Kings of convenience!
During a busy, stressful day at work, convenience foods that can be ready in minutes will always be a winner with weary customers. With leading convenience manufacturers paying more attention than ever to nutrition credentials; consumers in many cases no longer have to make a trade-off between either a healthy or quick option. Instead, they can enjoy both: “Winner, Winner: Convenient Dinner”!
23 June 2023
Hectic, fast-paced lifestyles have made convenience paramount among consumers, but that’s not to say shoppers are ready to settle for less where quality is concerned. Whether it’s prepared salads, chilled ready meals, and soup, products that make mealtimes simpler without sacrificing taste or nutrition are in high demand.
Research from Kantar Ireland found that in the 12 weeks to 20 February 2022, shoppers spent an additional €4.3 million on chilled convenience items such as pizzas and ready meals. In line with this, brands and start-ups have been embracing quality ingredients and recipes, while maintaining that ease of preparation and serving.
Kantar also reported last month that shoppers are turning to shopping little and often to help manage household budgets. The latest 12 weeks to 14 May 2023 showed shoppers are returning to stores more often, with visits up by 12% equating to an additional seven trips. This contributed an additional €574m to the overall market performance alongside a significant increase in the average price per pack which is up 13.7% year-on-year. The little and often trend could well prove fortuitous for convenient options, perfect for that night’s dinner or as a impromptu healthy snack.
Here, we outline some of the latest innovations and bestsellers within this category that are catching shopper’s attention.
Established in Co. Wicklow by the Cahill Family in 1986, Glenhaven Foods is best known for producing quality frozen coated poultry for the Irish and UK retail and foodservice markets. But in recent years, Glenhaven Foods has been rapidly growing its range and global reputation for producing premium, high quality coated cheese products for the international quick service restaurant industry, for which Glenhaven Foods has been shortlisted for the Export Innovation of the Year Award 2023.
This month sees the launch of its first ever frozen cheese bite designed specifically for the Irish retail market – Glenhaven Jalapeño Cheese Bites.
Q&A with…Barry and Emma Cahill of Glenhaven
Q: What made you decide to develop a coated cheese product?
A: “Innovation has always been a cornerstone of Glenhaven Foods, before poultry we actually specialised in coated fish,” says Barry. “Change and diversification is not something we’re afraid of. And as a major Irish exporter, based in a country renowned for its world-class cheese and dairy, this seemed like a very natural progression for us. And we are incredibly proud of the results, in fact we believe our new Glenhaven Jalapeño Cheese Bites are quite possibly the best frozen cheese bites available in the frozen aisle today.”
Q: ‘Coated cheese bites’ is a growing category both in Ireland and abroad. Why do you think that is?
A: “A lot of the growth in this area is down to the popularity of both fakeaways and hot snacking,” says Emma. “Now that fakeaways have become a firm staple, customers are beginning to experiment and upgrade their fakeaways by adding in products like our Glenhaven Jalapeño Cheese Bites to create a ‘Meal Deal’ like they might order from their favourite pizza place, but at a fraction of the cost.”
Q: Do you think the hot snack trend is here to stay?
A: “Absolutely,” replies Emma. “And I think a major reason for that is the growing popularity of air fryers. Before the air fryer, a hot snack meant preheating the oven etc, it just wasn’t convenient. Now, if someone is craving a delicious filling snack, they can just pop our Glenhaven Jalapeño Cheese Bites, Mini Chicken Balls or Glenhaven Southern Fried Popcorn Chicken into the air fryer and their hot snack is good to go in seven minutes – it’s revolutionary.”
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 products to anticipate ever-changing consumer trends, says Barry. “The growing popularity of fakeaways and hot snacking for example, is something Glenhaven as a brand has really leaned into. And in terms of cheese alone, we are currently working on launching five new cheese products into the UK and Ireland this year.”
Leading the way in nutrition
Nomad Foods is committed to serving the world with better food, and creating healthier products to empower positive choices by consumers is at the heart of the business. This has inspired the delivery of an ambitious project to innovate and reformulate its Goodfella’s pizza portfolio to maximise its proportion of non-high in fat, sugar and salt (non-HFSS) products. From a baseline of <40% of its pizza recipes in 2019, 88% of Goodfella’s pizzas are now non-HFSS, and 100% of its pizza recipes will be non-HFSS by the end of 2023.
