An exciting return!

After experiencing the trials and tribulations of home schooling when many children have also missed seeing their school pals on a daily basis, the ‘back to school’ season will be a bigger occasion than ever and a major family focus in homes across the country, with parents doing everything they can to make their children’s experience a positive one


Brand Central

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29 July 2020

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It’s no secret that, when it comes to school lunches, Irish families crave products and brands that provide convenience, value for money and nutrition. Now that the school season is fast approaching, products that tick those boxes will be in high demand.

Back to school is undeniably a costly time of the year for parents. Value is at the fore of many minds when shopping for lunchbox fillers. Multipacks have proven to be a hit for their convenience and value. In recent years, there has been a welcome explosion of healthy choices across the FMCG sector. The brands commanding attention reassure parents of the nutritional and natural value of their products, as several of the bestselling brands highlighted here aptly demonstrate.

All under one roof

A recent study by analyst Mintel showed the importance of grocery stores featuring a broad back to school range, with easy-to-shop merchandising. According to Mintel, parents find it helpful to have most of the back-to-school items they need to buy under one roof, with 77% saying it’s more convenient to shop at a retailer that sells a wide range of these items. This goes hand in hand with the popularity of grocers for back-to-school shoppers, with 45% saying they bought items from a supermarket in 2018.

Mintel reports that back-to-school shoppers acknowledge that value for money has improved, with nearly two-thirds (65%) saying there are now better options for some of the lower-cost back-to-school products than there were previously. Despite this improvement, over half (53%) of parents still find the back-to-school shopping period stressful.

Standing out

“The popularity of supermarkets during the back-to-school shopping period is driven by the consumer desire for convenience and value,” says Samantha Dover, Mintel senior retail analyst. “They appeal because they offer a broad range of products needed for the start of the academic year, including stationery, lunchboxes and tech products, all under one roof. However, online-only and discount retailers are increasingly challenging their strength in this market.

“One way for retailers to stand out in a crowded marketplace is to make the back-to-school experience less stressful for parents,” Dover adds. She advises that “retailers could take inspiration from their European counterparts and, more specifically, Spanish children’s concept store Little Stories, which is a great example of how to improve the retail environment for both parents and their children. It uses primary colours and cartoon motifs to create a child-friendly interior, in-store paths for children to follow and a half-height counter helping them feel part of the buying experience.”

Research from Shopper Intelligence, which surveyed 16,492 Irish shoppers between November 2019 and March 2020, also demonstrated the importance of the back to school occasion for retailers. “An important, pre-planned and regular purchase occasion, the back to school category can drive loyalty to a store if done well,” Shopper Intelligence reports.

Support your immune system

Each 100ml bottle of Actimel contains 10 million exclusive L. Casei cultures, Vitamins B6 and D

Actimel is an ideal option for the back to school lunch box for parents who are anxious to provide a nutritious choice. Each 100ml bottle of this fermented milk drink contains 10 million exclusive L. Casei cultures, Vitamins B6 and D, helping to support an individual’s immune system*.

Available in a range of flavours, the No Added Sugar range has continued to perform strongly since growing the range just over two years ago. In fact, recent data shows it has increased by +33.8% in value terms and by +30.1% in volume terms during the latest 12 weeks**. To provide even greater choice, Actimel has continued to grow its No Added Sugar range in 2020, with a new Supermix flavour now available.

What’s more, in late 2020 and 2021, Actimel is set to launch some exciting innovation, which will maintain its focus on supporting consumers’ immune systems.

The total Actimel brand has grown by +29.1% in value terms and +19.2% in volume terms during the latest 12 weeks

As we now emerge from lockdown, a focus on self-improvement and wellbeing across all aspects of their lives will remain central for many shoppers. This continued emphasis on health and wellbeing has generated impressive results for Actimel, which has been experiencing strong performance and growth over the past few months, with the total brand up by +29.1% in value terms and +19.2% in volume terms during the latest 12 weeks**.

For many parents and kids eager to give the return to school their best shot, Actimel is great for lunchboxes, especially now when supporting the immune system is more important than ever.

*(With Vitamin B6 and D to help support the normal function of an individual’s immune system. Enjoy as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle)

**(Source: MAT Nielsen Data ending 14 June 2020)

A family favourite

Cuisine de France uses only the finest, 100% natural ingredients — flour, salt, water and yeast

With only four natural ingredients, Cuisine de France French bread is a perfect school lunch box filler.

If there was ever a food that unites people all over, it is bread! Whether you love a crusty white roll or a seeded brown loaf, bread is the centrepiece of any good meal.

And would you believe the most iconic bread in Ireland is… French. With the new and improved Le Parisien and the Le Demi baguette, Cuisine de France is a firm family favourite across Ireland, and is a perfect lunch for all ages.

Best of all? Cuisine de France uses only the finest, 100% natural ingredients — flour, salt, water and yeast. There are a number of tasty ways Cuisine de France baguettes can be used for even the fussiest little eaters’ school lunch box.

Whether it is simply cut up and served with lashings of good Irish butter or dressed up with hummus, ham and cheese or tomato and salami, the possibilities are endless and exciting, allowing parents to easily change up their little ones’ lunch box ideas.

