Premier Foods signs up design groups

Premier Foods is this week finalising its long-awaited design roster, Design Week has learned.

The aim of the review, which was called in January, has been to rationalise the company’s external design resources. Premier Foods’ £1.2bn acquisition of RHM last year left the company with a superfluity of design consultancies (DW 10 January).

The pitch process, overseen by procurement manager Claire Thomas, is understood to have been a highly demanding one, involving both strategic and creative work with a number of presentations.

Groups thought to have been appointed to the design roster include London consultancy Bloom Design, Windsor consultancy Vibrandt and Jones Knowles Ritchie.

Brand Opus, which last year overhauled Premier’s Sharwood’s range, is expected to be dropped. Blue Marlin, which also pitched, is understood not to have made the roster.

News of appointments to the design roster follows announcements last month that Premier Foods has put its private label businesses, chilled foods subsidiary RF Brookes and Marks & Spencer supplier Avana Bakeries, up for sale, sending out strong signals that the company is shifting its focus to higher-margin branded products.

Premier’s focus on highermargin branded product concurs with packaging experts’ observations that fastmoving consumer goods clients are increasingly looking to packaging as a way of clawing back lost profits as a result of soaring food and energy costs.

They argue that clients see premium packaging as a way of adding ‘value’ to products and can justify charging higher prices.

Food manufacturer RHM compiled its first formal roster of design consultancies in April 2005, comprising Ikon, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Turner Duckworth and Williams Murray Hamm.

Last week, Premier Foods handed the task of revitalising its ailing Hovis brand to Jones Knowles Ritchie, as the brand looks to reassert itself amid strong competition from rivals Warburtons and Kingsmill.

Premier Foods declines to comment on the consolidation of its design roster.

PREMIER BRANDS

Brands within the Premier Foods portfolio that consultancies are likely to be working on include Birds, Bisto, Crosse & Blackwell, Dufrais, Atora, Homepride, Branston, Ambrosia, Campbell’s, Bachelors, Angel Delight, Cadbury, Hartley’s, Hovis, Sharwood’s, Paxo, Ormo, Sarson’s, Quorn and Sunpat, among others

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