chicken-and-pestoLooking for one of the hot success stories of 2010?  One contender for the honours list has to be UGO’s Deli Café panini.

As reported on our front page, Kepak Convenience Foods, the UK’s number one name in hot snacking, and the company behind Rustlers, is launching the first national TV campaign for its market leading UGO’s Deli Café brand.

The campaign will be appearing nationally in key programmes including Britain’s Got Talent, beaming UGO’s into the living rooms of 8 million viewers nationwide.

Launched just over two years ago, UGO’s Deli Café is already worth nearly £10 million and has been bought by 2.3 million households. In recessionary times, putting a brand on TV after just two years is a bold move – so is Kepak bucking the trend? The Grocery Trader put the question to John Armstrong, Kepak Marketing Director, on the Kepak stand at the recent Pro Retail Show.

“It’s a significant investment for us by any means,” John acknowledges. “TV commercials are expensive to make and broadcast, but we’ve made the move on the back of the brand doing so well in its first two years.”

Not only has the UGO’s brand been selling strongly since launch, it’s broadened its appeal too. Back when UGO’s first hit the fixtures, John Armstrong and his Kepak colleagues reckoned the target audience would be largely working women of 25 and up, looking for a lunchtime snack; in recent research they found the profile turned out closer to a 60:40 female/male split. Hence in the new commercial ‘Deli Panini in a ding’ the hero is a man in an office enjoying UGO’s deli-style quality, and the hand coming out of the microwave with the cooked panini shows the hallmark warm humour of Rustlers.

With at least another year to go before we are due to see a full economic recovery, Rustlers and UGO’s are both performing well. With the World Cup about to kick off, Rustlers, UGO’s older sibling in Kepak’s hot snacking family, is set to enjoy huge popularity with its fan base of younger males looking for instant hunger relief.

By contrast, John Armstrong says, Kepak’s research shows UGO’s has found favour across the age spectrum, with the stats showing mature adults as keen on the brand as their younger counterparts. In John’s words, “these guys can’t retire, so they are still working hard and need sustenance.”

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