Helena Drakakis learns all about Pladis’ plans for Britain’s three daily snack needs.
Better Wholesaling: How has Pladis helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
Matt Blake: We launched McVitie’s Nibbles into the wholesale channel with a tailored £1 pricemarked pack (PMP) in three variants, with a recent fourth extension – Hobnobs Nibbles. Overall, Nibbles has added £15m to the category, making it the biggest innovation in the biscuit market in more than five years.
Then, we had an exclusive launch for the convenience channel – the 89p McVitie’s Biscuit Barrel range brings together some of the UK’s best-loved biscuits including Custard Creams, Bourbons and Shorties.
We also relaunched our bestselling McVitie’s Chocolate Biscuit range in a revised PMP format, reducing the RRP from £1.75 to £1.50. This offers a 1% improvement in wholesaler margin and a competitive headline price to the retailer. Lastly, we launched an exclusive wholesaler case size containing 15 packs for the price of 12.
BW: What is the greatest challenge the industry faces?
MB: With business rates, tobacco legislation and overheads on the rise, retailers are going to be faced with even more pressure to improve their margin by other means. They will be looking for ways to enhance this through deals and new products.
BW: What trends and opportunities are emerging in wholesale?
MB: There are more than 4.6m snacking occasions every day, and an ‘on the go’ snacking market delivering 4% year-on-year growth is one of the key trends that we need to capitalise on. Pladis is perfectly placed to deliver, and in ‘treat’, ‘hunger-fill’ and ‘health’, we have identified three key need-states that cover all times of the day.
BW: What challenges has Pladis had to overcome in the past year?
MB: The biggest challenge we faced was Storm Desmond. This caused flooding in Carlisle at one of our flagship factories, resulting in what some called ‘The Great British Biscuit Shortage’. While it is difficult to put an exact figure on it, approximately 60% of the decline in sales in biscuits such as Bourbons, Custard Creams and Ginger Nuts could be attributed to this flood.
BW: What was Pladis’ greatest achievement in the past year?
MB: Becoming Pladis, after previously being known as United Biscuits. At the same time, it has been business as normal. Our new owners are supporting us every step of the way in growing the biscuit category in this channel.
BW: What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in biscuits this year?
MB: Our Better Biscuits Best Sellers platform can help wholesalers and retailers make the right decisions about which biscuit brands to stock, and it can help them to grow sales profitably.
Its five simple steps are easy to follow. By improving the merchandising with clear point-of-sale material and following the Better Biscuits Wholesale advice, the Top 50 biscuit sales grew an average of 3% in the depots we worked on.
BW: What would you like to see happening in wholesale?
MB: I’d really like to see the channel leading the way in retailing. We can move at pace, influence retailers and improve interactions with them. It is a unique channel for driving distribution, and we can advance on the digital platform through click & collect, for example.
BW: Are you planning anything of which wholesalers should be aware?
MB: Our focuses are McVitie’s Nibbles and Better Biscuits Best Sellers. I’m really excited about the innovation plan and coupled with our Better Biscuits Better Business approach, we have got a lot to offer again this year.