Launching an individual Pizza brand in a sector dominated by Private Label

The Market

In 2003, the UK chilled pizza sector was 87% Private Label and all products, both Branded and Private Label were produced in the UK. Thus, for a European company to launch a brand into theUKwas considered a daunting prospect.

Our Client’s Objectives

Our client had no previous involvement in the UK chilled market but was already established as the market leader in its own large European country with almost 60% share of the market. One of the most successful products the client had launched was a uniquely designed single-serve pizza, which by 2003 was selling 30 million units a year. The client looked to the UK as the next logical market for expansion and initial research showed that no similar product existed.

What We Did

Our starting point was to establish if there was a market opportunity and to determine if such a product would be acceptable to consumers. We also needed to ascertain the positioning required, determine an acceptable price point of an individual Pizza and finally, to seek out specific elements which would facilitate development sales through the major multiples.

The product performed very well in research and confirmed that there was not only a target market, but also a potential demand for the product. The next hurdle was to convince a sceptical retail market that the product could be successful without the heavyweight support normally given to new brand launches.

The Results

In 2003 Waitrose, whose buyers recognised the potential for a distinctive-looking single-serve Pizza that appealed to both adults and children alike, launched the Pizzas in 100 stores. In 18 months, the products had been rolled out into all Waitrose stores and a further two flavours were introduced. Sainsbury’s were the next retailer to be approached. Whilst the buyers could see the product benefits, they were unwilling to commit too many stores to a trial and initially offered only 50 local stores. Convinced of the potential, we advised our clients to agree, despite the cost implications. Sales rose steadily over the next few years and distribution grew into the main Sainsbury’s stores. By 2009 our clients’ Pizzas were stocked in over 700 Sainsbury’s stores across the country. By 2010, including the convenience sector, the Pizzas were available in over 2500 stores nationwide.

Case Study 1