Whether time-pressured or simply lacking confidence in the kitchen, many Irish consumers are looking for convenient options, but are absolutely unwilling to settle for unhealthy stodge. Increasingly fast food does not mean food that has skimped on a nutrient-rich profile, as the latest category innovations demonstrate
14 April 2015
AT A GLANCE: CONVENIENCE FOODS
- Roast chicken is the nation’s favourite dish, with almost three-quarters of the population enjoying chicken at least once a week (Source: Bord Bia)
- Research shows most consumers eat spare ribs at social occasions and BBQs or as a Friday/Saturday night treat or ‘picky tea’ (Source: RibWorld Swift Research/Amarach Research May 2014)
- 95% of Irish households buy ham
- Carroll’s remains Ireland’s number one deli ham and is now the fastest growing brand in pre-packed ham (Source: Kantar, March 2015)
- The trend towards spicier food continues to grow, with hotter flavour variants now leading the growth in key markets such as table sauces (Source: Kepak Convenience Foods research)
More consumers are feeling time-scarce and view cooking as a chore, turning to convenient ready meals to free up more time for themselves. However to survive in an increasingly health-conscious society, research by market analyst Canadean shows ready meal manufacturers must innovate with new ingredients and premium products. Therefore while convenience is still driving sales of microwaveable meals, it is important to emphasise a range’s health credentials. Research shows that parents, those with busy jobs and young urbanites without traditional cooking skills are most likely to look for fast and convenient food preparation.
Ready to roast
Leading UK food company Moy Park, has developed the first roast-in-the-bag chicken product to use cutting edge thermoformed packaging technology. The state of the art packaging is a printed, sealed pack that can go straight into the oven.
The new ‘shelf to oven’ whole chicken product has been launched under the Moy Park Good Kitchen range, which was developed to target a growing market for added-value fresh chicken products. The roast-in-the-bag ‘ready to cook’ whole chickens are locally sourced and come in two flavours, Extra Tasty and Garlic & Herb.
“Our new roast in the bag range is the first retail ready, ovenable whole chicken product to use this innovative packaging technology,” explained Briege Finnegan, brand marketing manager, Moy Park.
“The packaging self-vents and enables the chicken to self-baste throughout the cooking process, which results in more succulent meat and an enhanced flavour. We developed the range to offer consumers a convenient shelf to oven roast in the bag chicken, making it ideal for those who don’t like touching raw meat or don’t have time to prepare a raw chicken from scratch. Due to the innovative nature of the packaging, the chicken browns in the pack without having to open it during cooking. The cooking juices are retained within the pack, which means consumers will be able to create flavoursome stocks and gravy.”
The Moy Park Good Kitchen Roast in the Bag range will be available from this month across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. RRPs are £5.00 / €6.00.
For more information on products and distribution, contact Michael Stewart at Moy Park on 07787775183 or email email@example.com.
For news and updates, visit www.moyparkchicken.com.
Mash it up!
Mash Direct is an independent, family owned farming and food production enterprise, which was launched by Martin and Tracy Hamilton in 2004 at their farm in Comber, County Down, close to the shores of Strangford Lough. Together with their sons, Lance and Jack, they have grown Mash Direct into a national household brand.
Producing over 40 convenient vegetable and potato dishes, ranging from traditional accompaniments like Mashed Potato to complete ready meals, Mash Direct has won a host of awards for its quality, innovative products including 14 Great Taste Awards to date as well as a recent Grocer New Product Award for the company’s Potato, Cheese and Onion Croquettes.
Dominant trends within the convenience category are increasingly focusing on health, convenience, provenance, quality, gluten free and of course price. Mash Direct has sought to meet the latest trends with the development of a new range of Vegetable Burgers because the company saw a clear gap in the market for a vegetable burger which celebrates the taste and texture of fresh, local vegetables with no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives, rather than merely being a ‘meat alternative’. In addition, the Mash Direct Vegetable Burger is a healthy, convenient, versatile, chilled product that can be cooked in the oven, on the pan or on the BBQ in only 10 minutes, whilst it is the only gluten free field-to-fork vegetable burger on the market. Finally, as the farmers, manufacturers and the brand, Mash Direct has no middlemen in its vertically integrated business model which reduces costs and allows it to offer its Vegetable Burgers at the lowest price possible.
