Brand Footprint UK 2021
Delving deeper into the rankings
The nation's most chosen FMCG
brands in a year like no other
Agile brands rise to the demands of 2020
It is impossible to talk about 2020 without referring to changes. Changes to how we spent our time, changes to how we shopped, changes to how we selected which brands were for us. However, when we look at our biggest and best-performing brands, what is more striking is how much hasn’t changed at all.
Warburtons retains its crown as Britain’s most chosen brand, the same brands make up our top 10 as in 2019 and there is only one brand in our top 20 which wasn’t there two years ago. This speaks to the enduring power of our most-loved brands, something that was only enhanced by the disruption that has engulfed our lives since early 2020. It may sound like a cliché that in a crisis we reach for what we know and trust, but it was certainly true in March 2020 when seven out of ten number one brands grew share within their categories.
The characteristics of a winning brand have also remained consistent. It is simply that the importance of some of those characteristics was amplified in 2020.
Firstly, the agility to react to a shift in demand was crucial in the early days of the pandemic. Initially this minimised the number of potential buyers who were faced with an empty shelf. And later it allowed brands to capitalise on the burgeoning opportunity in e-commerce; 60% of growth in take-home grocery in the last year has been online.
Secondly, having the key attributes which make your brand the natural choice for consumers less inclined to dwell at fixtures. The hygiene credentials of Carex and Dettol (with Consumer Reach Points growing 85% and 20% year on year respectively) are prime examples of this.
Finally, the intangible but fundamental power of mental availability, however you achieve it. This is was one of the factors behind Corona beer growing CRPs by 61% over the course of the year.
The consistent rules for growth
Whatever the context, and however rapidly consumer behaviour is changing, we know the consistent rules for how brands grow. Our five levers for growth will be used throughout this paper to indicate how brands have succeeded.
The 2021 Brand Footprint rankings are full of examples of brands responding to trends and using all of the levers for growth to find new ways to grow. Here are a few of the notable examples.
Pepsi was able to reach more targets this year with the launch of its Pepsi Max Cherry in a 24 can bulk pack, appealing to shoppers stocking up during the pandemic.
Cadbury Dairy Milk strengthened its position with pre-families and empty nesters with Out of the Blueberry and Coconutty variants.
Birds Eye grew CRPs after successful TV campaign ‘What’s for Tea?’ which featured snapshots of lives in lockdown.
In the face of a global shortage of hand soap pumps, Carex reacted quickly by packaging soaps in shower gel packs to keep shelves stocked.
Müller launched its first ever skyr product with Müller Corner skyr. The brand reached just over a quarter of a million shoppers in its first four months of launch.
Flora’s launch of a plant-based butter alternative saw the brand grow CRPs and climb the ranking.
With more shoppers needing a boost of energy at home in 2020 Nescafe was able to step in to fill the gap, and grew CRPs by 11% this year.
McCain rebranded its oven chips to ‘Naked Oven Chips’ - appealing to diet and lifestyle-conscious shoppers.
Radox tapped into consumers pampering themselves more as a result of having more time to spend at home.
Finish grew CRPs by 21% over the year, as it benefited from 278 million more food and drink occasions per week during COVID-19 which meant more washing up.
brands in Britain
How changing needs impacted
brand choices during 2020
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Cadbury Dairy Milk
With 23% growth, Cadbury Dairy Milk increased CRPs faster than any other brand in our FMCG top 20 this year. As shoppers reached for treats to get them through a challenging year, Cadbury Dairy Milk was one of the main beneficiaries - but this was more than good fortune.
The agility to maintain supply through the early weeks of lockdown meant growth was fastest in April and May and a continued flow of innovation kept shoppers coming back for more. Out of the Blueberry and Coconutty were the most successful new variants, helping the brand to strengthen its position with pre-families and empty nesters.
Click here to visit our website to read the global Brand Footprint report and to explore the data, including the top 50 brands overall.
into the rankings
Explore the top 20 brands in
each of the sectors
Delving deeper into the rankings
Hear more about how brands in each sector found growth.
