Frozen in motion
As the cost-of-living crisis continues, frozen food’s time is well and truly here. Over the years, manufacturers have been highly successful at conveying the message that the frozen category offers ‘freshness, frozen in’ and as such, its reputation for delivering on taste and nutrition at an affordable price point – not to mention, drastically reducing food waste - stands firm today
24 February 2023
When looking for healthy, long-lasting, convenient foods at affordable prices, shoppers know the frozen food aisle is the place to go. A category that evolves to align with the changing demands of the Irish market – frozen food plays an important role in the ongoing battle against food waste, and at a time when many people’s budgets are stretched, leading frozen food brands generate sales by delivering high-quality freshness at the right price.
Retailers know that this is not typically an area where shoppers impulse buy, so it is important that their frozen food section strikes the right balance between affordability and premium products.
Indeed, the latest statistics from Kantar on grocery price inflation show just how important the frozen category is an affordable source of nutrition and family mealtime options. According to Kantar, take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 5% in the four weeks to 23 January 2023, with grocery price inflation driving value sales growth rather than volume driving market growth. In January, average price per pack rose 14.6%, while volume per trip was down 13%, showing the challenges Irish shoppers are facing.
In the 12-week period to 23 January 2023, take-home grocery sales increased by 6.8%, with shoppers contributing an additional €211.8m to the overall market performance. As a result, shoppers spent an additional €90.50 per household year-on-year.
“The sector growth comes as grocery price inflation hit 16.3% – the highest level seen since Kantar started tracking grocery inflation,” said Emer Healy, senior retail analyst. “However, this does trail just behind Great Britain where inflation hit 16.7% after two months of slight decline. Irish households will now face an extra €1,159 on their annual shopping bills if they don’t change their behaviour to cut costs.”
Previous take-home grocery figures from Kantar have also demonstrated how frozen categories have specifically benefitted from shoppers keeping a close eye on their shopping spend as inflation grew. For example, during the four weeks to 17 April 2022, Kantar reported that sales of frozen pizzas had grown by 4.3%, as shoppers turned “to quick and easy meals now that many of us are back in the office and juggling school runs again”.
A 2022 report by Euromonitor on staple foods in Ireland also yielded some useful findings. According to Euromonitor, “key trends in 2022 have included the growing importance of sustainability, with manufacturers increasing their output of eco-friendly packaging and products that result in a lower carbon footprint.
“Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the interest in health and wellness increased in the country, and a growing amount of consumers are looking for products that benefit the body, including seafood, fruit and vegetables, as well as those with added benefits,” Euromonitor added.
Meanwhile, a 2021 UK-based report by Mintel which explored attitudes towards the frozen foods market, found that frozen food sales grew strongly in 2020 and for much of the first half of 2021 due to the Covid-19 restrictions shifting meal occasions to the home and consumers stockpiling long-life products.
Frozen food products with ethical certifications and labelling merit further explorations, as ethical claims are extremely rare in the frozen foods sector, Mintel reports. Innovation here would also help companies to tap into consumers’ increased ethical awareness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a need for more health-led NPD in the frozen foods category given consumers’ heightened health consciousness since the Covid-19 outbreak, Mintel adds.
Number one frozen potato brand
McCain is the number one frozen potato brand in Ireland* with over 25 products spanning across the category including Home Chips, Crispy French Fries and Jackets.
As a category leader, McCain is committed to offering delicious, planet-friendly food that helps Irish consumers celebrate every moment and real connections.
The frozen giant is passionate about creating a more sustainable future for all which is seen through 100% of the brand’s plastic packaging being ‘designed for recycling’, a promise of 100% regenerative agriculture by 2030 and by its mission to have zero waste to landfill and 100% potato utilisation by 2025.
McCain will continue to focus on sustainable business practices as well as highlighting the role of frozen food in combating food waste and will work with retailers to educate consumers on these benefits.
*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack, Value Share Total Frozen Potato MAT 1.1.23)
Catch of the day!
Donegal Catch, Ireland’s number one frozen fish brand for almost 40 years, is encouraging Irish households to choose Irish white fish this National Fish Week (20–26 February) and throughout the year.
Buying responsibly caught Irish haddock, whiting and hake from Donegal Catch supports Irish fishers and local fishing communities.
The brand is excited to reveal a new TV advert featuring fisher Frank McClenaghan from Greencastle in Co. Donegal explaining why fishing is important for local communities and the role sustainability plays in the Irish fishing industry. The new TV advert is on air since Monday, 6 February for four weeks as part of the National Fish Week campaign.
“I’ve been fishing for 14 years and come from a fishing family who have been fishing for three generations,” says Frank McClenaghan.
