2021 champions!

Despite the challenges of 2021, Ireland’s leading brands and brave newcomers have risen to the task, and through NPD, high quality standards and creative marketing have delivered excellent sales results and strengthened the brand’s bond with consumers, writes Gillian Hamill

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Brand Central

13 January 2022 | 0

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2021 was another challenging year in many regards, but one thing that stayed constant was the commitment to quality and innovation demonstrated by the country’s leading brands, alongside some creative newcomers. The products displayed on the following pages have all achieved impressive sales results, which the figures readily verify, and have continued to generate excitement and renewed interest in their categories with attention-grabbing new varieties and limited-edition products.

With extensive market research in many cases, these are brands which have shown they absolutely have their finger on the pulse when it comes to delivering the products which your shoppers are excited to try. Likewise, their marketing has managed to successfully resonate with their target audience to pique their curiosity and maintain high consumer loyalty.

2021 has proved another uniquely challenging and unusual year for our sector, but our ‘Best of the Year’ products did not let complications deter them from their brand mission. Irish grocery market share figures from Kantar for the period ending 31 October 2021 show grocery sales dropped by 4.8% during the past 12 weeks as restrictions eased and people spent more time eating meals on the go. However, growth remains strong compared with 2019 and sales were up 8.9% versus the equivalent period pre-pandemic.

Supply chain difficulties and inflation also featured this year. As Food Drink Ireland (FDI) director Paul Kelly noted in November: “The rate of cost inflation in the sector continues to rise across all the main inputs and this is now increasingly accompanied by supply shortages of these inputs. Global food commodity prices for example are up 33% year on year according to the FAO Food Price Index. Food Drink Ireland surveyed member companies in July to assess the extent and impact of input cost increases.”

Despite these challenges however, the brands included here have achieved excellent results and deserve to celebrate their impressive achievements.

Ireland’s original and number one

Ballygowan’s new rPET bottles can be reused over and over again, becoming a contributor to the circular economy

Ballygowan, Ireland’s number one water brand, relaunched this year taking a major step forward on its sustainability journey. All plastic bottles are now made from 100% recycled plastic and continue to be 100% recyclable.

The shift to recycled bottles will remove 51 million virgin PET bottles (non-recycled) which is 1288 tonnes and replace it with 100% recycled and 100% recyclable rPET bottles. A further 245 tonnes of plastic will also have been removed through light weighting in 2021. When recycled correctly, the new rPET bottles can be reused over and over again, becoming a contributor to the circular economy, and resulting in a positive impact on the planet.

Ballygowan’s home at Newcastle West, now operates on 95% renewable energy and 100% renewable electricity. That is the highest level of renewables use by any Britvic factory worldwide. The facility at Newcastle West has also achieved zero waste to landfill.

Ballygowan offers Irish consumers the opportunity to buy a locally produced brand, bottled at source in Ireland. Not only does this support Irish jobs; it also reduces the environmental impact of transporting bottles of other water brands from factories across Europe.

In addition to the launch of the new bottles, Ballygowan has launched a new brand identity. The new Ballygowan ‘sky to land’ logo encapsulates the brand story, of Atlantic rainfall drifting in from the Atlantic Ocean and falling on land close to Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. It is filtered through mineral rich limestone over 750 years and then returns to the surface from a well, where it is bottled and enjoyed all over Ireland.

An eco-friendly choice

New Bord na Móna Eco Firelighters use only natural materials

A favourite brand in Irish households for many decades and associated with that magical feeling of comfort and sense of home, Bord na Móna has now launched an exciting new Eco Firelighter in the home heating ignition category.

A natural and sustainable fire starter, this product uses only natural materials. The sustainably sourced fine wood wool and natural candle wax means that no chemicals are used in the production making them odourless. The Eco Firelighter is easy to light, creating the perfect start to a fast-lighting fire. It is suitable for open fires, stoves and is perfect to light up the barbecue, fire pit and garden chimenea.

“We know that consumers are looking for more eco-friendly alternatives and we are delighted to bring this new fire starter to market,” says Brian Keogh, head of sales marketing & innovation, consumer products at Bord na Móna. “Our new Eco Fire Lighters are now available to buy at many of our loyal customers’ stores nationwide.”

Boosting immunity

Deep RiverRock’s Immune System range has achieved exceptional results, recording the highest distribution and rate of sale in the past two years

In July 2021, the Deep RiverRock brand introduced its Immune System range, a selection of fruity flavoured water with the added benefits of Vitamin B6 and Zinc. Variants include Forest Fruits Sparkling, Lemon & Lime Sparkling and Strawberry Still, with added benefits that support a healthy immune system and contribute to overall wellbeing.