How changing needs
impacted our brand choices
The effect of COVID-19 on the grocery landscape has been well-publicised. A significant amount of food and drink consumption moved into the home almost overnight as hospitality venues were forced to close.
Over the course of the year, £17bn less was spent on food and drink out of home and 60% of that spend switched to take home channels. As a result, it was a record year for take home groceries; the average household spent £470 more, delivering 12% growth. A big driver of this was the move to online shopping as we looked to avoid physical stores, and the proportion of the population using retailers’ digital platforms rose from 28% to 39%.
These changed needs impacted what we bought, as well as how we bought it. Only one of the ten best performing categories over the previous decade remains in the top ten at present. And, with our routines disrupted, there were big shifts in CRPs for some brands in the ranking. Snack brands like Walkers (in position five in the ranking), Cadbury Dairy Milk (at number six), KitKat (number 13) and Pringles (19) saw CRPs grow year on year as consumers in lockdown looked to treat themselves. At the top of the ranking, the brand with the highest CRPs, Warburtons, has retained the top spot for three consecutive years, highlighting both the strong performance of staple categories during a year of upheaval, and the tendency for the biggest brands in a category to outperform the competition.
The fastest grower in the top 20 food brands is Silver Spoon – which re-entered the ranking after climbing 18 places. The brand capitalised on the surge in home baking during the first national lockdown - as well as shoppers drinking more hot beverages at home - with icing, caster and granulated sugar driving growth.
McCain moved back into the top 10 food brands this year, with help from rebranding its oven chips to ‘Naked Oven Chips’. The re-brand has given McCain the opportunity to appeal to diet and lifestyle-conscious shoppers in the frozen aisle by providing a healthier, gluten-free and vegan option.
Register for the webinar where our experts go into more detail on how changing needs and habits during an exceptional year impacted our brand choices.
How did more time at home
impact our drinks choices?
The top 20 beverages brands
Take home beverage brands saw increased demand in 2020 and many rose to the challenge of catering for new consumption needs. Both hot and cold beverages saw a significant rise in the number of consumption occasions taking place at home as consumers looked to replace those drinks usually consumed in hospitality venues or on the go.
There has been a sharp rise in beverages consumed with meals at home, such as at breakfast for coffee, and with lunch for colas and lemonades. Cola continues to be the most popular sector within beverages, and Coca-Cola and Pepsi take the top two positions in our top 20. In addition, buyers have been looking to replicate the experience of going to pubs and bars at home, with alcohol and mixer brands like Schweppes at seven, and Fevertree in position 18 in the ranking, thriving as a result.
One of the key themes over the course of the past year has been shoppers increasing the volumes they’re purchasing, with the online channel well placed to meet this demand. Pepsi (in second place) launched its Pepsi Max Cherry Variant in a 24 can bulk pack to appeal to those shoppers looking to buy in greater quantities due to the pandemic.
Health trends continue to play a big role within the category, with low sugar variants consistently attracting greater numbers of shoppers. Going forward we can expect this to accelerate as government action may result in limits on how high sugar drinks can be displayed and promoted in store, prompting retailers and manufacturers to consider how best to negotiate these challenges when it comes to ranging.
The top 20 beverages brands
Schweppes was one of the biggest risers in 2020 moving from tenth to seventh place in the ranking. The significant increase in the beverages being enjoyed at home benefited many brands but Schweppes stands out as the brand best able to capitalise on wider market trends. In particular, Schweppes has a strong association with alcohol, one of the best performing categories throughout 2020, and the complementary occasions helped boost the reach of the brand this year.
Dairy and dairy alternatives
Tapping into longer term
trends for growth
The top 20 dairy and dairy alternative brands
Despite the pandemic, sustainability remained high on the agenda in 2020, and brands across dairy and dairy alternatives made efforts to demonstrate their green credentials. Yeo Valley, in sixth place in the ranking, made big strides in this area by moving to 100% recycled plastic on its super thick yoghurt pots, removing the lids from cream, and adopting recyclable packaging for its kerned yoghurts. Centering on sustainability is one way brands have provided a point of difference. Government, retailers and consumers will continue to push brands to improve their impact on the planet.