“Fishing is the heart of the Greencastle community and supports local families and businesses. As a Donegal Catch fish supplier. I’m delighted to work with them to highlight the importance of choosing Irish fish and the impact on Irish fishing communities.”
“We are encouraging Irish households to choose Donegal Catch Irish haddock, whiting and hake this National Fish Week,” added Aisling Twomey, Donegal Catch marketing manager.
“With people’s increasing desire to eat locally and sustainably caught fish, we are working closely with Irish fishers like Frank, to bring quality fish to Irish dinner plates,” she continued.
“Donegal Catch is the largest purchaser of white fish from the Irish catching sector and processes over 20% of Irish landed haddock and whiting. We recognise the role we play in the sustainable development of the Irish fishing industry, protecting our waters, and positively impacting our communities for generations to come. We’re thrilled with our new TV advert featuring Frank and delighted that it is going to air this year for National Fish Week.”
Supporting responsible fishing practices, Donegal Catch works closely with Irish fish suppliers to source the best quality fish, fully traceable back to the boat. For Irish haddock, whiting and hake, Donegal Catch is a key stake holder in the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) backed Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), which focus on improving the sustainability of these Irish fisheries. Donegal Catch procures 100% of its haddock, whiting and hake from Irish co-ops and fishers who are members of the Fishery Improvement Projects.
Last year, Donegal Catch extended its Irish white fish range with award-winning products such as Salt & Vinegar Haddock Bites and Chunky Hake. From family favourites Breaded Whiting and Breaded Haddock to Craft Cider or Pale Ale Battered Haddock, the Donegal Catch frozen fish range is versatile and conveniently prepared. Ready to pop in the oven from frozen for a delicious, healthy meal or snacking option in minutes to be enjoyed by all the family. Donegal Catch also has some great ideas for new recipes, along with top tips on how best to get more fish into your diet, to be found at www.donegalcatch.ie.
Winter warming dishes
Iceland Ireland’s exclusive Slimming World range has expanding once again to include seven tasty new dishes, perfect for getting 2023 off to a great start. The latest additions are available in-store and online now.
For customers looking to plan more of their meals in 2023, the new selection of exclusive Slimming World lunch bowls are guaranteed to leave shoppers’ tastebuds tingling. The ready meals are perfect for helping consumers to stay on track if they haven’t got the time to cook from scratch in the kitchen. Customers can choose from a range of options including the Slimming World Cajun King Prawn Pasta Lunch Bowl (€4.75, 400g). Iceland Ireland is also offering a bargain-busting two for €7 deal on Slimming World lunch bowls.
As the winter chill across the country continues, shoppers can also warm themselves up with Slimming World’s comforting soups, perfect for any cold day. Slimming World fans can choose from two, tasty new flavours including Slimming World Pearl Barley and Root Vegetable Soup (€3.25, 500g) and Slimming World Spanish-style Chicken Soup (€3.75, 500g).
For those who have pledged to cut down on takeaways this New Year, but are missing the foods they love, the Slimming World Quorn Biryani (€4.75, 400g), is a flavoursome meat-free choice.
Meals, meats and sides from Iceland Ireland’s Slimming World dishes can be cooked directly from frozen, in the oven or in the microwave, offering a hassle-free way for Slimming World members to enjoy the food they love while following their Food Optimising plan.
Plus, the recipes are all printed on the packaging so, if shoppers do find themselves with a bit of extra time, they can recreate the nutritious meals they enjoy at home for the whole family.
Quality Irish credentials
Established by the Cahill Family in 1986, Glenhaven has grown to become one of Ireland’s largest frozen food processors, specialising in coated, marinated, cooked, and raw frozen food for the retail and foodservice sectors. Trading initially out of a small factory in Avoca, Glenhaven quickly secured some strong accounts in the foodservice market, including Supermac’s, as well as numerous Irish and UK blue-chip retailers.
Ten years later, Glenhaven expanded to a purpose-built EU export approved factory in Arklow, Co. Wicklow. And in 2019, its factory doubled in size again, with the opening of a second state-of-the-art fully cooked facility.
Glenhaven now employs 180 people in Co. Wicklow and boasts four high speed production lines catering for both carton and bagged products, each delivering 1.5T per hour.
Glenhaven remains a 100% independent, Irish, family-owned business, run by brother and sister team Barry and Emma Cahill. Last year, Glenhaven began a complete rebrand across its range of SKUs, focussing on its Irish credentials. What’s more, the brand will be launching its first-ever above-the-line advertising campaign in early March.
Q&A with…brother and sister team, Barry & Emma Cahill, co-owners of Glenhaven
Q: Today more Irish consumers are shopping local and choosing Irish alternatives to imported foreign brands. How are you appealing to these shoppers?
