It’s that time of year again when parents’ thoughts turn to getting the kids kitted out with all the various accoutrements needed to set them up for a new school year. Value will be more important than ever this year, while convenient nutritious choices in handy on-the-go formats and kid-friendly sizes will always be perennial winners for parents and carers who seek reassurance they are providing the best possible choices to fuel their kids throughout their school day, writes Gillian Hamil
28 August 2023
With the back to school season on the horizon once again, value will be more important than ever this year, set against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis.
As our readers will be only too well, it’s a vital period for retailers to highlight the value they can deliver for parents and carers. To give just one of many pertinent examples of this, Tesco Ireland recently announced that as families across Ireland gear up for the annual back to school stress, it is lending a helping hand by providing over €15.5 million worth of savings to almost 1 million households, with Clubcard statements packed full of money-back vouchers and coupons to help ease the costs associated with this period.
“We understand that after a summer of fun with our families, back to school can bring with it endless costs,” said Cathal Deavy, customer director, Tesco Ireland. “We’re working hard to help families where we can, earlier this year we cut prices on hundreds of products and this week Tesco Clubcard customers will receive their new statements which include an incredible €15.5 million worth of savings which we hope will go a long way to helping families this autumn.”
Another pressing concern for parents is the need to provide nutritious lunchbox options. According to Dr Elizabeth Finnegan, healthy eating executive with Bord Bia: “The most recent National Children’s Food Survey highlights that school children are still consuming well below the recommended five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day (three servings per day).
“This research corresponds well with the recent National Teen’s Survey which showed teens aged 13-18 years old are consuming less than three servings of fruit and vegetables a day and a recent Consumer Insights Fresh Produce Study by the Bord Bia Thinking House which also revealed that Irish people aged 18-34 are only eating 3.9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day on average. Thus, the need for continuous promotion of healthy eating and the benefits of increased fruit and vegetable consumption amongst the population is warranted.”
Of course, retailers have also played a key role in this goal, with specific initiatives to highlight the wide variety of healthy products in their stores. To help improve children’s diets, the government’s ‘The Food Dudes’ programme (www.fooddudes.ie) is an award-winning curriculum-linked evidence based healthy eating programme developed to encourage children to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Now entering its 17th school year, over 1.2 million school children have participated in the programme to date.
Speaking about the advantages of the initiative, Dr Finnegan noted: “Early intervention is key to behaviour change. The Food Dudes Programme has been shown to bring about significant change and improvements in school children’s eating habits. Our most recent evaluation conducted by researchers from the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre, UCD, found that the programme effectively increases provision and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables at home and in school both in the short-and long-term.”
A number of strongly performing brands within the Irish market likewise pride themselves on their focus on healthy credentials which can clearly be seen within these pages.
Avonmore Super Milk is a significant growth brand within the fresh milk category. Enriched with added vitamins D, B, E, extra calcium and folic acid, Avonmore Super Milk contains more of these important nutrients than fresh milk. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium from food and drink which is important for maintaining bone and muscle health and also helps support a healthy immune system.
Research shows that amongst children aged 5-12 years old in Ireland, approximately 37% are not consuming enough calcium and 94% are not consuming enough Vitamin D*. Available in 1.75L, 1L and 500ml sizes, Avonmore Super Milk is strongly supported throughout the year with TV, radio, digital, PR and trade activity and is a must stock item for the busy back to school period.
*(Source: IUNA 2018).
Mini but mighty!
Flahavan’s, Ireland’s favourite oat brand, is delighted to launch new Flapjack Minis, a highly anticipated addition to the hugely popular Flahavan’s Oaty Flapjack range. These delicious wholesome oaty snacks, baked with Irish oats in Co. Waterford, are half the size of the regular Flapjacks with the same great taste appeal.
Individually wrapped so they’re ideal as a lunchbox filler, Flapjack Minis contain less than 100 calories. Made with wholesome oats, they provide a tasty source of fibre. The range is available in two SKUs, Original (8 X 19g) and Choc Chip (8 X 19g).
Consumer reaction has been very positive with nine in 10* claiming they would be likely to purchase this product. Primarily driven by females and those with kids, however there is also high purchase intent amongst males and those without kids.
There are a number of factors which make this new product highly appealing. Firstly, a larger format portion size is sometimes not required. Minis’ smaller portion size and the fact they are individually wrapped is convenient. A delicious healthier snack; chocolate chips give Minis a tasty flavour while the use of oats and the low-calorie claim is deemed appealing.
