Celebrating la crème de la crème!
Without new thinking and innovative NPD to regenerate categories, sales would quickly go stale and plateau. With that in mind, in our annual celebration of the new contenders that have made a positive contribution to your bottom line - as well as the reliable heavyweights that inspire continued consumer loyalty – we doff our caps to the following ‘ones to watch’ as we head into 2020
17 December 2019 | 0
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of the year as it was in Ireland’s ever-changing FMCG and grocery sector.
Whether it’s an iconic family favourite, a niche innovation or something in between, there have been a host of outstanding product launches and re-launches throughout 2019, followed by enthusiastic responses from retailers and consumers alike. As well as quality products, these campaigns were marked by innovative and inventive use of new channels in social media and digital marketing.
Major consumer trends this year included the rise of vegan foods, the ongoing focus on health and wellness and the rise of low and no alcohol drinks. Suppliers have outdone themselves in managing to create solutions that meet these needs in new and exciting ways and in on-the-go, convenient formats that neatly slot into consumers’ busy lifestyles.
Delivering a superior cigar
Ampersand has successfully built its cigar business to become the number one independent supplier of cigars to the Irish market and key supplier to the premium cigar market with its range of hand-made tubed cigars from Havana and the Dominican Republic. Brands include Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas, Upmann, Bolivar and Hoyo. Ampersand also distributes the Villiger, King Edward and Agio cigar brands.
Ampersand has imported the best-selling Agio range of cigars into Ireland for almost 60 years and attributes its success to the excellent level of service provided to customers. In fact, Ampersand’s loyal and committed nationwide sales team has local representatives based in each territory.
In today’s increasingly challenging cigar market, Ampersand’s specialised salesforce continue to sell Agio to every corner of Ireland and across all shop formats and sizes. Ampersand’s sales team have strong long-term relationships with owners and managers at store level and can deliver Agio “on the spot” with no minimum outer order quantity.
The best seller from the Agio range, Agio Filter Tip in a five-pack, has enjoyed popularity for many decades amongst cigar enthusiasts in Ireland and remains the leading brand in the Irish tip market and the world’s leading tip cigar. The elegant Agio Tip mouthpiece and sophisticated flavour make this cigarillo an extremely appetising prospect for cigar consumers. The tip prevents tobacco entering the mouth and allows for a firm grip. With roots all the way back to the 1920s cigarette holders, tips have enjoyed popularity for many decades among a large group of stylish cigar enthusiasts.
Ampersand’s advice to retailers is to ensure you have enough stock of cigars this Christmas as consumers look for a quality gift offering or a superior cigar to smoke while celebrating over the festive period.
For more information, contact your Ampersand representative or call 01 4130150.
Appealing to canny customers
Barefoot Wine’s award-winning Pinot Grigio and White Zinfandel are now on shelves in a stylish new format. Canned wine has become a serious drink trend this year. These two new and colourful cans, stamped with the brand’s iconic foot, are a real favourite for many.
Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio boasts flavours of tasty pear mixed with hints of fresh citrus, while the White Zinfandel offers notes of sun-ripened strawberries, succulent pears, luscious pineapple, and juicy peach.
Both options are available in a convenient, lightweight can format, perfect for enjoying on-the-go. Barefoot cans are also great for Christmas celebrations, as they are convenient, widely recyclable, easy to chill and open, and remove the need for a glass! Barefoot is confident these cans are set to be the trendiest tipple of the season, and what’s more, they come with an affordable price tag.
Garden of Eden
2019 was the year of the vegan. January 2019 couldn’t have been a better time for the launch of Eden; one of the first vegan chilled products to go to market this year. As the months flew by, more and more vegan and vegetarian brands were popping up on retailers’ shelves across the country, but Eden was already securely on the shelves across the different retailers.
What’s great about Eden is its brand message and the fact it is produced in Ireland.