A: “All of Glenhaven’s products are produced at our factories in Arklow, Co. Wicklow. And we are the only top three ranked frozen prepared poultry brand* that is produced here in Ireland. This is something that we have really focused on in our rebrand, calling out ‘Made in Wicklow’ on every pack and highlighting whenever the product is made with 100% Irish chicken breast. And there’s a feel-good factor for the customer when they purchase Glenhaven, because they know they are helping to support local Irish jobs,” says Barry.
Q: Why is Glenhaven such a trusted Irish brand?
A: Unlike the majority of our competitors, Glenhaven is a second-generation local Irish family business that’s been making great quality frozen chicken products for almost four decades. Our distinctive packaging enhances our quality message, building trust, while our family illustration and story adds a level of warmth to our brand that you just don’t see in this category.
Trust is something that Glenhaven provides on both fronts, our packaging promotes our family friendly brand, while our retailers can rest assured that all of our products are produced in our two state-of-the art EU export approved facilities in Arklow. Quality is a cornerstone of our business and many of our management and production team have been with us for decades, including many second-generation employees.
Q: You have recently rebranded and are launching your first ever above the line advertising campaign in early March. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new campaign?
A: “We put a lot of thought into making sure that our new brand demonstrated all the reasons to believe in Glenhaven. But it was our own family’s passion for the business that really inspired the new advertising campaign.” says Emma, who up until recently worked as an advertising creative in London. “I wanted to capture my family’s obsession with the business growing up, and then I thought about the bedtime stories my dad used to tell us, and the idea for Goldilocks and the Chicken Goujons was born.”
“The new brand tagline, ‘Come Home to Glenhaven’, our back of pack family story and the concept and scripts for the new TV and radio advertising campaign were all created and written by Emma. So, the family obsession with overseeing every aspect of the business is still very much alive,” says Barry.
Q: Glenhaven has heavily invested in the new rebrand and advertising campaign, what are your ambitions for the brand?
A: “Glenhaven has always been an Irish family favourite, but with this new investment, we really think the sky’s the limit for the Glenhaven brand. Currently 9% of grocery retail customers purchase Glenhaven regularly, whereas 36% of customers purchase the market leader regularly**. So, we believe there is huge potential for growth for our brand in the Irish market. We truly believe that Glenhaven will soon become the go-to trusted frozen food brand for Irish consumers and retailers.” says Emma.
Q: Do you have plans to launch any new products into the Irish market?
A: “Yes, Glenhaven’s NPD and sales teams are continuously developing new and innovative protein and plant-based products to anticipate ever-changing consumer trends. This year, we are launching a new Mini Chicken Ball into the Irish market, and last year we introduced a very successful and innovative shredded Irish beef product to the UK and Irish retail markets. Earlier this year, we also launched our first cheese bite product into the international Quick Service Restaurant sector, and we are currently working on launching five new cheese products into the UK and Ireland this year,” says Barry.
*(Source: Top Five Frozen Prepared Poultry Products Category of the Top 100 Brands 2022, produced in association with NielsenIQ)
**(Source: The Bord Bia Brand Health Check Survey for 2022)
Chicken With Attitude, the new retail range from Vista Foods, is fast becoming a household name on family menus throughout Ireland. The brand reports consumers are amazed at how good the Chicken Tenders and Popcorn pieces taste. This premium quality range is available in 500g family size bags in leading Tesco and Supervalu stores. Four variants are available, including Crispy Golden Tenders, Sizzler Hot & Spicy Tenders, Southern Style Tenders and Popcorn Chicken. Made from hand-cut inner fillets, they are fully cooked and ready from the oven in 15 minutes.
Currently stocked in Tesco, Supervalu, Centra and leading supermarkets countrywide, the range’s attractive duck egg blue bags scream ‘Premium Quality…Pick me up’. Chicken With Attitude’s difference is that it’s hand-cut whole chicken fillet.
In-store promotions and branded freezers are also available.
Birds Eye is adding a bit of magic to mealtimes with its core chicken range which includes Chicken Dippers, Nuggets, Fingers, Grills and the latest addition to the portfolio – Chicken Goujons.
Birds Eye has a strong integrated 360 plan in place across TV, online video, partnerships, social and shopper marketing to support its Southern Fried and Crispy Grills. Key to the campaign is showcasing the versatility of its Grills range, whether that’s a tasty working from home lunch or a convenient dinner – Birds Eye Chicken Grills will not disappoint!
2022 saw the launch of Birds Eye’s highly anticipated Chicken Goujons along with the tasty addition of the Salt & Pepper variant for those wanting an extra kick. This new extension to Birds Eye’s well-regarded portfolio taps into the growing in-home sharing occasion as well as a more adult offering.
With lots of exciting plans in place for 2023, there is a lot more to come from the Birds Eye brand.