This innovation came about by utilising market insights and responding to the changing consumer behaviour in a pandemic-stricken world. This innovation is being supported with a full 360⸰ marketing campaign titled ‘Not so life changing refreshment’. This is a refreshingly honest campaign that tells consumers as it is in a fun and disruptive way – ‘a little extra Zinc and vitamin B6 won’t give you a six-pack or mean you’re ready to climb Everest, but it all helps towards supporting your immune system in the long run’. This campaign was supported with social, influencer partnerships, digital out of home, instore activation and direct to consumer sampling to ensure consumers could still trial this great tasting range even during lockdowns. The results have been exceptional, with the range achieving the highest distribution and rate of sale in the past two years and Deep RiverRock has grown its consumers’ flavours awareness by almost +50%.

Snacking success

Available in 4 Cheese and Pepperoni varieties, Goodfella’s new Mini Pizzas are Sold in a multi-pack format with four stone-baked, 5” pizzas

The folks at Goodfella’s Pizza continue to prove they know how to launch in the snacking sector. The Pizza Pockets range launched earlier this year has already been a massive success. With just two products, Goodfella’s has shown how important they are to the sector’s performance—contributing to almost three-quarters of total pizza snacking growth*. Representing almost a third of the sector sales in such a short time frame, Goodfella’s is proving the consumer and trade interest around the brand and the huge potential of the segment.

Building on this success, Goodfella’s has launched its new Mini Pizzas offering this month. The concept-tested Mini Pizzas are a versatile product, perfectly positioned to deliver on several consumer drivers. Sold in a multi-pack format with four stone-baked, 5” pizzas, they are perfect for consumers looking for portion control, quick lunchtime meals, convenience, or reduction of food waste. With in-home lunch occasions skyrocketing in the wake of flexible work models and working from home, Mini Pizzas are the perfect solution: great tasting, quick to prepare, and with little clean up! They are perfect for working professionals and children alike. Mini Pizzas are available in 4 Cheese and Pepperoni varieties.

*(Source for YTD YOY sales growth: Nielsen Total Scantrack data to 7 November 2021)

Sparkling with style

Graham Norton’s Own Sparkling Frizzante Rosé has been blended with Pinot Noir grapes to make a lighter, drier style of sparkling rosé wine

Graham Norton’s Own Sparkling Frizzante Rosé wine from Italy launched in the Irish market just in time for Christmas 2020.

The pink frizzante – a collaboration between Graham Norton and Kiwi wine company Invivo & Co – has been made in response to the growing numbers of people in Ireland seeking lighter styles of quality sparkling wine and is a welcome partner to the already-popular Graham Norton’s Own Frizzante.

Graham Norton’s Own Italian Sparkling Frizzante Rosé, the fifth addition to Graham Norton’s Own award-winning range of still and sparkling wines, is made with the Glera grape (otherwise known as the ‘Prosecco’ grape) and is grown and produced in the same way as prosecco. It has been blended with Pinot Noir grapes to make a lighter, drier style of sparkling rosé wine.

Television and radio personality, author and wine connoisseur, Graham Norton officially formulated his new fizz with Invivo & Co earlier this year. Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne notes: “Our customers have been very excited about the arrival of the Graham Norton sparkling frizzante rosé wine for Christmas and New Year, particularly on the back of the growth on the Graham Norton’s Own Frizzante! The rosé sparkling is made by our same Italian partners to ensure consistent quality and style.”

Like its twin, the white Prosecco, Graham Norton’s Own Italian Sparkling Frizzante Rosé is crisp, fresh and delicately structured. It has a delicate strawberry drive throughout thanks to the addition of Pinot Noir in the winemaking and is well-balanced. The light berry-fruit notes combine with sweetly scented notes of tropical flowers to make a delicious tipple, and a slightly lighter option at 11% ABV. The sparkling rosé is made sustainably with Invivo & Co’s Frizzante producer partners in Italy and is vegan friendly.

“Over the past number of years, we have seen phenomenal growth of Graham Norton’s Own Frizzante and think that the upwards trend will continue as the Irish discover light and dry styles of sparkling wine that are affordable,” Lightbourne adds. “At Invivo we are always seeking to innovate and drive future trends so we’re very excited to bring one of the very first sparkling rosé wines from Italy to Ireland, made in partnership with Graham Norton.”

You’ve got the power!

Birds Eye Green Cuisine successfully launched into the Chicken-Free sector this year

Birds Eye launched the Green Cuisine brand in 2019, a plant-based brand which consists of ‘veg foods’ and ‘meat substitutes’. The perfect brand for vegans, flexitarians and consumers who simply want to reduce meat intake in their family dinners. Since launch, Birds Eye has invested increased media and trade spend for the Green Cuisine brand year-on-year.

2021 saw the launch of Green Cuisine into ‘Chicken-Free’, with a range of small pieces (dippers, strips and nuggets), and more recently, larger pieces (grills and burgers). The launch of Green Cuisine’s ‘You’ve Got The Power’ campaign in January of 2021, coupled with successful NPD launches, has resulted in a successful value share of 18%* (+55% YOY) of total frozen vegetarian, making Green Cuisine the number two brand within the sector.

With a robust pipeline in place, integrated with exciting activity plans, there is a lot more to come for the Green Cuisine brand in 2022.

