Britons seem to have adopted a Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to their diet by eating more fruit and vegetables but then rewarding themselves with sweets.
A survey of the biggest food brands in Britain has found that sales of fruit and vegetables and confectionery have both soared.
Cereal giant Kellogg’s remains the top-selling brand, with sales of about £535 million for 2005-06, followed by beans and soup maker Heinz, the study from TNS Worldpanel found.
Confectionery maker Cadbury, which was hit by a salmonella scare in June which saw it recall more than a million chocolate bars, has risen from fifth to third place while Walkers crisps and Birds Eye complete the top five.
TNS Worldpanel, a market research specialist, said the fastest growing categories in the past year had been fruit and vegetables and confectionery.
Hovis and Flora
The company said that health and wellbeing were proving to be increasingly important to consumers and pointed to the success of brands such as Warburtons and Danone, which posted sales growth of 17 per cent and 21 per cent respectively in the past year.
TNS Worldpanel said that these brands, along with the likes of Hovis and Flora have benefited from promoting a wholesome, healthy image.
However, alcohol is still the biggest market, worth £8.4 billion, although growth has remained static. Stella Artois is the most popular alcoholic drinks brand.
Branding experts say consumers have developed a ‘credit-debit’ approach to the way they eat, rewarding healthy eating with a treat.
Edward Garner, research director of TNS Worldpanel, said: ‘The healthy eating messages are getting through and we are choosing more wholesome foods, but feel the need to then reward our good behaviour with a treat, such as a glass of wine or some chocolate.’
UK’s top ten take-home grocery brands, by sales
1 Kellogg’s: £530-535 million
2 Heinz: £525-530 million
3 Cadbury: £495-500 million
4 Walkers crisps: £465-470 million
5 Birds Eye: £455-460 million
6 Müller: £420-425 million
7 Coca Cola: £400-405 million
8 Warburtons: £350-355 million
9 McVitie’s: £315-320 million
10 Stella Artois: £310-315 million