In an era when both health and wellness and environmental concerns are increasingly important for many consumers, leading frozen food brands are continuing to generate sales by delivering taste and nutrition, at the right price
18 February 2020
Ireland’s frozen food category is thriving, through a combination of innovation in technology and responding to consumer expectations. The leading brands, providing ready meals, pizza, vegetable sides and other snacks alongside desserts and more, are often household names in Irish aisles with sales figures to back them up.
In tandem with this popularity, frozen foods have evolved over recent years. Increased quality ingredients as well as improved health benefits mean that the convenience of frozen foods – especially in a family scenario – do not come with a cost to healthy eating.
However, frozen foods are traditionally not an area where impulse purchases are made; visibility and promotion is key in order to drive sales, and so retailers should be up on what innovations and new products are available in the category.
According to a recent report by Euromonitor Ireland entitled ‘Ready Meals in Ireland’, published in November 2019, value sales of ready meals are being boosted by a greater choice of different cuisines.
Rising awareness of quality
“Ireland’s improving economic climate continues to have a positive impact on sales of ready meals,” Euromonitor reports. “Many consumers continue to seek the convenience of ready meals more often,” the analyst adds, “although there is still rising awareness about the quality of the ingredients, particularly meat, used in ready meals.”
Euromonitor also points out that amid health and wellness concerns, “manufacturers of chilled and frozen ready meals recorded significant gains in Ireland in 2019 by emphasising their products’ fresh and nutritious ingredients and the absence of artificial preservatives or colourants to attract consumers’ interest”.
Private label also maintains a strong value share in ready meals in Ireland, according to Euromonitor, benefiting from significant ongoing investment. For example, Dunnes Stores recently launched its private label range of Indian ready meals, manufactured by Bombay Pantry.
Euromonitor likewise examined ‘Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in Ireland’, in a report published in August 2019. This reports that low-calorie ice cream continues to emerge in Ireland following the disruptive arrival of Halo Top in the country in early 2018. “Sales of frozen yoghurt are seeing very little change in both value and volume terms,” states Euromonitor. “What was a booming market may have just been a passing fad, overshadowed by rising demand for low-calorie and dairy-free ice cream.”
The personalisation trend is growing in ice cream and frozen desserts in Ireland, according to Euromonitor. For example, the online shop for Culcow, an Irish brand of hand-made ice cream, allows the customer to personalise the tub of ice cream that they purchase before it is delivered in dry ice.
Mintel also recently published a study examining the “reinvention” of frozen and chilled food. According to Katya Witham, global food & drink analyst at Mintel: “Frozen and chilled categories are on the path of reinvention in many countries globally, with many brands working on new strategies that allow them to revive and to premiumise their ranges. While the demand for convenience remains strong, consumers of chilled and frozen products are increasingly looking for additional attributes like healthy, natural, customisable or ethical.”
Witham’s report reached three main conclusions; the first of which highlighted the opportunities that exist to engage millennials. “There are opportunities,” she said, “to market exciting, more premium chilled and frozen foods to younger consumers who consider themselves to be ‘foodies’ and expect constant engagement with food brands through new and exciting launches, quality ingredients and sensory stimulations.”
Witham also highlighted the importance of stepping up to the ethical plate. “With the rise of ethical consumerism, especially among younger consumers,” she said, “both chilled and frozen food manufacturers should address important environmental concerns such as food and packaging waste, animal welfare or ethical sourcing.”
Thirdly, she highlighted the benefits of implementing a modern take on frozen. “Frozen food has a chance to reattract consumers, who in recent years have gravitated to the perimeter/fresh areas of the store,” Witham reported, “by providing them with enticing new offerings that can not only become convenient meal solutions, but also engage with them on multiple levels.”
Readers can download the full report by Katya Witham at www.mintel.com/frozen-chilled-foods-reinvention.
Reducing food waste
Another advantage of frozen foods, in an age where sustainability is a growing concern for many consumers, are the advantages the category offers in terms of helping people to cut down on their food waste.
Wrap, the UK not-for-profit organisation which works to help businesses implement sustainable packaging, has highlighted the importance of consumers’ reducing their food waste at home. “We are in a new decade,” said Marcus Gover, Wrap CEO, “and have just ten years if we are to honour our international commitment to halve food waste. This really matters because it is untenable that we carry on wasting food on such a monumental scale when we are seeing the visible effects of climate change every day, and when nearly a billion people go hungry every day.
“We are starting to wake up to the reality of food waste,” added Gover, “but we are too often turning a blind eye to what is happening in our homes. We are all thinking about what we can do for the environment and this is one of the most simple and powerful ways we can play our part. By wasting less food, we are helping to tackle the biggest challenges this century – feeding the world whilst protecting our planet.”
Vegan pizza? Yeah, we go to town on it!
In 2019, Chicago Town Pizza re-launched with a masterbrand campaign celebrating its Chicago-inspired roots, unique bases and the gooey, messy goodness of the brand. Chicago Town pizzas are enjoyed by pizza lovers across the country and the brand recently launched the first vegan addition to its Takeaway range of frozen pizzas, a ‘Saucy Vegan’.
The gooey messy goodness of Chicago Town’s Stuffed Crust range can now be enjoyed by vegans and flexitarians. The new ‘Saucy Vegan’ features Chicago Town’s unique rising takeaway dough, topped with juicy peppers and onions, loaded with jackfruit in a sticky BBQ sauce and finished off with tasty, dairy-free mozzarella.
