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Cheese Brands need a USP

Cheese Brands need a USP
Sir:  The title of my article is Cheese Brands need a USP as I read your Focus on Cheese with interest (‘The brands ride again’, 1 December, p43). It is intriguing to see that cheese brands are closing the gap on own label. However, in my opinion the value (not volume) growth that is driving this increase in market share has been created largely by the right promotions and the noise made in the Cheddar category.

It is generally accepted that in recession, consumers prefer price reductions to multibuys, due to the lower initial outlay. The Cheddar category is driving value growth by moving towards price reductions and fewer bogofs as it becomes harder for manufacturers to sustain this type of promotion and see genuine value growth.

Having worked in the cheese and dairy category for a number of years, I have seen very little evidence of consumer loyalty towards Cheddar brands or own-label products. Consumers will switch depending on the promotions running.

So what is the answer? I believe it is about creating and focusing on a stronger USP. This could be through packaging, although I tend to agree with Richard Clothier that consumers will not pay extra for better packaging solutions; nor will they switch brands. Perhaps format is the way forward – I certainly believe all usage occasions such as adult snacking have not been fully exploited.

Whatever the solution, the Holy Grail for manufacturers is to create a point of difference that resonates and drives loyalty; a task that has not been achieved to date.
Dave Marston, Category Wins