Eden has created a range of delicious vegan and vegetarian products to help fellow foodies enjoy natural, green choices that are good for you and the planet. The people behind Eden made this product for the ‘Meat Free Monday’ers’, the animal product reducers as well as those living a vegan lifestyle. Indeed, Eden believes in making the highest quality, tasty food, for everyone to enjoy.
Nothing forbidden goes into its products, only natural, wholesome ingredients. Eden’s produce is sustainably sourced and served as nature intended it; no hidden nasties, just honest goodness. The team at Eden steams the products instead of frying them, locking in all the tasty nourishment and giving a soft feel yet a firm bite. This is reflected in Eden’s ability to create juicy flavours and textures while keeping the products low in calories.
Eden products give individuals one of their five-a-day per burger. Eden’s extensive range of vegan and vegetarian products include burgers, sausages and bites. To find out more, visit Eden’s website, edenfood.ie or follow the brand on Instagram eden_foods.
To contact Eden, call +353 091771236 or email email@example.com.
As distinctive as the man himself!
Graham Norton’s foray into the spirits business has seen two of his new-to-market gins win gold and silver at the prestigious Gin Masters 2019 competition in London.
Judged alongside industry peers, in a blind tasting competition, Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gin scooped a coveted gold medal, while his popular Graham Norton’s Own Pink Gin landed a silver award. In a hotly contested competition, over 300 of the world’s favourite gins were presented to the experts at the 2019 awards, while sales of these special gins reflect their popularity, not just with older gin connoisseurs, but with selective millennials and Generation Zers.
Created in collaboration with West Cork Distilleries, Skibbereen, Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gin is a combination of juniper and coriander, with hints of locally foraged rosehip, fuchsia petals and gooseberries rounding off the special blend of 12 botanicals. The gins boast a London Dry style and a flavour as likeable and distinctive as the man himself! His second winner, Graham Norton’s Own Pink Gin, has pushed the boundaries with its use of locally foraged botanicals also, both are produced from 100% Irish grain, drawing its flavours from rose petals, lemon peel, orange peel and elderflower to name but a few.
Gin is one of Graham’s favourite tipples, so he really wanted to put his own Norton-esque twist on one. Graham wanted something that spoke of the splendour and beauty of West Cork, its countryside and its unique botanicals. The bottle shape and design of both have great stand-out and the gin speaks for itself! Proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Craft cocktails in a can
Co. Meath-based Glassbox Spirits unveiled Ireland’s first ever range of craft cocktails in a 330ml can earlier this year. All mixed and ready to enjoy, the small batch 330ml can range consists of four convenient cocktail classics:
- Gin and Tonic (5% ABV)
- Pink Gin and Tonic (5% ABV)
- Vodka, Cranberry and Soda (5% ABV)
- Whiskey Ginger and Lime (5% ABV)
Each product in the classic cocktail range consists of premium distilled spirit mixed with only natural ingredients. No artificial flavourings, colourings or sweeteners are added. The drinks are also packaged in 330ml cans, making them the perfect eco-friendly option for outdoor events and festivals over the summer season.
The classic cocktail recipes have been specially formulated by in-house mixologist and drinks wizard Don Crowley, who has filled a gap in the market for “great looking premium ready-to-drink cocktails that are convenient classics”.
The range is stocked nationwide in O’Brien’s Fine Wines, Molloy’s and all good independent off-licences, with an RRP of €3.49 each or four for €10 on offer.
For trade details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @GlassboxSpirits.
Birds Eye is the clear leader in frozen chicken with a 50.3% value share of total chicken, underpinned by undisputed leadership in family chicken and chicken pieces with shares of 66.3% and 38.1% respectively.
Building on Birds Eye expertise, the increasing popularity of chicken and the accelerated growth within the chicken pieces sector, Chicken Shop offers a tasty range of takeaway-style chicken perfect for the growing in-home, sharing occasion. Offering great variety, the range includes Buttermilk Strips, Hot & Fiery Chunks, Maple & BBQ Wings, and Southern Fried Wings.