This is being achieved through health innovation and nutritional optimisation. Goodfella’s seeks to maximise the public health impact of nutritional improvement, focusing on salt and saturated fat reduction, as well as increasing fibre. Adherence to UK salt targets is a fundamental element of Goodfella’s pizzas product design, and the company is proud that 100% of its Goodfella’s pizzas are compliant with these. Additionally, long-term salt reduction is part of the company’s wider nutrition programme, and it is thrilled to see how significant the progress has been in salt reduction across Goodfella’s pizza portfolio versus 2014.
Ultimate in pasta perfection
Pasta lovers rejoice! There is a new product in your local supermarket freezer that will make your life a whole lot easier, whilst also tantalising those pasta-loving tastebuds. Ottimo is the ultimate in pasta perfection, taking fresh pasta and freezing it, good to go at any time of the day or night – and it’s made right here in Ireland. With three varieties to choose from, it’s ready in four minutes – so your shoppers can serve it up simply, or get saucy!
For those for whom cheese and pasta are enough to make your mouth water, Fantastico Four Cheese Ravioli is the ideal choice. These not quite square ravioli pockets are filled with a mouth-watering creamy mix of four cheeses – what more could a cheese lover want? Looking for a hint of veg with something indulgent? Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni ticks all of those boxes. These fabulously tasty little pasta parcels are filled with fresh spinach and a creamy ricotta cheese. Fancy some mushroom? The Non Quadrato Mushroom Ravioli is the one that is sure to satisfy those tastebuds – the ravioli pockets are filled with mushrooms and simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
Research has shown that many people purchase fresh pasta and later freeze what they do not use. Why not freeze it at its freshest and cook from frozen for optimum quality and flavour? This delicious Italian inspired frozen filled pasta is the perfect answer for busy people who want a delicious, convenient meal without the effort. The fresh frozen production process allows Ottimo to maintain the fresh pasta texture and keeps all of the nutrients locked in, meaning your shoppers can have a high-quality convenient meal without compromising on taste. It cooks straight from frozen in four minutes and doesn’t leave any waste – consumers can only use what they need and put the remainder back in the freezer.
Ottimo is stocked in selected supermarkets nationwide priced at €3.50 for a 300g pack and is brought to you by Green Isle.
Get active this summer
Launched earlier this year, by Ireland’s favourite frozen fruit and vegetable brand, Green Isle Fruit Snacks are the ideal item to pack when people are getting active this summer. Whether it’s heading to the beach for the day, going on a hike, hitting the park with the kids, or just generally on the go but want a healthy and refreshing snack, these little packets of delicious fruit are the perfect addition to any lunchbox or cooler bag.
Green Isle Fruit Snacks are superior quality fruits that are perfect for lunchboxes, a healthy treat or on-the-go snacking. Made from 100% fruit, Green Isle Fruit Snacks help people eat well without adding to the “to do” list.
“I’m thrilled to be taking part in Green Isle Fruit Snacks’ summer campaign,” says Green Isle ambassador Derval O’Rourke. “We’re all looking forward to the lovely weather and longer days, so I’ll definitely be packing Fruit Snacks in my bags when I am heading to the beach or the park with the kids, or even for just when I am on the go. The packs are so handy, and we love both varieties in our house!”
Ideal for anyone that is focusing on making healthy snacking choices, each bag contains three easy-to-open snack packs and are one of an individual’s five-a-day. Your shoppers can choose from juicy mandarin segments or melon chunks. The carefully selected superior quality fruits are picked at their peak and frozen at their freshest. New advanced freezing technology ensures that the superior quality, taste and texture of our prepared fruits are all locked in, delivering a wonderful product with no food waste – just amazing ready to eat fruit when consumers need it!
“We are thrilled with the feedback we have received since launching Fruit Snacks earlier this year,” says Mairéad Walsh, Green Isle marketing manager. “Summer is the perfect time to pack them in your lunchboxes and cooler bags whilst on the go this season. Fruit Snacks are high quality fruit, handpicked and ready when you are. They can be eaten frozen or defrosted with no mess. And in even better news, we will be launching two new varieties later this year.”
The two products currently available in the range are Mandarin Segments and Melon Chunks. Each Pack retails at €3.50 and contains three 80g packets inside; stored in the freezer aisle.
For more information, visit www.greenIsle.ie, Instagram: @greenisle and Facebook: GreenIsle.