Brand owners in the U.K. face challenge growing own lable

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LEEDS, U.K. -- National supermarket chain Asda, famous for its everyday lowpricing strategy, takes the battle between own label and brands one stepfurther this week with the launch of a range of savoury snacks.

Big brands such as Procter & Gamble's Pringles, Walkers Snack Foods'Doritos, Quavers and Monster Munch, and Golden Wonder's Wotsits will betargeted in the Snack Attack campaign as the own label versions areaggressively promoted across the 207-store chain at average discounts of20%. The Asda versions are Snax, Gringos, Cheezee Curls, Beastie Bites andCheezee Wiggles.

Brand owners in the U.K. are growing increasingly alarmed at moves by theworld's most sophisticated food retailers into their territory. Not onlyare U.K. supermarkets challenging them in more and more categories, butthey are also applying expert marketing techniques to private labelpromotion and in some cases, manufacturers claim, they are exploiting thegoodwill built up by brands by copying their design styles and confusingconsumers.

Figures from retail sales tracking company IRI Infoscan show that own labelis growing faster than any brand in washing detergents, for example, - asector that had been untroubled by retail brands until recently and one inwhich major marketing players Unilever and P&G spend millions to protecttheir brands.

There will be no specific above-the-line advertising for Asda's snackrange, but high profile head-to-head samplings in-store, facilitated by aSnack Attacker costumed character who will dash around the aisle with atrolley full of the products. Leeds-based Asda claims to be the first U.K.retailer to launch a range of sub-branded savoury snacks.

Copyright September 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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