Chicken Shop has been consistently supported with extensive media investment throughout 2019 to drive awareness and trial. Central to this support is a dedicated Chicken Shop TV execution highlighting taste appeal and the movie night occasion under the successful Birds Eye Chicken ‘Winner Winner’ communications platform. Targeted online video, digital, social and in-store support have successfully achieved both strong trial and repeat purchase.
Chicken Shop has also been a winner for the category in delivering accretive retail sales value (RSV) and €/KG growth, not least through incremental penetration through attracting new shoppers to the frozen chicken category.
2020 will build on this success to date and see further growth momentum on Birds Eye Chicken Shop, driven through incremental NPD and continued brand support.
*(Source: Nielsen data to 6 October 2019)
In line with recent growth in penetration and category value within plant-based eating, in 2019 Birds Eye launched Green Cuisine, a range of meat substitutes appealing predominantly to the growing flexitarian audience.
With a reputation for innovation and quality along with expertise in peas spanning over 60 years, it is not surprising that Birds Eye has chosen a specially selected variety of pea as the protein source for its range of mouth-watering Green Cuisine Meat-Free Burgers, Sausages and Swedish balls.
Green Cuisine has been developed with contemporary, health-conscious consumers in mind and strikes a perfect balance between taste and health ensuring zero compromise on enjoyment for consumers.
The range meets many important health cues with all varieties being rich in plant protein, a source of fibre, low in saturated fat and vegan-certified.
Targeted above-the-line support including TV, along with a robust innovation pipeline for 2020 and beyond, will ensure that Birds Eye continues to fuel the growth of plant-based eating as this sector becomes increasingly mainstream among family and non-family groups.
Fused created a stir in the Asian category in 2019 with its premium range of award-winning sauces. The brand’s mission is to premiumise the Asian category by offering a range of products with clean labels without compromising on flavour. Fiona Uyema, TV chef and cookbook author, is the curator of the range.
“There has been a phenomenal interest in Asian food since the Rugby World Cup and customers are now looking for a premium and authentic Asian brand offering,” says Fiona Uyema. “The Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo Olympics 2020 have given great exposure to Japan and Asian food.”
Fused provides a range of premium Asian sauces with no MSG and no nasties. Due to positive customer and trade reaction, Fused extended its range of sauces in 2019 and will launch more products in January 2020.
Fused Katsu Curry and Thai Green Curry stir fry sauces reported strong sales with key USPs including no refined sugar, no MSG and no nasties. The Fused offering is in line with customer trends and busy lifestyles.
Fused’s full range is stocked in select Dunnes Stores and SuperValu stores, with a limited range of products stocked in Iceland, Tesco and independent stores across Ireland. Find out more on www.fusedbyfionauyema.com.
The right attitude
Chicken with Attitude is gaining new customers every day since its launch in September in supermarkets and butchers. In fact, more than 70,000 bags have been sold. This premium range of fully cooked chicken tenders and bites is different by name, appearance, and quality. Feedback has been positive: “people can’t believe how tasty they are,” the brand states. The range crisps up in an air fryer or oven in less than 15 minutes.
Created from hand-cut chicken fillets and topped with bespoke coatings from Kerry Ingredients, the texture and flavours make for an ideal quick, convenient meal.
The quality of the Chicken with Attitude range was acknowledged at the recent Meat 2 Trade Exhibition in Belfast where it scooped the ‘Best new Chicken product’ award. It is packed in attractive 500g bags and retails for €4.99. For more information contact email@example.com or visit www.vistafoods.ie.