With approximately 13%* of Ireland’s population identifying as vegans, vegetarians or ‘rebalancers’ (meat reducers), Chicago Town believes everyone should have the chance to indulge in one of its stuffed crust takeaway pizzas. The Chicago Town ‘Saucy Vegan’ Sticky BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (25cm) joins the popular Stuffed Crust Takeaway range alongside the Classic crust, Tiger crust, Deep Dish, and Thin & Crispy ranges.
The new Chicago Town Saucy Vegan Pizza is currently stocked in Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Iceland Foods Ireland.
*(Source: The Thinking House/ Bord Bia’s – Dietary Lifestyle Report – Nov 2018)
Bursting with flavour
With under 450 calories per pizza, Dr. Oetker Momenti is ideal for health-conscious and time-strapped professionalsDr. Oetker continues to bring innovations to the frozen pizza category in 2020. The new Momenti sub-brand launched last month, is a unique single serve, portion-controlled pizza (under 450 calories). Momenti currently has a range of two products – Tomato, Pesto & Mozzarella and a Salami Calabrase variant. This pizza innovation targets health-conscious consumers, individuals who live in single households and busy, time-strapped working professionals. The pizzas are positioned as the perfect solution for a quick lunch, dinner for one or hot snack on-the-go.
The Dr. Oetker Momenti range is currently stocked in Tesco, Dunnes Stores and BWG.
Meanwhile, Dr. Oetker’s ‘Yes it’s Pizza’ has been reformulated to be a fully vegetarian offering. Consumers can now enjoy the unique thin and crispy vegetable dough pizza that’s bursting with colour and flavour. The fully vegetarian range includes a Beetroot version, featuring a beetroot-infused crust topped with grilled zucchini, cheese, red onion, yellow and green peppers, and a Spinach version with a spinach-infused crust with broccoli, mushroom and mozzarella.
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 100,000 bags have been sold. This premium range of fully cooked chicken tenders and bites is different by name, appearance, and quality. According to the brand, people can’t believe how tasty they are. What’s more, they crisp 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chickenwithattitude.ie.
Strong Roots, strong numbers
Award-winning brand Strong Roots continues to lead the agenda in tasty, plant-based food for the Irish consumer. One of the most recent successes has been the launch of vegetable-based alternatives to traditional hash browns, specifically Courgette & Spinach Hash Browns and Cauliflower Hash Browns. Impressively, Strong Roots now has a 21%* value share of the total frozen hash brown market and contributed over €700,000* in sales versus the previous year.
The products are tapping into the popular breakfast and brunch occasion which Strong Roots brought to life at store level by disrupting the shopper journey. The brand achieved this disruption via in-store sampling, recipe ideas and having a presence close to the chilled cabinet – a key destination for breakfast and brunch missions.
*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 29 Dec 2019)
Packs a flavour punch
Naveen Bachani, founder of Vada Pow, started his journey in 2016. From humble beginnings, his Bombay Style Street Food products made at a BRC-accredited factory, are now available in more than 200 stores nationwide.
Vada Pow originated from the word ‘Vada Pav’ which is a famous patty and bun street food of Mumbai. The brand was founded with a simple vision: Food is to be good, not just in taste but for the body and the soul. And good it certainly is, leading Vada Pow to win the Best Food and Drink Start-up accolade at the latest ShelfLife C-Store Awards.
Vada Pow’s Bombay Style Street Food products are convenient, versatile and cater to all dietary requirements, including being suitable for vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians and gluten free consumers. The Sweet Potato Burger won the silver award in the meat-free alternatives category at the FreeFrom Food Awards, Ireland. The range is very different from any stereotypical Indian curry product.
Asian and Indian foods are ideal when looking for vegetarian or vegan options because they are often traditionally or unintentionally vegan. However, Vada Pow products are also excellent side dishes for non-vegetarian meals. Naveen’s Bombay Style Street Food is positioned in the Indian vegetarian category.
All his products are cooked and packaged in Ireland with sustainability in mind, and all ingredients sourced where possible from Irish suppliers.
Made with respect
Goodfella’s Pizza, launched in 1993, remains Ireland’s number one frozen pizza brand. Produced in state-of-the-art facilities in Naas and Longford, Goodfella’s is proud to be made in Ireland and supporting Irish jobs.
Team Goodfella’s is constantly striving to meet consumer needs and wants. Tapping into key trends and meal occasions, Goodfella’s has something for everyone and continues to deliver tasty pizzas for all the family.
The brand has the widest frozen pizza menu available, including a Takeaway pizza for all the family to share. A more recent addition to this range is the Takeaway Thin & Crispy, an ideal option for those looking for a thinner sharing base.
The everyday Thin range still provides families of all ages a selection of toppings from Pepperoni to Roast Chicken while the Deep Pan range has just relaunched with an even lighter fluffier base and new more relevant toppings which tap into younger audiences and their preferences. This includes 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).
Given the now mainstream nature of vegan products as well as those with special dietary requirements, Goodfella’s felt it important to create ranges of both Vegan (Falafel and Spicy Vegetable Salsa) and Gluten Free (Margherita and Pepperoni, Mushroom and Ham), that offer standout and deliver on quality.
Whatever the occasion, whoever you’re with, Goodfella’s is confident consumers can depend on its portfolio to deliver delicious Italian American style pizzas from the original frozen pizza people.
Follow Goodfella’s Ireland on Facebook or visit www.goodfellaspizzas.com for more information.