Plant-based alternatives continue to be a major force in the dairy aisle, as demonstrated by Alpro maintaining its number three position in the ranking for three consecutive years. The consistent growth in dairy alternatives is particularly powered by innovations coming to market. Capitalising on this ever-growing trend was Flora, which climbed two places in the ranking to number seven, helped by the launch of its plant-based butter alternative [see brand focus]. Elmlea, which launched a plant based-cream in late 2019, climbed one place in the ranking to position 15 and grew CRPs 12%.
The top 20 dairy and dairy alternative brands
In the context of the pandemic, for many of us, our physical and mental health has became a more pressing concern. This year we see evidence of consumers looking to strengthen their immune system through food, and brands rose to the challenge of satisfying this need. Actimel is one brand with strong credentials in this area, and shoppers turned to it during the pandemic. The brand grew CRPs 20% and climbed two places in the ranking to reach position 17.
Flora increased CRPs 14% compared with 2019, coming in at number seven on the ranking this year. The brand launched a plant-based block butter alternative to tap into the ever-growing trend. Moreover, by making the product’s wrapping 100% biodegradable, the brand further signalled its commitment to sustainability. The launch was supported by a national marketing campaign as well as through social media. The new launch reached over a quarter of million households in its first four months.
Register for the webinar where our experts go into more detail on the dynamics at play in the dairy and dairy alternatives sector.
Changing routines during
a year of disruption
Top 20 health and beauty brands
For brands in the health and beauty sector, 2020 brought a range of challenges and opportunities. Some health and beauty categories were among the best performing in FMCG, and others were among the worst.
Consumers prioritised feeling good over looking good during a year which saw their usual routines disrupted. Beauty, along with many toiletries categories, was impacted as our personal care routines altered during a year of lockdowns and restrictions. Widespread working from home and more limited socialising options meant there were 190 million fewer weekly personal care occasions triggered by leaving the house compared with 2019. Oral care, as a core hygiene product, was not as affected by this drop off, and Colgate remains in the top spot in our ranking.
Two key themes sum up the consumer trends driving the market; health and hygiene. Given the pandemic, hygiene was the number one priority for many. As a result, liquid soaps and hand sanitisers were stand-out categories in FMCG. This is reflected by Carex, at number four, being the fastest-growing brand in the ranking. The brand’s success is a result of tapping into this new need and increasing its presence to reach more consumers [see brand focus].
As the dust settled after the initial lockdown, focus shifted towards health and wellness. Brands like Centrum and Bassetts increased CRPs as more of us looked for vitamins, minerals and supplements to support our health aspirations.
As shoppers became more mindful about their health and personal care consumption, sustainability remained high on the agenda. Dove, in third place in the ranking, has committed to reducing plastic waste across its range and introduced a plastic-free Beauty Bar, launched 100% recycled plastic bottles and trialled refillable deodorant formats.
Moving forward sustainability will continue to increase in importance, and we can expect brands to launch refillable products and push for awareness of their efforts in this area on packaging and in communications campaigns.
For beauty brands, many will seek to re-engage and excite consumers through NPD, offering the opportunity to experiment and feel good about themselves after a challenging period.
The top 20 health and beauty brands
Carex has been the standout health and beauty brand this year, climbing 12 places in the ranking, and is now the fourth most chosen brand. Growth has primarily been driven by shoppers prioritising hygiene in a year where COVID-19 has upended our lives. The brand already had a strong presence in hand sanitisers, which stood it in good stead for the pandemic environment. In the face of a global shortage of hand soap pumps, Carex reacted quickly by packaging soaps in shower gel or refill packs, which were already manufactured, to ensure shelves remained well stocked during this period of heightened demand.
Register for the webinar where our experts go into more detail on the brands successfully tapping into the consumer trends at play in the market.
