Shifting brands: big food labels under threat
In the battle of the brands, an ever more complex own-brand juggernaut is a threat to even the most established names
Among the most visible trends is the big brands’ market share being eroded by own-brand gains
The latest Checkout Top 100 Brands rankings may not appear to have changed all that much from previous years, but scratch beneath the surface and there’s a complex array of stories to tell.
Compiled in association with Nielsen from sales of more than 6,500 brands across 200 product categories, the annual top 100 is a comprehensive barometer of the biggest- selling brands in the grocery space, and it is unsurprising to see so many familiar names populating its upper tier. Coca-Cola tops the list (for the ninth year in a row), followed by Avonmore in second, Brennans third, Lucozade fourth and Cadbury Dairy Milk fifth.
But far from being a popularity contest, the full list reflects the challenging market conditions in which the biggest grocery brands compete. As Ireland’s largest retailers grow, brand owners need to adapt to cater for both the needs of their target audience and the demands of supermarket buyers.
They need to be capable of delivering value while maintaining continuous product innovation. They need to ensure their brand – and not their competitors’ – retains “front-of-mind” status with consumers. And increasingly, they need to be aware of an ever more complex own-brand juggernaut that threatens to derail even the most established of brands.
Thus, the Checkout Top 100 Brands is more like a set of intertwining brand “stories”, a barometer of how successfully Ireland’s biggest-selling operators have been able to traverse the competitive retail landscape. Among the most visible trends is the brands’ market share being eroded by own-brand gains. Milk, a staple of most shopping baskets, is arguably the category that has seen the leading brands’ market share eroded most significantly.
While the category leader, Avonmore, has retained second position in the top 100, the growing prevalence for own-brand bainne has led to a slide in sales for the likes of Premier (down nine places to 57th) and Connacht Gold (down 14 places to 97th). The Dawn brand, which was placed 88th last year, slips out of the Top 100 altogether.
With value being such a strong part of the consumer mindset, brands that have been able to communicate added-value credentials have prospered.
The most striking example of this is MiWadi, which was placed 62nd this year, up from 75th in 2012, and 89th the year before. The reason? A bottle of MiWadi lasts a lot longer than its carbonated rivals in terms of family refreshment, in the eyes of many consumers.