Mash Direct is an innovative company that has always sought to stand out from the rest by constantly innovating new products and processes to stay one step ahead. With six generations of farming knowledge to draw upon, the team are experts in their field, choosing to grow specific, older heritage varieties of vegetables that are bursting with flavour. As the farmers, Mash Direct has complete traceability from seed to the final product.
Bespoke steam cookers ensure the taste, texture and nutritional benefits naturally inherent in every vegetable are retained, whilst all of the company’s products are gluten-free and free from any artificial flavourings, preservatives or colourings. This focus on provenance, quality, price and continual innovation has turned Mash Direct into a national household brand, which it believes sets it apart from the competition.
For the sixth consecutive year, Mash Direct has secured A+ BRC accreditation which is the highest standard of hygiene and food safety.
Slow cooked to perfection
RibWorld was acquired by M&M Walshe and operates as part of the family-run business; located in Fethard, Co. Tipperary on a 95,000 sq ft BRC ‘A’ grade site. The plant received over a €5m investment which reflects the pride, passion and commitment put in by the Walshe family. RibWorld is an established premium brand with a growing portfolio of consumer offerings to meet different usage occasions. The portfolio includes Pork Ribs, Pork Tenderloin and Pulled Pork, along with Pulled Beef and Beef Brisket. RibWorld products are all fully cooked using a method called sous-vide which means that they are ‘slow cooked to perfection’, retaining all the moisture and flavour.
Michelle Walshe, director, comments: “Consumers are looking for premium restaurant quality foods which are easy to prepare and serve at home, but ultimately deliver on taste. The results speak for themselves with RibWorld BBQ Spare Ribs winning Gold at Great Taste and Silver at Blas na hEireann. Research* shows most consumers eat spare ribs at social occasions and BBQs or as a Friday/Saturday night treat or ‘picky tea’. I believe there is huge opportunity in the sous-vide category, through the growth of usage occasions, in which RibWorld will continue to lead innovation in 2015.”
RibWorld Pork Tenderloin is a succulent tender fillet slow cooked to retain all the moisture. A versatile product, it’s easy to portion with no waste which makes it ideal for a family meal occasion. The range is available in three flavours: BBQ, Piri Piri and Hoi Sin.
The rising trends in street food and hand held on-the-go have made BBQ pulled pork popular. RibWorld fully cooked pulled pork allows consumers to re-create the popularised food at home with ease, re-creating pulled pork sliders, and pulled pork burritos.
RibWorld strives towards driving innovation in the category and maximising growing food trends to continue to grow the category in 2015. Convenience is a key trend it is seeing with shoppers demanding that convenience stores get even more convenient. Based on its research, RibWorld has developed a new product about to come the market, RibWorld Two Rib Rack Twin pack; ideal for an individual main meal or as a starter portion for a couple. This targets consumers who are busy professionals and who on the way home, are looking for a tasty, easy to prepare meal which is ready in minutes in the microwave or oven. The product is ideal for any convenience store or small supermarket, packed 10 per box in shelf ready packaging.
Denis Kelly, International Sales manager comments “Retailers and suppliers need to help educate the consumer as to different usage occasions for products and as to how simply it is to produce exciting meals in just 20 minutes, inspire them how easy it is to cook and consume products in the home all year.” RibWorld is a real family favourite, offering convenience and versatility, which the company believes is a must–stock brand for any retailer in a seriously growing market.
For more information, contact Denis Kelly at RibWorld on 052 6132374 or visit www.ribworld.ie.
*(Source: RibWorld Swift Research/Amarach Research May 2014)
A really easy solution
Irish chicken producer Manor Farm has introduced a new cook-in-bag whole chicken to its range; Really Easy Chicken. The innovative sealed packaging means there is no need for the consumer to handle the chicken until it is cooked fully.
The ready to roast chicken requires almost no preparation. To roast a whole chicken, the packaging simply needs to be pierced once and then placed in a preheated oven as per the cooking time on the label. Once cooked, the chicken is juicy and succulent.
“A lot of people lack the confidence to roast a whole chicken. Really Easy Chicken is a convenient and safe way for people to enjoy roast chicken at home,” says Vincent Carton, managing director of Manor Farm.
Roast chicken is the nation’s favourite dish according to a Bord Bia report. Almost three-quarters of the population enjoy chicken at least once a week. The ready to roast cook-in-bag chicken will be available in selected butchers and retailers from the end of March onwards.
Ireland’s oldest family owned chicken producer has also been working behind the scenes to redesign the Manor Farm brand. Manor Farm’s entire product range, along with everything from its fleet of delivery trucks to livery, now carries the new design.
