The Princes rebrand: two years on
Alan Eriksen, Marketing Director at Princes Group, outlines the reasoning behind the well-known food company’s rebrand.
For a heritage brand like Princes, which has been proudly feeding families for over 120 years, a major rebrand across its entire range of products might sound like a potentially risky undertaking. However, two years after new pack designs and formats hit supermarket shelves, I am pleased to say that these changes have been incredibly successful.
The rebrand included a £5 million investment in modernised packaging to enhance brand consistency and differentiation across all product categories – including fish, meat, fruit, juice and ready meals. It also comprised a new and upweighted advertising campaign. This was a significant step in the strategic plan we initiated four years ago to drive continuous growth and respond to challenging market conditions.
Generations of families have grown up with the Princes brand and over half of all UK households buy our products every year, but we understand our audience base is constantly evolving and becoming ever more diverse, and the shape of family life has fundamentally changed.
As such, we wanted to create a new visual identity that was distinctive and contemporary and would reaffirm our position as the iconic store cupboard staple for modern families. The rebrand was designed to encourage purchases by new shoppers, while stimulating reappraisal of ambient food and increasing loyalty from existing consumers.
Sales of canned food have been rising as consumers take a fresh look at the convenience, quality and value for money credentials of ambient food. Even before lockdown, consumers in the UK were spending £2.3 billion a year on canned goods,1 indicating a bright future for the category, so the rebrand has been an important opportunity to both remain relevant and continue to grow as one of the UK’s largest food and drink brands.
With increased focus on sustainability among consumers in recent years, particularly throughout the pandemic, the canned category is currently more relevant than ever; with cans boasting strong recyclability and food waste credentials. Aligned with this, and the vision of the Princes Group to ‘Proudly help families eat well without costing the Earth’, we are also working to improve the sustainability of our packaging. This includes switching all our branded tuna multipacks to cardboard sleeve packaging, replacing 96 tonnes of plastic every year.
Innovation and new product development continue to be a crucial element of the transformation happening across the brand. We have already launched our Mackerel Sizzle range for shoppers on the lookout for health, taste and convenience. Princes Mackerel Sizzle provides a quick and satisfying meal that is easy to finish cooking at home. A new range of Princes fruit snack pots with no plastic has also just gone to market. The range meets demand for convenient, healthy, single serve snacks, helping consumers reach their five a day.
Last year we also launched Innov8®, our rapid end-to-end innovation process that places the consumer at the heart of our new product development. The Innov8® programme involves a £5 million investment over three years in collaboration with specialist partner KICR, to deliver fast-paced innovation focused on brand creation, product and packaging design, commercialisation and channel strategy. As part of this initiative, a dedicated innovation team of six has been integrated across the business and an innovation kitchen opened at our headquarters in Liverpool for live product testing and demonstrations, as well as interactive workshops.
New product development is also happening at our manufacturing sites, including at Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, where an £80 million development programme is providing state-of-the-art equipment, better energy efficiency and increased production. We have recently introduced 108 new recipes at the site, which will be produced through a new flexible canning line for ready meals installed earlier this year.
The whole food and drink industry has been under incredible pressure in recent years, never more so than since the start of the pandemic, which has dramatically altered the way consumers live, shop and eat. Looking ahead to the second half of 2021 and beyond, we will continue to evolve with our customers and consumers to meet their needs and bring delicious, affordable food to audiences old and new.
- Kantar 4 w/e 22 March 2020