Beautiful fragrances and flavours
Pre-made beverages once suffered the stigma of being viewed as cheap or of low quality but recent launches in this category have turned things around. Aided by the upsurge in the craft movement, this category has managed to change decades-old views around ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages while the industry has seen cocktails in this category grow by double digits year-on-year. Launched in 2019, the Mil Spritz and Mil Spritz Rosa catapulted onto the scene in a roaring success. A mix of Mil gin, tonic and grapefruit, the cans really struck a chord with consumers looking for a high-quality product that was convenient; no doubt helped along by the beautiful branding and clever marketing campaign aimed at its core customer.
The signature serve for Mil Mediterranean Irish Potstill Gin is grapefruit and basil, and the brand wanted to incorporate these beautiful fragrances and flavours in its Mil Spritz (Original) cans.
As soon as you open a Mil Spritz can, you get an instant hit of beautiful fresh grapefruit citrus, followed by its signature herbal and juniper nose. The palate is well-rounded yet bursting with grapefruit citrus. Crisp piny juniper and herbs are very present along with its crisp tonic freshness
For the Rosa version of Mil Spritz cans meanwhile, the brand brought together its award-winning Mil Mediterranean Irish Potstill Gin with a hint of grapefruit and a burst of fresh raspberries and this is clearly reflected in its aroma.
The palate has Mil’s signature herbal and juniper notes yet bursting with fresh raspberry and pink Grapefruit citrus. These flavours balance perfectly with its own unique custom-made refreshing tonic.
Both variants are 5.9% ABV, 250ml.
The Muchos Mexican snack
Tayto Muchos has enjoyed major success in the market, ending the year as the best-selling crisps and snacks NPD of 2019.* Focussing on the key market trend of Mexican snacking coupled with the growth of sharing bags in the marketplace, Tayto Muchos launched in March this year with three mouth-watering flavours – Sour Cream & Onion, Smokey Chilli Chicken and Nacho Cheese 180g bags.
Tayto Muchos was supported with bespoke fun creative above-the-line which included two bursts of TV and out-of-home amplified below-the-line with digital and PR. In retail, over 5,000 displays have been placed since launch, with shoppers also having the opportunity to enter multiple bespoke retailer exclusive giveaways in-store and online.
Tayto Muchos has delivered over €1m value sales in the market and garnered a 1.2% value share of the highly competitive snacks category. No doubt Tayto Muchos will be a new staple in many Irish households during the festive period.
As for 2020, Tayto Muchos will be back on air and supported across the trade as the expansion of Tayto into the Mexican snacking category continues.
*(Source: Nielsen Value Sales November 2019)
Vibrant, flavoursome and approachable
Yellow Tail believes that great quality wine can be affordable and good fun too. The brand’s wines are vibrant, flavoursome and approachable, making everyday moments more enjoyable.
When it comes to wine, Yellow Tail likes to make its own rules – the only thing it is really serious about is the quality. Yellow Tail is instantly recognisable, both for its appearance and its personality. If you want to cut to the chase, it’s simple, drink it, share it, and enjoy it.
Often referred to as the classic Australian red wine, Shiraz is an easy to drink, all-time favourite. And Yellow Tail’s Shiraz is no exception to the rule.
Once the grapes are crushed and stems removed, they are fermented on skins in contact with oak. Temperature-controlled fermentation ensures maximum varietal flavour, colour and tannin extraction. The wine is bottled at the Casella Family Winery in Yenda, New South Wales.
Concentrated red berry fruit is complemented by subtle liquorice, sweet blueberry and subtle spice notes derived from the oak. Yellow Tail Shiraz is a youthful and vibrant red wine that displays red berry fruit flavours with hints of liquorice and spice. It’s soft and juicy on the palate with a lengthy and weighty finish. Enjoy this wine with a hearty steak.
Pinot Grigio is an Italian grape variety that grows very well in Australia’s warm climate, creating wines of not only great drinking, but excellent for matching with food. Enjoying Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio makes you feel like you’ve made a little trip to Italy – without the flight.
