Convenience is King!

Convenience foods have come a long way in recent years
Convenience foods have come a long way in recent years

Quick and easy options are vital for consumers with fast paced lives, but that no longer means giving up healthier options. Quality ingredients at the right price, in the right place, are what modern shoppers are seeking.


Brand Central

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16 May 2019

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Consumers’ hectic, fast-paced lifestyles have made quick and easy options an obvious choice. It would be quite wrong to think this means they are prepared to settle for lower-quality, processed foods however. Quality ingredients with the right provenance in formats that suit their time-crunched lives are what’s in demand, writes Gillian Hamill

In recent years, convenience food – encompassing prepacked snacks and meals – has undergone a transformation and moved into a realm where its health credentials are among its USP. According to research undertaken by The Thinking House/Bord Bia, the snacking category within Ireland was valued at €3.38 billion in 2016, with an estimated growth of 5% to €3.58bn by 2021. A huge 90% of shoppers are increasingly health-conscious however and want to enjoy great-tasting snacks without the guilt of traditional indulgent products.

While health is now a major consideration for consumers in terms of snacks and everyday mealtimes, they remain unwilling to compromise on flavour, meaning manufacturers have taken a great leap forward in working with quality ingredients and recipes, while maintaining that ease of preparation and serving, using a microwave or otherwise.

In short, convenience no longer means sacrificing nutrition and health at mealtimes, and the leading brands as well as some innovative newcomers have worked hard to ensure they are helping consumers achieve their health goals. This extends to the vegan sector, which has undoubtedly been boasted in recent times, thanks to the likes of ‘Veganuary’ and its popularity with social media influencers, who have gained fans in their droves by presenting colourful spreads with the vibrant health credentials to match.

Get the best!

John West has always been a trusted family name, synonymous with quality everyday fish. At John West, the company strives to reach loyal customers while appealing to new consumers by launching innovation that is not only tasty and convenient but is also relevant to consumers’ active healthy lifestyles.

When customers are looking for solutions and inspiration to get a protein rich snack that fuels their active healthy lifestyle or even their sport training, fish can be a great natural alternative.

According to Sarah Keogh, John West’s consultant dietitian and nutritionist: “Fish is a great source of natural protein, one of the most important nutrients we need during training. Protein not only helps to build muscle, it also helps to maintain the muscle you have. Tuna is a fantastic source of natural protein, and salmon also provides a good intake.”

Innovations such as John West Infusions and Creations make it easy for consumers to eat fish twice a week, as recommended by the healthy eating guidelines. The company’s latest innovation is the new John West No Drain Tuna Fridgepot. This a new format for John West’s No Drain tuna, that makes it even easier for active customers to get a natural protein snack into their training diet. Simply peal it, reseal it and pop it in the fridge! The brand’s tagline is therefore extremely apt: ‘Get the best out of John West!’

Innovative additions

The Goodfella’s Vegan Vegetable Salsa pizza is a range extension to the brand’s hugely successful Goodfella’s stone baked Vegan Falafel pizza which was launched in April 2018.

On the back of its initial Falafel launch, Goodfella’s knew its range extension had to be exciting and offer a different proposition to the falafel product. Given the now mainstream nature of vegan products, it was critically important for the company to create a product that offers stand-out on shelf and delivers on quality. Consumer insight suggested that Goodfella’s next range extension should contain vegan cheese, therefore, through extensive product development and supplier collaboration, Goodfella’s has launched a Mexican-style vegan pizza, which delivers an exceptional taste.

Goodfella’s Deep Pan Pizza, the original frozen pizza, has relaunched with new and improved recipes on Cheese and Pepperoni coupled with new exciting variants which tap into younger audiences and their preferences. These include Goodfella’s Cheesy Beef (delivering a “burger” flavour sensation), Meat Feast (a mix of pepperoni, ham and salami for all those meat lovers) and Spicy Chicken Sizzler (for those who like a spicy kick to their pizza). All in all, delicious Italian American style pizza from the original frozen pizza people.

Snacking revolution with explosive impact

Global sports nutrition brand Grenade is exploding into Ireland as part of its ‘Snacking Revolution’, set to help redefine the way people think about healthy eating and show there are healthy snacking alternatives that help curb the craving without having to compromise on taste and indulgence. Snacking is a major category within Ireland and was valued at €3.38 billion in 2016, with an estimated growth of 5% to €3.58bn by 2021*. However, an increasing number of shoppers (90%**) worry about what they eat and want great tasting snacks without the guilt of traditional indulgent products. With shoppers demanding more choice than ever, Grenade keeps its product range fresh and engaging with innovative product flavours and pack formats. It began its Snacking Revolution campaign in Birmingham back in January and is now reaching Ireland to showcase its awardwinning range of Carb Killa spreads, shakes and bars, including punchy new flavours Dark Chocolate Raspberry and White Chocolate Salted Peanut.

All bars contain up to 23g of protein and less than 2g of sugar per bar, triple layered with nougat, caramel and real Belgian chocolate. For more information on the Grenade product range, visit

*(Source: The Thinking House/Bord Bia – Snacking Today in Ireland and UK 2018)
**(Source: The Thinking House/Bord Bia – Snacking Today in Ireland and UK 2018)

New vegan venture

Mash Direct, the award-winning vegetable side dish producer is going from strength to strength with the launch of a new vegan range in light of the booming veggie and plant-based food market.

