George Simpson talks to Colin Smith, MD of Fox’s Biscuits, about the company’s plans for its brands

How long has Fox's Biscuits been in existence?
We started production in 1853. We have three sites, in Batley, Kirkham and Uttoxeter. We employ 2,500 people and do a mix of brands and own label. We have a very big seasonal business. Last year we launched a commercial centre of excellence in Birmingham and recruited a whole new commercial team.
How big are the brands in the UK?
Party Rings is one of best selling kids brands. Chunky Cookies is one of the best selling cookies. We are relaunching Crunch and Viennese. Rocky is having a makeover. Those are the five 'hero' brands we want to support. We will aggressively grow them.
What is it about Fox's Biscuits that consumers like?
We think they are unique. People say to us you make the best quality biscuits. We have invested in the recipe to make them better. People like the quality, the deliciousness and the generosity. Also, the Vinne the Panda character in the adverts is unique.
What advice would you give retailers about stocking the brands and the biscuits category?
Block the hero brands together, like Fox's which has been completely revitalised. Support new products. Don't let the multiples dominate the new product development.
Do you have any NPD for the convenience channel?
We have a £10m investment, which is treble our spend from last year. We will invest £20m in the next 18 months in infrastructure. So we will have increased capacity and flexibility, spanning both the consumer end and behind the scenes to produce what we need to produce. The other key point to pull out is that it is a complete brand relaunch. We have had a new management team for the last 16 months and have found the brand was losing relevance to people. It is still seen as very high quality but it is losing relevance. Our new concept is MYPC – more yum per crumb. There has been a complete packaging relaunch. For the first time we have multi-media – TV, press, radio, sampling, social media and PR before and after Christmas. We haven't advertised after Christmas for five years.
We have full channel approaches across different channels – the high street, multiples and cash & carry.  There is an absolute focus on our five hero brands. We have a three year innovation pipeline. We have absolutely fabulous stuff starting in October that will bring excitement back to the category.
What is the best way for consumers to enjoy the brands?
We are speaking to consumers and looking at all usage occasions. We are trying to expand the occasions in which biscuits can be consumed. You can eat them anywhere you want at any time. Party Rings is now gelatine free so that should work well.