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack MAT to 7 November 2021)

Q&A with…Shane O’Sullivan, director of the Off Trade in Ireland, Molson Coors Beverage Company

Shane O’Sullivan, director of the Off-Trade in Ireland, Molson Coors Beverage Company

Brewed with premium barley, the choicest hops and no preservatives, Molson Canadian delivers a taste as clean, crisp and refreshing as the country it’s named for

Q: How will minimum unit pricing (MUP) impact the overall market?

A: In predicting the impact MUP may have on the Irish alcohol market, we have taken learnings from other markets where we operate with MUP already in place – such as Scotland and Wales. In May 2018, Scotland introduced MUP and since then we have seen a change in consumer habits. We’re seeing more consumers choosing to enjoy more premium brands and shifting away from larger packs into smaller ones across the beer and cider sector. The shift in consumer buying patterns and behaviour to more premium drinks has resulted in a growth in sales for local convenience retailers.

Q: How are Molson Coors reacting to this change?

A: In Ireland, we’ve responded to the new legislation by developing a portfolio of products designed to meet shopper preferences when MUP is introduced. With our previous experience in other markets, we have recognised that shoppers will want more choice across the medium and smaller sized packs and will require larger packs less frequently. In response to this, we have created new packs across our portfolio of brands, to offer consumers the greatest range of choice. We are also continuing to build our premium and craft beer and cider offer – with brands including Staropramen, Franciscan Well, Blue Moon, Cobra, Aspall Cyder and Rekorderlig cider.

Q: Irish consumers have become more adventurous in their tastes in recent years, as observed through the craft beer explosion. How are you meeting the latest consumer trends through innovation, including a greater focus on premium options across your portfolio?

A: Consumers have increasingly been more adventurous in their tastes as they celebrate more special occasions at home. Our Western Europe Beverages Hub responds to these changes by taking us into new places on the bar and instore, by building and partnering with exciting brands in high growth categories. We’ve just started out with our exciting portfolio in Ireland, kicking off with some strong listings of Lixir Mixers and Tarquin’s range in the on-trade. We’re now sharing our portfolio, which also includes Miami Cocktail Company, our hard seltzer Three Fold and Bodega Bay hard seltzer and Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, and our longer-term intent with Irish retailers and demonstrating how we can serve them and their shoppers more completely. Our Beverage Hub products have been received well by our customers and is demonstrating real excitement amongst consumers for this category.

Miller Genuine Draft delivers a fresh from the tap taste through its proprietary “cold-filtered four times” brewing process

In the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails category we have seen growing demand from consumers seeking more variety and experimenting with new flavours. The RTD category was the fastest growing in alcohol globally in 2020 and has continued to perform well in the UK and increasingly so in Ireland. We’ve teamed up with Miami Cocktail Company to meet this trend rolling out their range of award-winning, hand-crafted organic cocktails in Ireland. The range – which includes Margarita Spritz, Paloma Spritz, Mimosa Spritz, Sangria Spritz and Bellini Spritz – is crafted with only premium organic ingredients, and each 250ml can contains 110 calories.

The hard seltzer category is a rapidly growing entrant to the RTD market, with consumers and retailers embracing this latest trend. Hard seltzer sales have increased in value more than eight-fold in the space of twelve months in the UK*, and we expect this trend to be mirrored in the Irish market over time. We got into the category early last year through our exclusive distribution partnership with premium hard seltzer brand Bodega Bay, and this year we expanded our presence by launching Three Fold, a new brand with mainstream appeal which taps into the growing hard seltzer opportunity in the UK and Ireland. Three Fold, which is backed by our largest ever brand investment in a new category, comes in three fruity variants – Red Berries, Tropical and Citrus. Each 330ml can contains 4% alcohol by volume, 93 calories and is naturally vegan and gluten free.

The UK’s number one lager, Carling is brewed to have the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness

Q: How has the business been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and how have you responded as an employer?

A: Covid has been a huge challenge for every business, there is not one business unaffected by it, but certainly the beer and pub sector is one of the hardest hit with the prolonged closure and restrictions in the on-trade.

For us throughout the pandemic our priority has been the health and wellbeing of our people. At the outset of Covid we supported everyone who could to work from home, and continue to do so in Ireland, and we asked all of our vulnerable people in operational roles to remain at home until we were confident we had implemented a comprehensive range of Covid-measures at our operational sites. This meant that, for a period of time, we operated at reduced capacity and rationalised our range. Communicating regularly with customers was paramount during this period to help them manage these changes, but we were also really gratified by the support we had from customers for the decisions we took to prioritise our people.

Q: How are you working with retailers in Ireland’s off-trade sector to drive sales in the lead-up to the vital Christmas sales period?