The fruit for Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio is harvested in the cool of night, and then pressed and clarified. Particular care is taken throughout this process to avoid oxidation. The clarified juice is fermented at low temperatures by a selected yeast strain to preserve fruit intensity and freshness. The cold storage of the wine maintains the youthful character until it is bottled.
Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio is delightfully fresh with aromas of pear, hints of green apples and a zing of citrus lime. This has a crisp, clean palate and features vibrant flavours of passionfruit, pear and apple. Serve lightly chilled with Asian-inspired share plates.
Glenisk, now Ireland’s number one yogurt brand (Source: Nielsen), has enjoyed growing success throughout 2019, not least with the introduction of its new GO20 range. This latest innovation from Glenisk, a high-protein yogurt and granola cup, delivers a healthy, high-protein offering to health-conscious consumers on-the-go. Adapting to the growing consumer demand for healthy convenience has been a key driver of the success for the brand, which has been producing premium Irish yogurt and milk from its production base outside of Tullamore, Co. Offaly for over 30 years.
Two flavours were launched to market initially – Natural 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with a Mixed Berry Granola and Vanilla 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with a Dark Chocolate & Coconut Granola. Such has been the success of the range that two additional flavours were subsequently added, with Vanilla 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with Caramel Chia Granola introduced in May and a no-added sugar Natural 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with a Mixed Seed Granola completing the range in September. The GO20 range can be found in both front-of-store and in the main fixture.
This high-protein yogurt (made using 0% Fat Irish Strained Protein Yogurt) and granola cup offers consumers the “magic” 20g protein per serving, making for an ideal complete meal on the go. As well as containing 20g protein per serving, GO20s are also gluten-free, nut-free, a source of fibre and 100% natural.
Food-first nutrition is at the heart of the Glenisk ethos – with nothing artificial, ever. Since 2016, Glenisk has been fuelling the performance of Irish Rugby as the Official Yogurt of Irish Rugby, including the Senior Men’s and Women’s squads as well as the Under 20s, Rugby 7s, Connacht and Munster teams, with its high-protein Irish Strained Protein Yogurt range and now with the new GO20 line.
Killowen Farm received the highest accolade of three stars for its Blackcurrant layered yogurt jar at this year’s Great Taste Awards which took place earlier this year. From almost 13,000 entries in the competition, just 208 three-star awards were made, ten of them going to entries from the Republic of Ireland and eight to producers in Northern Ireland. Killowen Farm is the only yogurt producer across Ireland and the UK to be awarded the three-star status for its Blackcurrant flavour which uses locally sourced blackcurrants.
Judges praised the Blackcurrant flavour and commented that “the flavours balance beautifully, the yogurt is full of superb dairy richness and the marriage of the two gives a full taste and overall a delightful experience.”
At Killowen Farm Wexford, award-winning live yogurt is made using milk from its own herd of happy cows. Killowen Farm uses only the finest natural ingredients, with no preservatives and no additives, for its delicious healthy yogurt. The basis of all the yogurts is its natural yogurt which is as natural as you can get. Made with milk and live cultures, its good bacteria help keep the digestive system working well.
Cali Cali launched to the market in September 2019 with a unique pop-up experience on Dublin’s Grafton Street. The two-day event saw the first 50 people to arrive on both days take home an exclusive Cali Cali hamper with a select range of products alongside Cali Cali and Gym + Coffee collaboration merchandise.
Cali Cali Foods is a real food snacking brand offering guilt-free and great-tasting crisps and sauces that prioritises mixing Californian street food flavours and Californian health benefits.
“Our business approach has seen us collaborate with some of Ireland’s favourite brands, which is such an exciting springboard for Cali Cali,” says Tom Gannon, co-founder of Cali Cali.
“From Permanent TSB inviting us to host the pop-up experience in its flagship bank, something that has never been done before, to collaborating with brands such as Manor Farm, Kerry Ingredients, Gym + Coffee, Strong Roots, Circle K Simply Great Coffee and more, it’s a launch to remember.”
