RHM roster rethink leaves question mark over brands

Food group RHM has streamlined its multi-million pound design roster. The line- up, which comprises Ikon, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Turner Duckworth and Williams Murray Hamm, throws a question mark over the future designs of key RHM brands, notably Hovis.

Design Bridge, which has not been appointed to the roster, but was included in the nine-strong shortlist, recently evolved the iconic ‘big food’ pack designs originally created by Williams Murray Hamm, in an effort to make it easier for consumers to choose between variants (DW 28 April). WMH resigned the account two years ago (DW 24 July 2003).

The four design groups were appointed following a competitive pitch held in April. They were cherry-picked from a shortlist that included: The Core, Design Bridge, Blue Marlin Brand Design, Vibrandt and Millini (DW 14 April).

The roster takes effect immediately and all RHM design work for its three main divisions will now be channelled through the consultancies. Most of the company’s consumer brands are expected to undertake design projects over the next 12 months.

RHM owns household brands such as Mr Kipling cakes, Hovis, Sharwood’s Asian sauces, Bisto and Paxo.

Matthew Day, head of marketing at RHM’s Manor Bakeries, has been overseeing the review as roster champion for design. He claims design is ‘a critical part of the mix’ for RHM. Day reports to Ginny Knox, group marketing director at RHM.

The roster has been structured ‘to cover all design needs, so any RHM marketer can use it’, explains a spokeswoman.

Previously, the company was believed to work with hundreds of consultancies, but without a strict roster in place, a process that raised efficiency questions.

RHM is understood to be seeking to reduce costs and improve value through developing closer relationships with suppliers.

The announcement comes as Doughty Hanson, the private equity firm which owns the group, considers a £1.3bn flotation of RHM on the stockmarket at the end of next month. It will signal the return of the company to the market, following an absence of 13 years.

The Core, which was also not selected, was drafted in to work on packaging and branding initiatives for Paxo earlier this year (DW 7 April).

Rhm background

• Founded in 1875 as Joseph Rank, a flour miller

• Annual sales £1.5bn

• Organised into three divisions: Bread Bakeries, Culinary Brands and Cakes & Customer Partnerships

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