A: We are planning for a bigger than normal Christmas this year given all the challenges of the last 18+ months and the very muted occasion that was Christmas 2020. This means agreeing plans and forecasts earlier than ever with our customers and getting stock on order also earlier than ever. We are working with retailers this festive season to ensure they have a range of choice to meet growing trends and consumer demands. This should include choice in different categories, including lager, cider and ales, to catch the eye of beer and cider fans who are looking for something different during the festive season. Our advice to customers this Christmas is to plan early and ensure you flag your forecasts as soon as possible for your Christmas requirements.

Christmas is a time for treating yourself, so retailers should consider how they can cater to those looking for more premium options. From our experience in the UK, we have seen that nearly half (46%) of shoppers are more inclined to trade-up to premium food and drink options when dining at home** and, as a result, premium brands are gaining more and more traction. World beers are a popular choice in the premium beer category and the category has remained a key driver of growth in the off-trade, where it continues to track ahead of the overall lager category, seeing a 16% sales increase in Ireland in the last year.*** As a result, brands like Staropramen are increasingly popular, giving people a chance to experiment and explore new tastes.

The super-premium cider category continues to grow, which we’ve seen from our experience in the UK that it has increased by 16% compared to last year****, and we expect to see this replicated in the Irish market over time. The Aspall Cyder range is an ideal choice for retailers looking to make the most of this growing opportunity. It has been produced at the original Aspall Cyder House for almost three hundred years and the brand’s provenance, crisp taste and sleek, sophisticated packaging all combine to create an offering that fits the bill for shoppers looking for something a bit special.

Multipack formats are ideal for social occasions at home and are likely to become even more important in the coming weeks and months as more consumers plan gatherings with friends and family. To tap into this growing demand we launched a 6x330ml can multipack for our Staropramen range to help retailers drive sales. The packs are encased in a recyclable cardboard sleeve, making them entirely plastic free.

Q: Sustainability is increasingly important for many consumers. How have you worked to improve your environmental credentials across the organisation?

A: As an organisation we set an ambitious 2025 goal to lower absolute emissions by 50% within our direct operations as part of Our Imprint 2025 goals. We have also established a target to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions throughout our value chain within the same time frame. These goals have been verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SbTi), making us one of the few leading companies to align our direct emissions-reduction goal with the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase target recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In March 2021, we began to produce our beers we sell in Ireland such as Carling, Molson Canadian and Miller Genuine Draft, using 100% renewable electricity when we signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with RWE, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies. We use electricity generated from the Tween Bridge wind farm in South Yorkshire, which produces the same amount of electricity as around 25,000 households a year for us.

The move puts us ahead of our target to reduce our operational emissions by 50% by 2025. Alongside this, our investment in CO2 recovery systems mean we can also recover and reuse up to 47 tons of CO2 from the fermentation process each day. Our largest UK brewery in Burton, which produces many of the brands we sell in Ireland, has been almost entirely self-sufficient in CO2 production since 2018; removing around 2,350 tonnes of emissions from our operations each year.

We have set global packaging targets to ensure that 100% of our packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. This year we hit our target of removing all single use plastic from across our major brands, helping us to remove more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic from our operations through changes to packaging and minimising waste. Across our UK and Ireland territory, all of our production sites are zero waste to landfill including our Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork.

Molson Coors has also conducted a trial with Staropramen, where two million low-carbon bottles were produced that reduced the carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%, and significantly increased the recycled content of each bottle by using up to 100% recycled or waste glass – up from 75% previously used in our green glass bottles. We look forward to continuing to explore how we can implement this across our wider portfolio on a larger scale in the future.

*(Source: IRI, MAT 19th June, Value Sales Total Outlets)

**(Source: Kantar Worldpanel Data 52we 14/06/20

***(Source Nielsen Scantrack data to end October 2021

****(Source: IRI, 52 weeks to 19th June, all outlets GB Value Sales)

Perfect gifting solution

Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Collection contains 26 chocolates with nine delicious recipes

To delight your shoppers this festive season, make sure to stock Lily O’Brien’s range of mouthwateringly delicious chocolates. All made in Ireland and crafted using signature Lily O’Brien’s chocolate, the range offers the perfect selection to meet all your shoppers’ gifting needs this Christmas.

Brand new this Christmas, Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Collection is the perfect gift for your customers to really impress with this festive season. This generous collection of 26 chocolates with nine recipes is strikingly stylish and sure to suit all tastes and have them reaching for more.

Recipes included are Salted Caramel, Simple Chocolate, Zesty Lemon Truffle, Truffle Decadence, Coffee and Almond Biscotti, Raspberry Roulade, Sticky Toffee, Roasted Almond Square and Gianduja. Available in all major retailers nationwide (€13.95)

Lily O’Brien’s chocolates are stocked in stores nationwide and you can also view the full range online at www.lilyobriens.ie.

A little sunshine in every drop

MiWadi maintains its number one position in Ireland’s squash category

MiWadi is a truly iconic Irish brand and continues to grow from strength to strength in the marketplace. From humble beginnings in 1927, MiWadi has been a fruity and flavoursome part of childhood in Ireland for 94 years and has always remained relevant to Irish families with a wide range of flavours in the Regular, No Added Sugar, 0% Sugar and Drops ranges. MiWadi is still produced in Dublin to this day and is a proud member of Love Irish Food.