The packaging is also appealing; Minis are ideal for time-pressed consumers as they’re individually wrapped in a resealable pouch. What’s more, while the range is perfect for kids, they are not seen as the sole consumer.
Overall, Flahavan’s is a trusted Irish brand with a strong reputation among shoppers.
*(Source: Bord Bia BITES research conducted June 2022)
Glenilen Farm has become the first Irish-owned company to introduce yoghurt pouches to the market. The family-owned West Cork food producer has launched a convenient and multifunctional range of yoghurt pouches for adults and children.
The brand carried out extensive research and found consumers were looking for nutritional yoghurts with multiple benefits. In response, Glenilen Farm developed a dual action range of products combining gut friendly kefir and 15g of protein in each 160g pouch.
Glenilen Farm Kefir Protein is available in strawberry and mango flavours. Its kefir is a fermented, spoonable yoghurt with 14 strains of live cultures. Consumers also have the option of choosing a larger 350g pot which contains 33g of protein.
The kids yoghurt pouches are designed to take the mess out of enjoying yoghurts on-the-go. They’re packed with gut-friendly cultures and are available in vanilla and strawberry.
Glenilen Farm began in the kitchen of Valerie and Alan Kingston’s home in Drimoleague in 1997. The husband-and-wife team made use of an abundant supply of milk creating cheesecakes and yoghurts for the local country market. The company now employs over 50 people, producing a wide variety of yoghurts using milk from neighbouring farms.
“We are really excited about our new kids yoghurt pouches,” Valerie Kingston said. “The pouch means it’s easier to enjoy on the go without the need for a spoon. It has a resealable cap which also helps to cut down on any unnecessary food waste. Our team is constantly looking at ways to innovate using simple, natural ingredients and our new range is backed up by research into what consumers want. We’ve also created pouches for adults and older teenagers, combining protein, an essential part of a healthy diet, with kefir.”
2023 marks the third year in a row in which Glenilen Farm has absorbed a large number of the rising costs facing its business, meaning its own price inflation has remained below 1% in that time.
“Food inflation is now at 14% which is a huge worry for families,” Valerie added. “The rising cost of groceries is having such an impact on people that we made a conscious decision not to raise our prices. Instead, we have absorbed the increasing commodity costs for the last three years. Many of the key yoghurt brands on the market continue to be imported from outside of Ireland; we hope that consumers will continue to buy local and support jobs.”
Making eating well easy
Green Farm is a tasty, cooked meat choice that is protein powered. As the chicken and turkey products are naturally high in protein, they provide a nourishing addition to any sandwich, salad, stir fry or snack. The Green Farm range comes in a variety of convenient formats. From slices and pieces to cooked fillets, there is a product to suit everyone’s lunchtime meal.
The latest development in the Green Farm brand is the recent launch of the award-winning Added Benefits range, providing consumers with a delicious high protein and vitamin enriched range of cooked chicken and turkey products, and with six in 10 people seeking out functional food to support their health and wellbeing, this launch couldn’t have come at a better time.
All products within the Added Benefits range are enriched with B Vitamins which have a multitude of health benefits for the human body and mind. Whether your customers are looking to support their heart, build up their immunity or fight fatigue, the Added Benefits range has everyone covered. Green Farm is the first in the cooked meat category to bring vitamin enriched foods to the shelves of Ireland, helping to make eating well easy for everyone.
Slice of life!
Going back to school is a busy time for families. Brady Family offers an assortment of proteins and formats to keep meals interesting, while making the hustle and bustle of everyday life a little bit easier.
Keep it traditional with succulent slices of Brady Family Carvery Ham. The Carvery range is made from the finest Bord Bia approved pork topside. Meanwhile, the Just Add range is the perfect dinnertime ingredient; this shredded ham is an excellent accompaniment for pasta, pizza, or salad dishes.
The Brady Family At the Delicatessen range offers delicatessen-quality ham, chicken and turkey readily carved for customers to simply grab-and-go. The Master Butcher Edition is a unique collection of dry aged hams to add to a charcuterie board when hosting or winding down in the evening.
New to the Brady Family brand is the Ultimate Slice range and At the Delicatessen Roast Chicken and Turkey. The Ultimate Slice offers a larger faced slice of ham, perfectly sized for sandwiches. With seven slices per pack, there’s one for every day of the week! Previously under the Homebird brand, the producer is delighted to introduce Irish raised Chicken and Turkey to the Brady Family brand, produced to the same multi award-winning recipe as Homebird.