Focusing on hygiene
during turbulent times
The top 20 homecare brands
As retailers prioritised keeping essential products on shelves through the pandemic, cleaning products fared well. Heightened concerns around hygiene prompted us to try and rid our homes of germs, and cleaning frequently-touched surfaces like door handles became common behaviour.
With schools closed and widespread home-working, more time spent at home meant more mess to clear up. Dettol, at number six in the ranking, grew CRPs by 20% and has been a big winner from the hygiene boom, as consumers have sought out brands they know and trust in their war on germs.
For some, cleaning was a form of entertainment to pass the time – another facet of us becoming more houseproud as we remained confined to our homes. Febreze climbed nine places in the ranking, with home scents giving shoppers a small indulgence for their homes [see brand focus].
Cooking and baking became a national pastime during the year, and Finish, in 18th place in the ranking, grew CRPs by 21% as we dealt with the additional washing up created by our newly ignited passion for all things gastronomy. Regina, in tenth place, grew CRPs by 9% as sales of paper towels sky-rocketed, bolstered by our continuous washing of hands, cleaning more often and eating more meals at home.
Wipes, in long-term decline prior to COVID-19, had a renaissance during the pandemic and grew faster than the traditional trigger format. In household cleaning, wipes provided a convenient solution for shoppers who needed to frequently wipe down surfaces in and outside of the home, and both Flash (number eight in the ranking) and Dettol (number six), benefited from their rise this year. Looking to the future, demand for sustainable options will make a comeback in homecare. The nascent “eco hygiene” sector has already been established through products like Method’s Anti-bac line, and is an area where we can expect to see further innovation from manufacturers.
The top 20 homecare brands
Febreze climbed nine places in the ranking, jumping from 20 to 11, making it the biggest mover on the homecare list. This growth was driven by a high-profile marketing campaign, most notably the “Nose blind” TV advert and its successful new product, Febreze Bathroom.
This tapped into consumers spending more time at home, as a product perfectly positioned for helping small spaces stay fresh. P&G’s first continuous non-electric bathroom air freshener is designed to eliminate odours from the air and prevent them from lingering on soft surfaces such as towels, bath mats and shower curtains.
Register for the webinar where our experts cover in more detail which brands have benefited from consumers’ heightened concerns around hygiene.
as recession bites
In 12 months’ time, when it comes to compiling the best performing brands of 2021, the context in which those brands have thrived will hopefully be very different to this year. But there’s every reason to believe the drivers of their success will be much the same.
For brands, having flexible plans will continue to be essential to navigating any bumps we encounter on our road out of the pandemic. The consumer trends that brands needed to capitalise on to find new buyers shifted over the last 12 months, but were not fundamentally reinvented. We can expect more of the same in the year ahead:
• Wellbeing, both physical and mental, has only become a bigger factor in how consumers choose to spend their time and money.
• The same is true of sustainability, with government, industry and consumers themselves expecting more action from brands. The UK is hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November this year – a clear indication that the government will continue to push the sustainability agenda.
• With the forecast of tougher economic times ahead, history tells us that how brands frame the value that they offer to consumers will become a more significant factor in their success.
• With tough times, also comes a greater need for little moments of joy, and the success of brands that have delivered that in 2020 is something we can expect to continue.
If we have learned anything from the past year, it’s that nothing is a given. But as we look ahead, the success stories of 2021 and beyond are likely to be built on these foundations.
At Kantar, we believe that in order to grow, brands need to be chosen more often and by more people. Now in its ninth year, Brand Footprint is our global study of which brands shoppers are choosing to buy, and why. The metric used for Brand Footprint is called Consumer Reach Points (CRP) and is calculated by looking at penetration and frequency in combination with the number of households in the country. Consumer Reach Points is the most comprehensive measure available of how many times a brand is chosen from retailers’ shelves. Data in this report covers the 52 weeks ending October 2020. For the first time this year we have included relevant dairy and dairy alternative brands in the food and beverages rankings.