This summer, MiWadi was delighted to announce that every bottle of its 0% Sugar range is now fortified with Vitamin D which supports families’ immune system.

Vitamin D is very important in our diets to help support families’ general health, growth and development but it can be difficult to achieve the recommended daily intake of 5 µg. It has been reported that Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent in Ireland*.

MiWadi says it makes the water that individuals need to drink each day extra delicious and refreshing; the 0% Sugar range contains no more than five calories per glass and is available in four fruity flavours: Orange, Apple & Pear, Apple Berry and Blackcurrant.

MiWadi continues to grow year-on-year, maintaining its number one position in the squash category**.

Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and maintenance of normal bones and teeth.

*(Source: Department of Health Article Reporting on Vitamin D Deficiency in Ireland, April 2020)

**(Source: Nielsen Value Share MAT Total Squash Category November 2021)

Monster Energy is the fastest growing energy brand with a +41% value growth versus 2020

 

Bring the noise

 

Three words that define Monster Energy Nitro Super Dry: ‘Bring The Noise’. The new product from Monster Energy, infused with a proprietary nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide gas mix, Nitro is unlike anything your customers have tried before.

Working around the clock, Monster Energy engineers created a supercharged energy drink with a unique glucose and sucrose mix, which blends citrus flavour, and a light and dry texture similar to fine champagne. Better still, Nitro provides an instant lift with 10.6g of sugar per 100ml and a punchy 32mg of caffeine per 100ml.

Nitro is ‘Unleashed’ and the timing couldn’t be better either. While the energy drink category continues to grab ever more market share and outgrow traditional non-alcoholic-ready-to-drink (NARTD) products, Monster Energy is leading the way. Not only is Monster Energy the fastest growing energy brand – with a +41% value growth versus 2020 – but it also boasts an epic portfolio of over 20 core flavours, now headlined by Nitro Super Dry.

 

A real pro!

Avonmore Pro-Oats is a perfect choice for customers who want to hit their protein goals

Avonmore Pro-Oats is the latest addition to the Avonmore Protein Milk product range. Pro-Oats, as the name suggests, contains 27g of protein and 23g of gluten-free oats per 500ml serving complemented with a smooth texture and tasty vanilla flavour.

Pro-Oats is perfect for those who exercise in the morning, look to hit their protein goals, and want the benefit of breakfast on-the-go. Protein is a building block for muscles and hardworking muscles need protein for muscle maintenance and growth. The new product is now available nationwide in all main retailers.

 

A force of nature

Rubicon Raw from Barr Soft Drinks quickly made an impact on the energy drink market selling 7 million cans in the first seven months*.

The ‘big can’ energy drink meets the needs of today’s energy consumers and is an innovation built on a foundation of consumer insight, offering something new and truly different.

Made with 20% fruit juice, natural caffeine, B-Vitamins, ginseng and guarana, the range consists of three variants – Raspberry & Blueberry, Orange & Mango and Cherry & Pomegranate, with natural flavours and no artificial colours.

Rubicon Raw sold 7 million cans in the first seven months since launch

“Rubicon Raw has had a phenomenal response and is already the fourth largest flavoured big can energy brand in the market, in both volume and value,**” says Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks.

“82% of people who are aware of Rubicon Raw have gone on to try it with over 50% then repurchasing it more than three times, and 31% of Rubicon RAW consumers drinking it weekly***. We believe that’s because we listened and invested heavily to create a product that met their needs,” he adds.

“Not only does the brand appeal to existing shoppers, but we are bringing in new shoppers who have that energy need, but just haven’t yet found the brand that’s right for them.”

*(Source: AG Barr Sales data)

**(Source: IRI All Outlets, Value Sales, Energy Drinks, 13 w/e 04 Sep 2021)

***(Source: Basis Research: Brand and Comms Tracker: Energy market deep-dive. June – July 2021)

Baguette beauties

Panelto Foods’ Heat & Eat baguettes are suitable for freezing, and can be baked straight from frozen

September 2021 saw the successful launch of a new range of baguettes from Panelto Foods. Heat & Eat are fresh bakery baguettes, offering consumers the opportunity to refresh them at home in the oven, resulting in a delicious crusty product. Whether it is lunchtime inspiration for those working from home, or something different for the kids’ lunchboxes, Heat & Eat has your customers’ needs covered!

Panelto Foods’ Heat & Eat baguettes are available in two variants: White and Seeded

The baguettes are suitable for freezing, and can be baked straight from frozen, so consumers can have the highest quality, freshest bakery bread at home any time. Available in two variants: White and Seeded, they are sold in a three-pack format.

After an exclusive launch with Tesco Ireland, Heat & Eat baguettes are now available in over 100 Tesco stores nationwide and are supported in-store with POS along with an integrated marketing campaign. Since their launch, Heat & Eat baguettes have contributed positively towards the growth of the baguette category.