Cuisine de France baguettes also make a great after-school snack as delicious mini pizzas —perfect for kids and parents alike. Simply place slices of the baguette with some tomato paste and cheese under the grill to lightly toast the crispy crust and unmistakable light, fluffy velvet centre of a Cuisine de France baguette.

Natural, vegan and free from any additives, this bread is suitable for all, from toddler age up. Your customers are safe in the knowledge that they are providing their children with a filling, versatile and wholesome lunch.

A moment of bliss wherever you go

The Lindt Lindor Treat Bar range is now also available in the Lindor Milk and Orange multipacks

Now worth over €2m in retail sales value (RSV), the smooth-melting Lindt Lindor Treat Bar is Ireland’s number one premium chocolate countline and is a proven must-stock range for retailers this year*. Available in a slim stick format, it is the perfect on-the-go treat and is available in three 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, each flavour promising to be a “blissful” experience for your taste buds.

The Lindt Lindor Treat Bar is Ireland’s number one premium chocolate countline

Following on from the success of the Lindor Treat Bar range – also available are the Lindor Milk and Orange multipacks – with the same slim stick packaging but in a convenient multipack format – perfect for filling lunch boxes or as a little picnic treat while consumers are out and about.

The Lindor Multipack is available in all leading retailers and retails at €2.69. The Lindor Treat Bar 38g range retails at €1.29 and is available nationwide.

Lindt Lindor is the epitome of indulgence as it creates a moment of escape and relaxation in your busy day – a smooth melting ‘me moment’. The tempting Lindor Treat Bars are a product of the care and passion that Lindt’s Swiss master chocolatiers put into creating each and every recipe.

With a selection of flavours to choose from – shoppers can treat themselves to a moment of bliss wherever they go with the Lindor Treat Bar!

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack MAT, Snacking Countline Market, to 17 May 2020)

Great morning start

Weetabix is passionate about providing its consumers with the ‘Weetabix Advantage’ every morning when they sit down for breakfast, giving them the strong start that only a proper breakfast can do.

Weetabix is still firmly the UK’s number one breakfast cereal brand* and a must-stock for retailers. Weetabix Original is and will always be, a low sugar cereal, and has all green traffic lights on-pack to make it easy for shoppers to make a healthy choice.

“Getting prepared to return to school is a hectic time for parents and kids alike, and never more so than this year,” says Simon Walker, head of sales for Weetabix. “It’s the ideal time to establish new routines, which is why we have brought back our Any-Which-Way-A-Bix campaign for the busy back to school period, encouraging shoppers to buy a pack of Weetabix to ensure the best start to their day.”

An updated Any-Which-Way-A-Bix advert returns to TV in August, alongside additional in-store and online shopper investment, giving Weetabix the number one share of voice in the cereal category for this period, and increased awareness to drive footfall into store.

“Retailers should ensure they stock the best sellers on their cereal shelves, including Ready Brek – the fastest growing product in the category, and Alpen – the nation’s number one muesli brand,” Walker advises. “Weetabix On The Go is also a must-stock, providing a tasty, convenient and nutritious breakfast for those on the move, whilst Weetos is a family favourite, with taste and chocolate being big drivers of consumption at breakfast time.”

*(Source: Nielsen data to 30 Nov 2019)

Real Irish ham 

Brady Family Ham  is the most recommended ham brand by its consumers

What makes Brady Family Ham so special is that it is real Irish ham. It is crafted from the finest Bord Bia approved pork legs, slow cooked to perfection in Brady Family’s traditional way, with no added water. It is this craftmanship, attention to detail, and focus on quality which has resulted in Brady Family Ham claiming the number one spot for not only the highest quality ham in the category but also the most recommended ham brand, by its consumers*.

Within its range, Brady Family has a vast array of products, which makes it a perfect lunchbox filler for back to school. Brady Family’s succulent slices of carved ham are delicious in a wholesome sandwich, while the Just Add Shredded Ham is a perfect addition to a scrumptious pasta dish or salad.

*(Source: Bord Bia, Brand Health Check, 2020)

Packed full of goodness

Green Farm is a natural, healthy, and tasty cooked-meat choice that is perfect for school lunches. The brand’s range of chicken, turkey and beef products are packed full of goodness as they are high in protein, contain essential vitamins, and have no nasties, meaning they are free from all artificial flavours and preservatives.

Green Farm’s 100% natural award-winning range contains both sliced and torn products which is ideal to keep any little one’s lunchbox exciting without compromising on quality and taste.

Back to school offering can drive loyalty to a particular retailer: Shopper Intelligence Ireland

Shopper Intelligence Ireland carried out research on 16,492 Irish shoppers between November 2019 – March 2020 on their kids’ lunchbox preferences: the results of which are displayed on the previous page.

Colm Rooney, country manager, Ireland at Shopper Intelligence made some pertinent comments regarding the findings.

“Congrats to Irish parents, as our kids’ lunchboxes are actually filled with rather healthy products,” Rooney said. “Our data shows that yoghurt is the most popular item, followed by fruit and sandwich ingredients. Interestingly, in one out of four cases, these products are actually requested by someone else (i.e. the child).

“Irish shoppers are clearly indicating that the kids’ lunchbox occasion is a very important, pre-planned and regular part of the weekly shopping trip,” he added. “But the key take-away for me is that it can actually drive loyalty to a particular retailer/store. If shoppers feel a retailer delivers this kids’ lunchbox occasion well, they will keep coming back for it.”




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