Building better cereals business with Weetabix

Darryl Burgess (pictured), head of convenience, wholesale & foodservice at Weetabix, explains why a core range of best-sellers is so important for wholesalers.

What proportion of your business goes through the wholesale trade?

The amount of the Weetabix business that goes through wholesale has grown by 21% in the past two years. Wholesale is increasingly important for us and we are committed to working closely with cash & carries and delivered wholesalers to continue to grow this.

How are you looking to develop your business through the wholesale trade?

We want to continue to build relationships. For us it’s about suppliers, manufacturers and wholesalers sharing best practice. One area that we are trying to grow is a collaborative approach to our planning, moving a 6/12/18-month plan to a two-year rolling plan.

Our focus areas are wholesalers’ retail clubs, online and foodservice. With regard to retail clubs, we’ve seen significant success in this area as the convenience channel has grown.
We already have a plan in place that includes focusing on a core range of Weetabix branded products, but we want to work even closer with wholesalers on a range that is available in the correct formats and case and pack sizes aligned to what customers want. Value creation is also a key focus, and we work hard to ensure that our price-marked packs offer competitive shared margins.

How can cash & carries improve their sales of cereals?

Cash & carries should focus on a core range of best-sellers. They should also use off-shelf activity, including PoS, supported by strong promotional offers that link with advertising. We currently have a ‘Weetabuddies’ marketing campaign running in depot aligned to our consumer marketing activity, and this is proving particularly effective.

Keeping on top of NPD is crucial. We see innovation at the forefront of growth. Some of our most recent launches are in major growth; Weetabix On the Go, for example, is now worth £15.2 million, up 67% year on year, and has a 76% share of the market (Nielsen).

Staying up-to-date with shopper trends and offering those products
currently in high demand is another way for wholesalers to improve sales. Protein cereals form the fastest growing segment, up by 7.3% due to a 40% increase in consumers looking to add more protein to their diet. Weetabix has a 54% share of this market (Nielsen), and our Protein biscuits recently won a 2017 Product of the Year award, as voted by more than 12,000 households.

Cross-category promotion is effective in retail but remains challenging in depot, but if there is an opportunity to dual site then do so. Our ‘Weetabuddies’ campaign encourages consumers to add real fruit to Weetabix, so we encourage cash & carries to place a free-standing display unit (FSDU) near fresh fruit.

Similarly, what more can delivered wholesalers do to increase cereal sales?

Stock a core range, including all sub categories, and innovation like Weetabix Protein; ensure your offering includes PMPs; stock the appropriate pack sizes for your customer needs – for example, single households are on the up, so the Weetabix 12-pack is a great SKU to have in your range; and use our category management advice to reflect retailers’ in-store planograms for ease of shopping.

Are there any cash & carries/delivered wholesalers you wish to highlight as being particularly progressive?

The most progressive wholesalers are those that work in partnership with us on the ‘Perfect Depot’ implementation, which helps wholesalers with their category layout and ultimately drives sales. The Dhamecha team are particularly productive and forward-thinking in this area and have reaped the benefits of taking our advice, for example on the On the Go drinks positioning in depot.

Can you share any news relating to forthcoming product launches?

Some upcoming innovation includes a new On the Go drinks PMP and a variation on our yellow box product.

Is there anything else we should know about Weetabix’s operation or strategy?

We recently announced a £30 million capital investment programme in our UK manufacturing sites to significantly boost our production capability by 2018. This comes on the back of our market share for cereals and drinks rising from 15.3% to 16.4% in the past year.

Tel: Weetabix (01536) 722181

Published Date: March 17, 2017
Category: Meet the Manufacturer