When Premier Foods decided to reinvest in and reformulate the UK flour and bread brand Hovis, it knew packaging could help persuade consumers to reconsider the brand.



Once purchased by three-quarters of British households, the 125-year-old UK flour and bread brand Hovis was, in recent years, in steep decline. Product quality had been allowed to slip by former brand owners; marketing had been dialed back; and, not surprisingly, market share was plummeting. But when Premier Foods decided to reinvest in and reformulate the product, it knew packaging could help persuade consumers to reconsider the brand. A redesign celebrated Hovis’ roots, playing up the brand’s original wordmark and its historic delivery boy graphic for an emotional appeal, while more practical color coding helped distinguish varieties on the shelf. But it was the transparent half of the redesigned bread bag that best signaled a change, showcasing the improved product quality and demonstrating the confidence Hovis had in its renewed consumer appeal. 

The Bottom Line: Market share was at a low of 22.9 percent when the redesign first hit the shelf. While there was an immediate pick up in penetration and average weight of purchase, in the year following the relaunch, sales increased by 20 percent; penetration went from 31 percent to 35 percent; and market share reached just under an all-time peak of 28 percent. Advertising and PR were part of the marketing mix, but design played a critical role in the uptick, as evidenced by a Tesco buyer that, when presented with the new design, said: “Now, that’s more like it. How soon can we have it? And we want an exclusive!” (Package design: JKR, www.jkr.co.uk)