“The Manor Farm logo is recognised as a symbol of quality throughout Ireland. The Carton family remains passionate about producing chicken of the highest quality. Redesigning our brand is helping us to stand-out and to reconnect with our customers,” says Vincent Carton.
Based in Shercock, and with more than 800 employees, including more than 200 chicken farmers, Manor Farm has been producing Irish chicken since 1775.
Give peas a chance!
Convenience food brand Cully & Sully has teamed up with the Grow It Yourself (GIY) campaign and wants consumers to ‘Give peas a chance’ and get growing at work.
The company is throwing down the gauntlet and asking consumers to get a team of budding growers together and take its Desktop Food Growing Challenge.
The winning team will get vouchers for Ballymaloe House & Cookery School worth €1,500
which can be used to lounge about or learn to cook, and best of all they also get to donate a community garden worth €3,000 to a cause of their choice, such as a local hospice, school or care home.
For more details, log onto www.cullyandsully.com/ourgarden and get growing. #givepeasachance
Making life easier
Carroll’s has a long history of producing the finest Irish hams in the heart of Ireland, in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Established in 1979 using genuine traditional family recipes, Carroll’s has built up a reputation for quality and taste and is now established as one of Ireland’s most trusted family brands. With over 35 years of business experience behind them, Carroll’s is used to riding the tide of new trends, changing customer demands and the changing shopping patterns of the modern consumer.
Karen Hanley, marketing manager, Carroll Cuisine, explains what the company sees as important emerging trends within convenience foods. “Busy families and busy individuals, means a change in the way customers are shopping. Emerging trends such as ease of use and more convenient pack sizes allow customers to buy what they want when they need it. An increased desire for the healthy option is steadily becoming more prominent in the convenience food category, this is most obvious in the lunch and snacking categories where customers like to have the choice of going for a healthy option.”
She explains what makes Carroll’s different in a market where 95% of Irish households buy ham. “What sets us out from the rest is that we continue to use traditional family recipes, that produce a Carroll’s ham which is carefully nurtured, hand-crafted using only the highest quality pork and slow cooked for a better taste. We clearly are doing something right as Carroll’s is still Ireland’s number one deli ham and is now the fastest growing brand in pre-packed ham.” (Source: Kantar, March 2015)
“Carroll’s is always adding new and exciting additions to our ranges of products whether it is new ham products and flavours or exciting new ready meal dishes,” adds Hanley. “We have a strong history of innovative new product launches, satisfying consumer demand for excellent products. In the past six months alone we have seen many new additions to the Carroll’s brand. It is exciting times for the brand at the moment with lots of plans that have been in motion for a number of months about to be launched.”
Hanley concludes by giving an insight into what she thinks what we can do in store to drive further convenience sales. “Customer’s love choice, flexibility and new and exciting ranges. We want to give the customers what they want by giving more space to the everyday favourites that the shopper always buys, and to delight the shopper by giving them enough choice. It is important that we satisfy the customer demand for trying something new by being daring and mixing things up on occasion by adding limited edition lines and new products that show that we understand and listen to what our customers want.”
Turning up the heat
Kepak Convenience Foods, Ireland’s leading supplier of micro snacks, is tapping into the consumer trend for hot and spicy food with the launch of a limited edition Rustlers Hot and Kicking range.
With the two new SKUs, the Rustlers Chipotle BBQ Hotdog and Rustlers Habanero Chilli Burger, shoppers can expect an added kick from two Rustlers classics.
The Habanero Chili Burger adds a spicy Habanero Chilli sauce to the classic Rustlers burger, while the Chipotle BBQ Hotdog offers a twist on a convenience favourite with a Chipotle BBQ sauce.
“Our Limited Edition Hot and Kicking range adds a spicy kick to two Rustlers favourites, giving people the chance to enjoy a little extra heat in a substantial and filling hot snack,” says Kepak Convenience Foods’ marketing director, John Armstrong.
“We have no doubt that these new variants will prove popular with consumers looking for something a little different from their favourite micro snack, whilst giving retailers a unique offering that will generate incremental sales for their hot, quick and tasty fixture.”
Research undertaken by Kepak has highlighted that the trend towards spicier food continues to grow, with hotter flavour variants now leading the growth in key markets such as table sauces.