For more information on the range, check out www.calicalifoods.com.
A winning whiskey
Writers’ Tears Double Oak was first released by Walsh Whiskey in May 2019 and has already turned heads, especially in the United States – the world’s largest market for whiskey where 50% of all Irish whiskey is sold. Today Writers’ Tears Double Oak has been confirmed in the United States as the only Irish whiskey to make the elite Whisky Advocate listing of the ‘Top 10 World Whiskey Releases of 2019’. The other nine included four Bourbon expressions, four Scotch and a Tennessee whiskey.
Writing for Whisky Advocate, Jonny McCormick’s citation for Writers’ Tears Double Oak reads: “Walsh Whiskey has rarely released better whiskeys than those of 2019, which included two expressions made in collaboration with the Legaret family of Deau Cognac. Here, they apply bourbon and French oak cognac barrels to the unique marriage of single pot still and single malt Irish whiskeys, arguably the most premium interpretation of the Irish blend. Aromas of dark berry fruit, cinnamon, fudge, milk chocolate, graham crackers, jellied fruit, and a smudge of dry spices. Compelling, well-structured whiskey with cinnamon, chocolate, dark toffee, pepper, and ginger; never cloying, nor overly sweet, just a richly rewarding glass.”
“This is high praise for our new core expression in the Writers’ Tears stable,” says Bernard Walsh, chief executive and co-founder of Walsh Whiskey. “It caps a great year for us which saw The Irishman Single Malt Single Cask 17 Year Old named Irish whiskey of the year, and we also loaned Martin Scorsese our logo to help him make his movie!”
Earlier this year, Writers’ Tears scored a double coup when the range was the only one in the world to have two expressions included in Whisky Advocate‘s highest-scoring 21 whiskeys reviewed out of 150 this autumn. Writers’ Tears Double Oak and Writers’ Tears Cask Strength (2019) were the only Irish whiskeys to make that list.
Writers’ Tears Double Oak is the third core expression in the Writers’ Tears range which includes the Copper Pot and Cask Strength versions. The wider Walsh Whiskey portfolio comprises of 16 expressions in the extended Writers’ Tears and The Irishman ranges.
Flipz is an ideal combination of golden crunchy and salty pretzels, smothered in a smooth and creamy chocolate coating delivering a fantastic taste and texture combo in every bite. The American favourite launched in Ireland in 2019 to huge success with a 2FM partnership and nationwide sampling campaign.
Flipz parent company Pladis Global is also responsible for spreading happiness with every bite through its flagship brand McVitie’s. Head of marketing, Niamh Twyford, is confident Flipz will recruit new and younger consumers into the biscuit category through its perfect combination of sweet and salty. With Flipz, there’s “no snackerifice!” There are four flavours now available: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, White Fudge and Salted Caramel. The sharing packs are the perfect treat for movie nights and lunchboxes alike and are selling at an RSP of €2.89.
Health at forefront
Popular biscuit maker McVitie’s has launched a new range of Oat Bakes in two fantastic flavours, Dark Chocolate & Almond and Cranberry. McVitie’s says health was at the forefront of design for these products, which have 35% less sugar than a typical oat biscuit. The products are also described as high in fibre and suitable for vegans. The product range is available nationwide and the RRP is €2.79.
Any way you like it
Ireland’s most popular milk brand*, Avonmore Super Milk is a delicious and nutritious milk packed full of Vitamin D, extra Calcium and added vitamins B, E and folic acid. New to the range is Avonmore Super Milk Fat Free 1L which was successfully launched earlier this year. It has all the benefits of Super Milk but without the fat.
Whether it’s Whole, Low Fat or Fat Free, just one 250ml glass of Avonmore Super Milk provides 100% of the EU’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin D and is a great source of calcium. Vitamin D is crucial for all ages, because it helps the body absorb calcium for healthy bones for life.
*(Source: Kantar, 100 Master Brands at Home, July 2019)