Panelto Foods is an Irish bakery that produces a range of high-quality frozen par-baked breads for major retailers’ in-store bakeries across Ireland and the UK. With a state-of-the-art facility in Longford, Panelto Foods produces delicious breads that can be delivered fresh to the consumer every day.

For more information, visit www.paneltofoods.ie.

Signature botanicals that delight

Silks Gin is best enjoyed as a classic G&T with a slice of red apple to garnish

Beekeeping mother and daughter duo, Marie and Sally Anne Cooney did not have to look far for inspiration when developing the recipe for Silks Irish Dry Gin.

The family orchard is home to 6,500 apple trees and millions of bees and the gin’s signature botanicals include hand-picked apple blossom, foraged elderflower and hawthorn blossom and honey from the bees that pollinate the trees.

These signature botanicals are combined with 11 other ingredients and steeped for 24 hours before slow distilling with vapour infusion in a 500-litre copper Bennett pot still in the company’s family-owned Boann Distillery in Co Meath.

This unique botanical combination and distillation technique creates a floral forward contemporary style gin with bright citrus aromas.

The name Silks is inspired by the colourful jockey silks worn at the historic Bellewstown racecourse, seen from the distillery.

Silks Gin launched in June of this year and has already been awarded Gold in the Beverage Testing Institute Awards 2021.

Silks Gin is distributed exclusively by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

For more information, follow @SilksGin on social media and visit www.silksgin.ie.

Approved by top dieticians

Approved by Ireland’s top dieticians, the Gorge Us range is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low in saturated fats and contains no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings

Unislim celebrates eating delicious, nutritious food.

Its Gorge Us range uses only the finest ingredients. Gorge Us currently has two gluten-free, vegan-friendly products on the market; Unislim Gorge Us Rustic Cut Chips and deliciously Skinny Sweet Potato Fries. The Gorge Us family goal is to offer a healthy, delicious, wholesome and great-tasting option for vegans, slimmers, and health-conscious foodies.

This year, the brand added two frozen fruit products – Breakfast Berry & Tropical Mix – both of which offer a quick, convenient way to get some healthy, succulent fruit into an individual’s diet. Each juicy piece is naturally grown, picked ripe and freshly frozen to ensure they are bursting with flavour. Frozen fruit has similar levels of vitamins and minerals as fresh and 80g still counts as one of an individual’s five-a-day.

Created by Unislim’s top food experts, the Gorge Us range is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low in saturated fats, contains no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings and have been approved by Ireland’s top dieticians.

Unislim is a family run, Irish owned company. It is Ireland’s leading slimming and healthy lifestyle club since 1972. The group offers 50,000 members a personalised and effective weight loss plan, which encourages them to make healthier food choices. With a network of 300+ supportive weekly classes all over Ireland, there is a class near your store and Us! online for those that can’t make it to a class. Visit unislim.com for more information.

Spicing up relish category

Three YR Relish flavours are available: YR Original Tomato Relish, YR Balsamic Red Onion and YR Habanero Spicy Relish

YR Sauce is renowned for its sweet, blended date recipe and through the expertise of its product development team, this innovative brand developed a new YR Relish range in July to delight consumer’s taste buds and bring a burst of flavours to the relish category.

The three YR Relish flavours are YR Original Tomato Relish, YR Balsamic Red Onion and YR Habanero Spicy Relish. The products are gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friendly and have no added artificial colourings, flavours or preservatives and guaranteed to invigorate the category. The YR team have been mindful to create the relishes at the lower end of the sugar spectrum and focus on high quality natural ingredients.

YR Habanero Relish recently won a bronze accolade in The Irish Quality Food and Drinks Awards 2021. This Mexican inspired relish has a generous combination of ripe, spicy habanero chilli, red pepper, onion and pineapple, it’s delicious as a condiment for burgers, sandwiches, salads and amazing as a dip with tortilla crisps, to spice up any party or a night in. So if it’s not on your shelf, it’s time to stock up, the brand advises.

YR is proudly owned and distributed by Primeline Sales & Marketing. For more information contact your local sales representative or reach the company at: Primeline Sales & Marketing, Unit 12B, Ashbourne Business Park,, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, Ireland. Telephone: +353 (01) 835 3000.

Have it your way!

Double delight: Meade Farm Skinny Chips and Chunky Chips both scooped Gold accolades at the Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards

2021 went out on a high for the Irish family business Meade Farm. Amongst other awards, Meade Farm Skinny Chips and Chunky Chips both won Gold at the Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards.

The Gold Awards in the highly competitive ‘meal accompaniment’ category are a testament to the expertise that Meade Farm brings to the fresh chip category; these are simply delicious, premium quality, chipped potatoes that let consumers make the call as to how to season and cook them – low cal, indulgent or somewhere in-between. They fill an important place in the fresh chips category for those consumers who want homemade chips, done their own way, but don’t have the time for prep and peeling.

