With falling potato consumption a major concern one potato supply company has reaped in the benefits of a strong brand name to maintain sales.
Albert Bartlett Ltd is based in Airdrie in Scotland and has been a household brand name for around 13 years.
In that time brand investment has cost Bartletts about £40m but it has been money well spent according to John Hicks from the company.
He said: “Potatoes have been in sharp decline in volume terms unlike salads and berries. There have been health negatives from time to time which we have had to counter and the lack of inclusion in the Five-a Day initiative has not helped. One thing has become clear is that selling for less does not increase volumes when it comes to fresh potatoes. But we would have been in a far worse position if we didn’t have 13 years of branding and product innovation behind us.”
Back in 2003 Albert Bartlett supplied two supermarkets but now supplies almost all of the multiple retailers and claims to have around 14 per cent household penetration in the UK.
One of its more recognisable potatoes is the red-skinned Rooster variety which has been central to a number of high profile TV advertising campaigns using celebrity chefs Andrew Fairlie and Michel Roux to tell the story.
Mr Hicks added: “Brands such as Heinz Beanz, Corn Flakes and Walkers Crisps are very strong but it is possible to create new ones. Innocent have done that with drinks and Albert Bartlett has done it with Rooster. We have been aiming for a younger market and we were starting from a position where consumers had low expectations when it came to potatoes.”
The goal is to attract the target audience of 25 to 44 year olds with new products and recipes but also with education being the key.
By Chris McCullough