformulating
                                                                              • Figure 71: Examples of new product launches reformulated with low/no/reduced sugar claims, 2017
                                                                            • Free-from marks the biggest shift in launch activity
                                                                              • Figure 72: Examples of free-from product launches in the food sector, 2017
                                                                            • Brands may be hamstrung by lack of taste perceptions
                                                                              • Heinz seeks to remind consumers of health benefits
                                                                                • Figure 73: Heinz “Good For You Without Going On About It”, May 2017
                                                                              • Dolmio shows the risk of highlighting health issues
                                                                                • Figure 74: Selected consumer perceptions of Dolmio, October 2014 and November 2016
                                                                            • Food Brand Ethics – What You Need to Know

                                                                              • Little link between recent usage and ethics
                                                                                • Unethical perceptions fairly uncommon
                                                                                  • Contents of products appear more influential than packaging
                                                                                    • Product launches demonstrate higher focus on ethics
                                                                                      • Use of recycled materials is an opportunity to differentiate
                                                                                      • Food Brands Considered Ethical

                                                                                        • Food brands find it easier to highlight ethics
                                                                                          • Figure 75: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “ethical”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                                        • Little link between recent usage and ethics
                                                                                          • Figure 76: Agreement with “ethical”, by eaten in the last year, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                                        • Dorset Cereals supports conservation
                                                                                          • Figure 77: Dorset Cereals’ Woodland Trust support on pack of Oat and Barley Porridge, 2018
                                                                                        • Green & Black’s launches its first non-Fair Trade bar
                                                                                          • Figure 78: Examples of Mondelez launches with Cocoa Life accreditation, 2017-18
                                                                                        • Genius opens up product to disenfranchised
                                                                                          • Figure 79: Genius post offering recipes for coeliacs on New Year’s Eve, December 2017
                                                                                        • The halo effect benefits big name food brands
                                                                                          • Walkers’ Britishness may make up for other flaws
                                                                                            • Figure 80: Paddy McGuinness Tweet around Walkers’ sandwich flavours, September 2016
                                                                                          • Recyclable packaging can make a difference
                                                                                            • Figure 81: Examples of recycling information on Quaker Oat So Simple, New Covent Garden Co. and Weetabix packaging, 2017
                                                                                        • Brands Considered Unethical

                                                                                          • Unethical perceptions fairly uncommon
                                                                                            • Figure 82: Top ranking of brands in the food sector by agreement with “unethical”, January 2015-January 2018
                                                                                          • Unethical brands likely to be seen as unhealthy
                                                                                            • Contents of products appear more influential than packaging
                                                                                            • Brand Activity on Ethics

                                                                                              • Product launches demonstrate higher focus on ethics
                                                                                                • Figure 83: Proportion of ethical claims across new product launches in the food sector, 2014-17
                                                                                              • Use of recycled materials is an opportunity to differentiate
                                                                                                • Figure 84: Examples of product launches using recycled materials in the food sector, 2016-17
                                                                                              • Pringles unaffected by Recycling Association claim
                                                                                                • Figure 85: Agreement with “unethical” for Pringles, November 2011-December 2017
                                                                                              • Brands target packaging to reduce manufacturing waste
                                                                                                • Figure 86: Kooperatine Bendrove Grybai’s Auga launches in waste-reducing smart packs, 2017
                                                                                                • Figure 87: Examples of brands reusing by-products of manufacture, 2017
                                                                                              • Brands seek to tackle food waste
                                                                                                • Figure 88: Oddbox Tweet promising fairness and fighting food waste, December 2017
                                                                                              • Driving sustainability programmes
                                                                                                • Figure 89: Examples of brands highlighting waste-cutting initiatives on-pack, 2017
                                                                                              • Advertising can highlight the journey from farm to fork
                                                                                                • Figure 90: Lidl’s #LidlSurprises campaign focusing on provenance of products, 2017
                                                                                                • Figure 91: Agreement with “ethical” for McDonald’s, KFC and Lidl, 2012 and 2017
                                                                                              • Frozen as a way to boost sustainability
                                                                                                • Figure 92: Birds Eye “Forever Food Together” aims, 2014
                                                                                              • More brands enter frozen category
                                                                                                • Figure 93: Saucy Fish Co. frozen fish launches, 2017-18
                                                                                            • Promotional Activity – What You Need to Know

                                                                                              • Total adspend in the food sector declines
                                                                                                • Retailers tend to be biggest spenders
                                                                                                  • Top spenders enjoy positive brand images
                                                                                                  • Adspend in the Food Sector

                                                                                                    • Total adspend in the food sector declines
                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the food sector, 2014-17
                                                                                                    • Christmas period drives adspend
                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the food sector, by quarter, 2014-17
                                                                                                    • Retailers tend to be biggest spenders
                                                                                                      • Figure 96: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the food sector, by top advertisers for 2017, 2014-17
                                                                                                    • Tesco increases adspend with Love Stories campaign
                                                                                                      • Figure 97: Tesco Love Stories campaign, 2017
                                                                                                    • Top spenders enjoy positive brand images
                                                                                                      • Figure 98: Top brand adspend by company advertiser, 2017
                                                                                                    • Walkers perpetuates strong image with ads
                                                                                                      • Figure 99: Walkers Max Strong Beer Magnets TV campaign, February 2018
                                                                                                    • Lurpak and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes push strengths
                                                                                                      • Figure 100: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes advertising campaign, 2017
                                                                                                    • Saucy Fish Co. uses advertising to promote itself
                                                                                                      • Figure 101: Saucy Fish Co. “Frozen Just Got Cooler” campaign, 2017
                                                                                                    • Arla Skyr continuing to highlight its presence
                                                                                                      • Figure 102: Arla Skyr “The Judge” campaign, 2017
                                                                                                    • Mondelez uses tech to personalise campaign for Belvita
                                                                                                      • Figure 103: Good Mornings start with Belvita campaign, February 2017
                                                                                                    • Boosting indulgent connotations within confectionery
                                                                                                      • Figure 104: Adspend in the food sector, by category, 2017
                                                                                                      • Figure 105: Lindt Lindor “In The Moment” campaign, November 2017
                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel Coverage
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Brands Covered

                                                                                                          Brand Overview: Food - UK - March 2018

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