Currently available in Skinny and Chunky variants, these chips are prepared fresh daily and shipped from the farm in County Meath, in the heart of the fertile Boyne Valley potato-growing region. They are available now for retailers seeking a distinctively delicious fresh chip to re-invigorate their category. For more information, contact Holly Gunapala or Cliona Costello at Meade Farm on +353 (0)46 905 3198.

Rich dairy heritage

Charleville’s new packaging proudly highlights the brand’s heritage and celebrates its craftsmanship

Charleville, Ireland’s number one cheese brand, has announced its next innovative initiative which sees the nationally acclaimed brand unveil fresh new packaging that will be sure to grab the attention of Irish consumers in stores nationwide.

Charleville’s new packaging proudly highlights the brand’s heritage and celebrates its craftsmanship

Scheduled to appear on shelves from 17 September, the new design will feature a bold new Charleville logo that incorporates a Charleville town illustration and the timeless “Est. 1912” seal, which has become a stamp of quality for the brand. The logo also pays homage to Charleville’s rich dairy heritage – a brand built by generations of know-how, skill and care for over 100 years and counting.

When it comes to design, the new packaging boasts a distinctive grey slate background overlayed with delicious images of Charleville cheese which will be sure to drive taste appeal amongst Irish cheese consumers. A boldly coloured descriptor box is also featured which aids navigation and ensures consumers can easily find their preferred variant at their local store.

A pre-campaign launch teasing the new look and feel of the packs has been live in market in the lead up to the redesign. The new look packs will also be supported by a through-the-line campaign including digital and social media, influencer partnerships, out of home and in-store activity.

Marketing manager Michelle Daly Lennon says Charleville was delighted to launch its new-look packs in September.

“Charleville has a rich heritage dating back to 1912 – a brand that has been built by generations of know-how, skill and care from master craftspeople and we wanted our new packaging to celebrate our Irish heritage and communicate our quality ingredients and premium product offering to consumers,” Daly Lennon said.

This latest move follows a phenomenal year for the Charleville brand which saw the launch of Charleville Lighter range and a value market share growth of +8%.

The fresh, new design will begin to appear on-shelf nationwide from September and will be rolled out across multiples and independents.

Charleville is the number one brand in natural cheese and the number one brand across everyday block, slices and grated segments. Charleville caters for multiple cheese consumers needs with a diverse range of cheese products for all cheese moments. Spread it, sprinkle it, dollop it, or simply slice it, Charleville cheese makes any meal or snack occasion more joyful created by master craftspeople, for 100 years and counting. Charleville uses the highest quality ingredients available, hand-selected by skilled craftspeople to create cheese with real depth of flavour.

Risotto on the rise

Cully & Sully Risottos are available in three appetising varieties

For Cully & Sully, launching a range of products during a pandemic was certainly not an easy task but the brand’s range of delicious and authentic Risottos are now available in all good stores.

 

Made in Ireland using fresh ingredients, there are three products in the range: Charming Chicken & Leek Risotto, Moreish Mushroom Risotto and Tempting Tomato & Roast Red Pepper Risotto. All three options are gluten-free and the Moreish Mushroom and Tempting Tomato varieties are also suitable for vegans. However, Cully & Sully suggests serving them with a glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan!

They are perfect for a light lunch or supper or as a delicious evening meal. For recipe ideas, head to cullyandsully.com/rocking-risotto.

Redefining the cocktail experience

Lyre’s holds the number two position in the no/low spirit category

Lyre’s – the world’s most awarded non-alcoholic spirit brand has taken the market by storm, holding the number two position in the no/low spirit category, winning share from top competitors since launch in January of this year.

The total no/low category is in strong growth YTD at +24% versus last year. Spirits is the main driver of growth, growing at +180% value year-to-date (YTD).

Lyre’s launched the pre-mixed ready to drink (RTD) collection earlier this year with the Classico 200ml four-pack, which has become Lyre’s number one SKU in unit terms. The full Lyre’s RTD collection is now redefining the ready to pour cocktail experience with five elegant party accompaniments, cocktail additions or celebratory toasts that taste delicious. Now available in Classico, Classic G&T, Amalfi Spritz, American Malt & Cola and Dark ‘n Spicy, these signature drinks can be enjoyed at any time and contain the perfect ratio of ingredients to deliver a great tasting non-alcoholic cocktail.

The RTD range has been a huge hit with Irish consumers and sits alongside an already extensive range of non-alcoholic spirit offerings from the brand. All RTDs are also low in calories, vegan, gluten and nut free.

As the world’s most awarded non-alcoholic spirit brand, Lyre’s has proven time and time again that the high-quality liquid surpasses competing non-alcoholic spirits but also stands strong even when measured against their alcoholic counterparts. The brand is continuing to drive further innovation within the no/low category with the launch of Classico Grande – its first prosecco style drink in a 750ml format.

