When Yildiz Holdings acquired United Biscuits (UB) and combined it with its own chocolate and confectionery business to form a new business ‘pladis’ - Yildiz was demonstrating a belief both in the complementary nature of the combined portfolio, as well as the latent value inherent in the existing portfolio of well-known and much loved United Biscuits brands.
From the outset, pladis began looking for opportunities to start unlocking the value of underperforming brands such as McVitie’s, Jacobs, Twiglets and TUC.
Following the acquisition, it unveiled an ambitious plan to reinvigorate the portfolio and drive innovation and NPD across its portfolio.
It was against this context that pladis sought the assistance of The Forge in 2017.
pladis knew that the increasing focus on the amount of sugar we consume, as well as the general drive towards more proactive, healthier lifestyles was likely to exert a significant downward pressure on products with a sweeter taste profile - thus the savoury opportunity takes on increased significance for future growth.
In light of this, pladis had set itself an audacious 10-year goal.
By 2025 it wanted to more than double annual revenues from its savoury crisps and snacks business, with a similar level of ambition for savoury biscuits.
pladis were looking for an experienced and agile partner who could help them quickly establish a roadmap for the development of the savoury opportunity and plot an actionable path to their 10-year revenue goals. The roadmap needed to be actionable across the short, medium and long term, informing current plans and charting a course to future consumer-led growth.
We created an agile project approach that was principally designed to do 3 things:
i) identify and size the key savoury battlegrounds,
ii) prioritise those key battlegrounds, and;
iii) identify where to play and how to win
We started with an extensive rewind of the data that pladis already had and supplemented this knowledge with a combination of our own expertise, input from specialist analyst reports and additional desk research. We looked at the macro trends, category trends and the relative performance of individual categories, brands and SKUs.
As part of the process, we built a bespoke quantitative model that combined publically available data, with specialist market reports, and data from across the pladis portfolio. This model then enabled us to input different assumptions and model different scenarios. We were able to look at different opportunities to build share and value, looking both at the existing category headroom as well as the opportunity to take share from adjacent categories.
Having completed this work, we were then able to prioritise the key battlegrounds by looking at the indicative value of each battleground as well as (in the context of the category) the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to consumers.
Having sized and then prioritised the key battlegrounds, we were able to ascertain the specific ‘jobs to be done’ by each of the brands within the portfolio.
For each of the key battlegrounds we made specific and actionable recommendations for each brand.
Our work has proved to be foundational in the subsequent development of the pladis savoury portfolio. Evidence of our work can be seen across a number of areas, but highlights include:
a) The way that Jacob’s has successfully re-positioned crackers as a healthier snacking alternative, successfully extending its range of formats and usage occasions
b) How McVitie’s Mini Cheddars has firmly established itself as a favourite lunchtime treat, emphasising its flavoursome cheese credentials
c) How our work has supported an increased NPD focus across the whole portfolio - with the introduction of lighter, snack-orientated formats
This work has helped drive increased commercial performance across the complete savoury portfolio;.
By 2018, the pladis annual industry report estimated that it had achieved category leadership of the savoury biscuit market, with a dominant total share of 25.9%, and brands like Jacobs achieving an 8.8% increase in share over the prior year.
While much of the credit for this performance must ultimately sit with pladis, our insight work was crucial in helping the business understand where it should play and how it could win. We expect to see our work continue to influence further development across the pladis portfolio.
If you would like to learn more about how better insight could help to reinvigorate your brands then click here.