Magazine article Marketing

Yellow Fats in Healthy State

Magazine article Marketing

Yellow Fats in Healthy State

Article excerpt

Once a static market, the yellow fats sector has undergone a recent renaissance. Brand owners are piling money and marketing effort into grabbing a share of the [pounds]788m market, writes Claire Murphy

Which top-five grocery sector is set to receive the most attention from brand owners this summer? Snacks? No. Cereals? Try again.

The market that is keeping marketers, designers and advertising agencies working late at the moment is the dubiously named but lucrative yellow fats market, worth [pounds]788m last year.

Dairy Crest has announced plans to treble the advertising spend for its Clover dairy spread to [pounds]7m. Last week, news emerged of a major shake-up at Anchor's marketing department aimed at increasing the consumer focus to capitalise on the brand's growing market share.

And two weeks ago, Unigate-owned St Ivel confirmed it is to pump [pounds]4.5m this year into re-launching its low-fat spread Gold. Rumours also suggest Van den Bergh Foods is preparing a massive promotional kick for Flora, the number one brand that has seen its value share of the market fall from 11.4% to 9.8% in the past year (IRI).

So what has prompted this flurry of activity? It can be traced back to the launch in 1991 of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter by Unilever's Van den Bergh Foods. Followed last year by St Ivel's Utterly Butterly, these are two brands that, through skilful marketing and a product proposition that was exactly in the right place at the right time, woke up consumer interest in a previously dull market.

Yellow fats is one of the few markets to come full circle in the past few decades. In the 60s butter was the thing; margarine was seen as cheaper and more down-market. Then came the 70s, with the beginning of doubts about cholesterol levels in butter.

Manufacturers started pushing margarine as a healthy alternative. Van den Bergh's Blue Band was the archetypal 60s margarine that was soon overshadowed by the advent of polyunsaturated margarines, including Flora, and Kraft Jacob Suchard's Vitalite.

A battle to launch brands with ever-decreasing amounts of fat began. Even supposedly 'healthy' brands like Flora were extended into 'extra light' and 'reduced salt' variants. St Ivel launched Gold as a healthy spread but subsequently added the word 'light' to the brand to emphasise the positioning. …

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