Stay spirited with the sophisticated non-alcoholic RTD range from Lyre’s. The ideal thirst quencher for mindful and moderate drinkers looking to sparkle this winter.

Melt into a moment of bliss

Lindt Lindor is achieving double digit growth of +32.9% and holds a market share of 19.9%

Maintaining its position as the number one boxed chocolate brand, Lindt Lindor continues to outperform the market growing double digit +32.9% and holding a market share of 19.9%*. Lindor success comes not only from the much-loved classic Lindor milk recipe but also through the brand’s continual innovations to the market that are guaranteed to excite and delight your shoppers.

Experience bliss with Lindt Lindor smooth melting milk chocolate truffles, the best seller in the range. The Lindt master chocolatiers combine expertise and the finest ingredients to produce the perfectly round milk chocolate shell with an irresistibly smooth melting filling. Since 1845, Lindt has been dedicated to producing the finest chocolates and the recipes created by the Lindt master chocolatiers are of the highest quality to delight taste buds. The Lindor milk chocolate box is the ideal gift for every occasion from birthdays to Christmas, as well as being perfect for indulging in a blissful moment all to oneself.

Lindt Lindor is also available in a slim stick format; it is the perfect “on the go” treat and is available in four delectable flavours – the classic Lindor milk recipe, the irresistibly smooth melting mint filling and a zesty orange flavoured milk chocolate for those looking for something with a little twist. And finally, the latest edition to the Treat Bar range, Salted caramel, smooth melting milk chocolate with salt crystals, which the brand describes as an irresistible combination.

Lindt Lindor is the epitome of indulgence as it creates a moment of escape and relaxation in an individual’s busy day – a smooth melting ‘me moment’.

With a format for every occasion, everyone can find their moment of bliss with Lindor from Lindt!

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack total market excluding discounters MAT latest 52 weeks to 7 November 2021)

Tantalising flavours

Club’s Dark Stuff Mixed Berry flavour is here to stay. Club’s Pat Frog Ice Lolly flavour was so popular that stores up and down the country limited purchases to one bottle per customer

What a year it was for Club. The brand has maintained its position as the second most consumed carbonated soft drink in ‘on the go’ and has continued to excite Irish consumers with new tantalising flavours. Club had a busy year and has undergone a facelift across all flavours whilst also introducing one of its most exciting limited editions yet; Pat Frog Ice Lolly flavour. Pat Frog Ice Lolly flavour paid homage to the iconic 90s apple flavoured ice pop that we all know and love. This limited-edition flavour launched in April 2021 and was so incredibly popular that stores up and down the country limited purchases to one bottle per customer. Pat was also brought to life through digital with a special focus on telling the story of Pat on his favourite social channel; Tik Tok.

Pat Frog Ice Lolly Flavour has now been replaced with Dark Stuff Mixed Berry flavour in 500ml and 1.75L. Dark Stuff launched just in time for Halloween, and it was introduced to consumers with the help of social media and TV star Darren Conway aka GIT. The good news is Dark Stuff is here to stay and is available in stores nationwide, so this Christmas why don’t you; ‘Get the Dark Stuff into Ya!’

Lunar delight

Hendrick’s Gin unveils Hendrick’s Lunar Gin, a small batch, limited release gin conjured up from the oddities in Ms Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace.

Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is the second limited-edition release from master distiller Ms Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace

According to the brand: “This most peculiar and unusual gin was conceived beneath the celestial light of the moon and yields an alluring complexity and a delightful warmth, which is best suited to refreshing sundowners, night-sipping, moon gazing and other sensible modes of contemplation.”

This is the second release from Hendrick’s esteemed master distiller Ms Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities and showcases how Ms Gracie’s curious mind is in part inspired by the spectacular surroundings in her playground at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace, hidden away in the remote Scottish Ayrshire coast. Ms Gracie is known for a spot of midnight gardening and regularly tends to her blossoming collection of botanicals under the influence of moonlight.

Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is an intriguing combination of the refreshing, the warm and the floral and is designed to be shared and savoured of an evening as the sun goes down and the moon charges the sky.

Ally Martin, global brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin advises on some simple serves that bring this most unusual offering to life that can be easily recreated at home: “Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is designed to be savoured during quiet nights at home. All true Hendrick’s lovers will know our gin works spectacularly well with our signature cucumber garnish, and Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is no different in that respect, but it lends itself to the addition of black pepper too, to accentuate the top notes of this gin.”

Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is now stocked in SuperValu across ROI as an exclusive until 28 April. It will replace Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice which spritzed up the summer in 2019. It is bottled at 43.4% ABV and RRP: €46.

For further information, go to www.hendricksgin.com.

Exploring categories with the best opportunities for NPD

New product development (NPD) is easier in some categories than others. Shoppers are more open to trying something new, and there are less barriers to buying (e.g. less routine purchase in ‘autopilot mode’).

Shopper Intelligence explores Irish shoppers’ mindset in 127 FMCG categories, and has identified the ‘low hanging fruit’ categories. You can see some of them on the below infographic:

 

 

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