Savoury biscuits assault launched by UB

UB is launching a £10M ad campaign for its savoury biscuits under its Jacob's brand

United Biscuits aims to invest £3.5M in its plants at Aintree, near Liverpool, and Harlesden in north west London as it prepares to boost its savoury biscuits market share.

“We are investing £3.5M just this year, a combination of over £2M in capacity and £1M in manufacturing efficiency,” United Biscuits (UB) md Jon Eggleton told “It’s the beginning of a long-term development of the Jacob’s brand.”

The firm, which launched a £10M ‘Snack Happy’ advertising campaign for Jacob’s yesterday (April 1), said the category offered huge potential and it planned to unite all its savoury biscuits under that brand.

“We believe there’s massive opportunity in the savoury biscuit market and we base that on two key observations,” said Eggleton. “First, if you look at the share of the savoury biscuit market in the UK, they have 18% of the market – 82% is sweet biscuits. In Australia and the US, savoury has a 40%+ share.”

‘Growing interest’

“Second, when you talk to consumers there’s a growing interest and desire to have snack products which are baked, not fried.” All UB’s savoury products fit that description.

“Savoury biscuits are one of the fastest growing snacks categories,” Eggleton added. “The market is growing at 4–5% this year and we are expecting to grow it at over 5% for the next three to four years, backed by investment in capacity, media support and the development of NPD [new product development].”

UB hopes to grow the retail sales value of Jacob’s by 20% in the next two and a half years.

He claimed the Jacob’s brand commanded a 30% share of UK savoury biscuits, so UB would use it to spearhead its thrust into the market.

Jacob’s masterbrand

Other UB products in the category include Mini Cheddars, Twiglets and Oddities. The firm wanted to develop these under the umbrella of the Jacob’s masterbrand, Eggleton said. “We have developed an advertising campaign for Jacob’s with different executions for different products.”

The move follows its announcement in February that it was uniting its sweet biscuit products under its McVitie’s brand.

Three 30-second commercials featuring comedian and writer Jason Cook as Jacob the Baker will hit TV screens initially as part of the ‘Snack Happy’ ad campaign. The character travels the length and breadth of the UK encouraging consumers to sample UB’s savoury lines.

The TV campaign, supported by marketing through radio, print and online media, will run throughout 2014 and the first is set to air on ITV1 at 7.28pm this evening during Coronation Street.

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