Snack of choice
Celebrating 50 years in Ireland, Yoplait is the best snack of choice for parents managing busy households and back-to-school appetites. Generations of Irish school children have literally ‘grown up’ on their favourite Yoplait Fruit Yogurts, Yops, Petit Filous and Frubes which are still enjoyed in schools everywhere.
Conveniently available in a handy pouch, Mess Free Petit Filous is an excellent choice for little ones who might be enjoying their first school lunches this September.
Better still, parents will know that the Yoplait range is rich in calcium and vitamins in addition to being a creamy, great tasting source of protein. Additionally, Petits Filous small and big pots are now enriched with vitamin B6 and vitamin D, supporting your child’s immune system.
Check out the full Yoplait family at www.yoplait.ie to learn more about the best tasting snacks to keep your family going through the busiest of school days!
Only Denny will do!
Denny has been at the heart of Irish family homes for over 200 years; bought by two-thirds Irish households*. The Denny Deli Style Ham range is perfect for all lunchtime occasions, from school sandwiches to those work-from-home lunches. The brand takes great pride in helping ensure those lunchboxes are filled, and arrive home empty!
The Denny Deli Style Ham range is made from Irish Bord Bia approved meat, and includes a variety of formats and flavours such as carved, hand crumbed, honey roasted, oak smoked and wafer thin. When it comes to choosing sliced cooked meats this back to school season ‘Only Denny Will Do’.
*(Source: Kantar 05.23)
Turn up the heat!
Pringles has added Mexican Chilli & Lime flavour to its fiery Sizzl’N range. The new spicy flavour joins medium Kickin’ Sour Cream, Sweet Chilli, hot Spicy Chorizo and extra hot Cheese & Chilli.
The combination of juicy limes mixed with a kick of chilli heat is set to bring Pringles fans on a sensorial journey to Mexico. Aiming to push snacking fans’ taste buds to the limit, the new flavour delivers a yin and yang taste sensation with its citrus zing and fiery chilli.
The new flavour taps into the demand for spice and heat, with chilli and lime being one of the top growing flavours in the category.
The Pringles Sizzl’N range contains varying levels of heat, each building to satisfy all preferences. The range contains no artificial colours or flavours to deliver the ultimate taste sensation.
“Our fans have come to expect bold and exciting flavours from Pringles and the launch of Mexican Chilli & Lime is sure to deliver on this,” said Ann Rose Eng, brand activation manager, Pringles Ireland.
“The flavour is designed for those who like to explore new, adventurous tastes with a spicy twist. Our Sizzl’N range has been a huge success and we can’t wait to see what people think of this delicious addition.”
For those who want to step up the spice, Pringles Sizzl’N Mexican Chilli & Lime is available in supermarkets across Ireland for RRP €3.49*.
*(Pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer)
Savings available this new school year with Aldi’s lunch options
Back to school season is almost upon us! Shoppers can get ready for the new school term with Aldi’s Amazing School Event. In 160 Aldi stores nationwide, the retailer is confident customers will be able to find everything their little scholar needs to succeed this school year, from stylish stationery to lunchbox fillers and Specialbuys.
Little ones can be kept fuelled for their next big learning adventure with Aldi’s lunchtime Specialbuys which landed in stores on 13 August. Healthy snacks are essential for staying energised and focused throughout the day. Shoppers can pick up a Lunch To Go Container €3.99 to keep lunches fresh all day long. Pasta salads, sandwiches or hearty wraps – the options are endless! Aldi is also selling a vibrantly coloured Lunch Box, priced at €5.99 and Lunch Bag priced at €5.99. Meanwhile, for those who are keen to try out all the viral TikTok recipes, they can be stored in the Bento Box, also priced at €5.99. Available in a range of different colours, Aldi reckons this is sure to be the coolest lunchbox in the classroom, with multiple compartments for children’s favourite bites.
Healthy minds need hydrating! Parents can send the kids on their way with the 2.2 litre Barrell Bottle €4.99, perfect for active PE days. And let their imaginations run wild this school year with Sticker Drinkware €4.99, which includes a selection of stickers to personalise their bottles with. Check out Aldi’s top-class Stainless-Steel Drinkware €5.99, guaranteed to keep drinks cool from class to class.
A “one stop shop for all the back-to-school essentials this year”, Aldi is confident its range delivers “top marks on quality and value”. For more information on products and some back-to-school recipe inspiration, visit www.aldi.ie.