In 2013, Mash Direct became 100% gluten-free in response to the rise of gluten intolerances. Now, with the demand for vegan products, Mash Direct is taking the lead in the vegetable accompaniments sector and has created a vegan range which is now ready to hit the shelves. Mash Direct’s Vegan Mashed Potato and Vegan Carrot & Swede are made using homegrown heritage varieties of vegetables that are steam-cooked to retain the flavour and nutritional content of the vegetables. With 100% natural ingredients, the company’s new range offers health and convenience without compromising on taste, quality and nutrition.

“At Mash Direct, we are always looking for fresh ways to innovate and create new eating and buying experiences,” says Jack Hamilton, chief operating officer at Mash Direct. “We recently eradicated palm oil from our entire range and have removed black plastic from our packaging in a bid to improve our environmental footprint.”

As a family business, the personal touch is very important to Mash Direct. This passion throughout the company has led to exceptional service levels and innovation which sets Mash Direct apart in the marketplace. With vegan diets skyrocketing, it is great to see Mash Direct making veggies easier to enjoy and more accessible and convenient for the everyday consumer.

The Vegan range is now available to buy from Mash Direct’s new food distributor, Europa Foods, which can be reached via email: and over the phone at 01 4011733. Each 200g pack retails at €1.29.

Making coffee make sense

Great coffee doesn’t need to be complicated – when out and about, customers want simple, quality coffee which is quick and easy too. The team at Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC) has a great head for business, switched on to the great revenue potential of freshly ground coffee to-go paired with sensible solutions to help forecourt businesses run as smoothly as its coffee tastes.

The coffee to-go market is still growing, and customers are on the lookout, with 57% of forecourt shoppers saying it’s their main reason for visiting. For forecourt, that means stores need a highly visible, branded solution that delivers on quality and margin. Offering a brand that serves the most popular range of coffees will help compete with high street chains and can boost sales in other categories too. Pairing coffee with other food-to-go products is the perfect way to drive incremental sales with every visit.

Seattle’s Best Coffee believes in keeping things simple, always offering freshly ground coffee with fresh milk to match, sold through easy-to-use machines which are easy to install too; smoothly does it. There’s no complex revenue model or profit sharing, and SBC has sensible servicing arrangements too, flexible and perfectly suited to forecourts.

In Ireland, SBC is sold through Aryzta directly to BWG, as it was looking for a solution to enhance the quality of its coffee and maximise sales. Over a two-year period, Seattle’s Best Coffee solutions were introduced into more than 250 stores by Aryzta. Consumers could now choose from a selection of specialty coffees and sweet bakery products, promoted by high profile point-of-sale (POS) materials and link deals.

Hot beverage sales have increased by 20% since the launch, with one in five customers also purchasing bakery products – proving the opportunity Seattle’s Best Coffee represents.

At SBC, the company is keen to recognise forward-thinking forecourt managers, and that’s why this year, the business is delighted to sponsor the Best Forecourt Manager of the Year Award at ShelfLife’s Grocery Management Awards 2019.

Conquer your own Everest

Irish brand Everest Snacks recently launched its new range of protein bars, at Trinity Sports Campus, Dublin, as part of its ‘Reach Your Peak’ event, MC’d by successful Irish influencer Niamh Cullen. “We’re very proud to be an Irish-owned company who source Irish ingredients and who truly want to provide the best for its customers,” Tighe adds. “My personal Everest is to take this Irish brand to new heights in global markets beyond Ireland, and build an Everest community from motivational events like this in the future.” In 2018, the company added a protein pot to its granola product range, the first of its kind on the market and while it’s high in protein, it’s only 250 calories, and delivers as an enriched satisfying snack while also providing a higher level of protein for those seeking a functional snack post workout.

The company’s new Porridge Quickies are also available across Ireland and contain a serving of crunchy toppings that can be mixed into the porridge, to create a more satisfying breakfast snack. There are currently two flavours available, porridge with chia seeds, almonds and dark chocolate pieces, and porridge with coconut strawberry, cranberry and blueberry. Since 2014, Everest Snacks has grown its single product offering to a variety of products across the range. The future looks exciting for this young, Irish brand.

Great news for chip connoisseurs

Meade Potato Company, the Irish family farm business with a passion for potatoes, is making it even easier to have chip shop style chips at home. After years of supplying the foodservice channel, the Meade family has introduced its Chunky Chips and Skinny Fries to retailers nationwide. Using only specially selected premium chipping potato varieties, the ‘Prep Less Live More’ range does the peeling and chopping and leaves the seasoning up to the consumer’s preference. The two variants come in 500g packs, in a case size 10, and serve two people.

These new products are backed by Meade’s long history in the potato industry and the company’s commitment to producing the best products on the market, with sustainability at the core of everything it does. With a CV that includes being the first company to ship potatoes abroad by the boatload and one of the first in the industry to wash potatoes back in the 1980s, the Meade family has a deep understanding of the potato market and is confident that these products will boost retailers’ ready-to-cook fresh cut chips sales (with category growth of 45% year-on-year, according to Mintel 2019).

Since entering the branded produce market, Meade Potato Company has experienced very strong 54% year-on-year growth (Source: Kantar, March 2019). Whether paired with a succulent steak or grilled fish, convenience and flavour combine to create a homemade chip without the hassle.




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