Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk at Organic Farmers & Growers’ Selling Organics conference last week - just days after its rapping farmers hit the big screen during the first X-factor live final on October 9 – Yeo Valley communications director Graham Keating said initial sales figures looked extremely encouraging.
“It’s too early to say exactly what impact the ads have had on sales of our products, but we took them off promotion just as the ads hit, so we would normally expect a big drop off in sales, and that hasn’t happened.”
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Less than 48 hours after the ad was aired, it had been viewed 210,000 times on Youtube and was the number one music download in the UK and number two worldwide said Keating. As this article went to press, it had received 512,691 views.
The ad and recent packaging/brand relaunch at the organic dairy was designed to present the brand as authentic, modern, mainstream and progressive, said Keating. “Organic is for all, we don’t want to be just for ladies who lunch. We want to be loved by the many, not just the few.”
The recession took its toll on Yeo Valley, but the company has been back in growth for more than eight months, he revealed.
“The years 2000 to 2007 were good years. We were growing 20% year-on-year, organic was becoming top of mind and the retailers were supporting it.
The inbetween years
“2007-2009 were the inbetween years. The Yeo Valley brand at retail was worth about £110m in 2007 and about £120m in 2009, so growth continued in turnover terms, largely due to inflation. But core volumes dropped, although organic milk actually continued to grow slowly but steadily."
He added: “We had to pass on price increases to the retail trade, which meant our products were relatively expensive at retail price. And then the shelf space started to disappear below us, and we had to retrench.”
So in summer 2008, bosses “took a bold decision to re-invest heavily into lowering prices”, said Keating. “We joined the promotional frenzy in the category, but that’s a short-term solution. We’ll promote less in future. And we’ll promote more tactically.”
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