The launch comes after the company recently announced a multi-million euro investment to double sales in the convenience channel in the next three years, with TV advertising, NPD, major on-pack activity and a new look for the Rustlers brand all in the pipeline for 2015.
Telephone: 003531 8822 400
A little slice of magic
Goodfella’s has announced a new link-up with Disney and the imminent launch of a new, healthier, pizza range under its new Littlefella’s brand.
Pizza is hugely popular as it’s convenient and tasty. It is also a fact however, that consumers are looking for healthier pizza options. This is especially the case for mums who are looking to find quick and convenient meals for the family that are as healthy as possible but that she is sure everyone will enjoy.
With this clear insight, Goodfella’s and Disney have collaborated on developing a range of more permissible frozen pizzas that families can be sure are just as tasty as their current favourites. The brand says mums and kids have given the products’ taste a resounding thumbs up in consumer research. Meanwhile the use of healthier ingredients (e.g. hidden vegetables, low fat mozzarella) allows the range to deliver one of your five-a-day and be a source of fibre – attributes mums confirm are key drivers of purchase. Independent nutritional analysis has also shown that the new Littlefella’s range delivers fewer calories, less fat and less salt than a standard pizza – thus making it easier for mum to give her family the food she knows they enjoy.
In addition to the tasty and more permissible product offering, the partnership with Disney leverages favourite characters from three of Disney’s most loved and popular franchises across the range to maximize relevance for all families: Frozen (Enchanted Chicken pizza) for girls; Star Wars (Meatball Meteor pizza) for boys and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Cheeky Cheese and Tomato pizza) for kids of all ages. With every pack also offering an engaging game inside, the new Littlefella’s range is set to make family mealtimes even more fun.
The launch will be supported by a heavyweight multi-channel (TV, digital, PR and retailer activation) campaign from May to July while the range will also benefit significantly throughout 2015 with the much awaited releases of a new Frozen short film (in cinemas from 13 March) and the new Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens (in December 2015); events the Goodfella’s team will also leverage to drive even greater awareness.
Sharon Whelan, marketing manager for Goodfella’s Ireland said: “The new Goodfella’s Littlefella’s range is part of our ambition to make frozen pizza easier for even more people to enjoy. With its better nutritional values versus a standard frozen pizza offering, mum can be confident that she is making a healthier, yet just as tasty, choice for her family. And with the release of the new Frozen short film at the same time as the range launches in March, this is surely a sales opportunity that retailers can’t afford to ‘let (it) go’.”
The Goodfella’s Littlefella’s pizza range is a national launch and will be available from 16 March with a RRP of €2.49.
Olga Mulvey, category controller, IOI Meats, Denny
Olga Mulvey explains why Denny’s felt there was a demand in the Irish marketplace for its new Henry Denny’s Grill Fire & Smoke range
We have taken inspiration from the pitmaster craft of the American Deep South to create Fire & Smoke, our new sensational premium crafted flavoured meat. Good food is made to be savoured and there’s not enough opportunity for people to do this in the current pre-packed meats aisle. There’s a lack of excitement, a feeling of commoditisation and a real need for re-invigoration in the category. At Kerry Foods, we have identified an opportunity to shake it up and develop an innovative, flavoursome product that will create disruption in the market. The pre-pack range comprises of seven new flavours and two game-changing deli counter propositions. The prime rustic joints are cooked low and slow, then fire grilled and seared over crackling flames and finally smoked over oak wood chips for a distinctive full on flavour.
Why do you believe the demand for a new premium meats brand exists in Ireland?
We absolutely believe that there is a demand amongst consumers. Cooked meats is a high penetration and stable household category, however when we speak to consumers there is a feeling of “sameness” within the category. It is shopped on autopilot and offerings currently in the market are more traditional in nature. Consumers’ tastes are evolving and demand is high for great tasting quality products. With the launch of Henry Denny’s Grill Fire & Smoke, we are planning on shaking up the cooked meats aisle, to make it a destination and drive growth back into the category.
Fire & Smoke will offer a taste sensation through its unique cooking methods, flavours and variants which will entice a younger consumer to the brand and to the category in general.
How extensively are you investing in marketing the new brand and what will the campaign involve?
The integrated campaign spans multiple channels above and below-the-line including a new TV ad, outdoor and proximity media, digital including a new website and social media channels. There will be focused in-store activity with disruptive point of sale. A creative PR campaign will lead a heavyweight sampling and experiential programme at key festivals and events throughout 2015.