School’s in so stock up now!

The start of a new school term signals a fresh new start for parents and kids alike. Typically brands heavily promote their ranges to parents at this time of year so make sure you don’t lose a sale by failing to stock the best-sellers, writes Doug Whelan


Brand Central

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10 July 2015

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As the new books are bought and uniforms are dragged out of the bottom drawers, it’s time to start stocking shelves with the products that will keep kids and parents happy. There’s a fine line between satisfying school lunches and healthy alternatives, and parents will be focused on the products that will help their children stay ahead in the new school year, that their kids won’t turn their noses up at either.

Health and nutrition, convenient packaging formats and value-for-money are all key considerations for parents when packing the all-important school lunchbox. The start of a new school term in September is often when parents try out new brands and innovations and if these prove a hit, they end up becoming repeat purchases in kids’ lunchboxes throughout the academic year. Several segments within the category are recording growth. The children’s biscuit market is worth €10.1m and growing by +19%.* Last year, the fastest-growing snack food category, the savoury biscuit market, was up 9% in value year-to-date.** Meanwhile, the natural cheese market is worth €102m of which sliced and grated are worth €32m. The grated market accounts for 25% and the sliced market accounts for 18%.*** The kid’s smoothie market is worth €5m.

*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 27 April 2014)

**(Source AC Nielsen May 2014)

***(Source: MAT Apr 20/14)

****(Source: AC Nielsen)

Kids Apple Rice CakesDelicious lunchbox fillers bring parents peace of mind

Back to School is a key time of year when parents begin to think about healthy lunchbox fillers, after school snacks, and getting the whole family back into a routine of healthy eating. Dietitians at Kelkin, now part of Valeo Foods, recognise that occasional treats can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and varied diet.

With many schools now restricting the amount of treats allowed in kid’s lunchboxes, Kelkin is trying to make it easier for parents to find healthy products from a brand they can trust – and ones that look and taste so good that children will be happy to eat them! Kelkin Kids Organic Rice Cakes come in two great flavours – Apple and Blueberry, and can be enjoyed by kids from just nine months of age. With no artificial preservatives or colours, and at only 17 calories per rice cake, parents can be sure they are giving their kids the best snacks for returning to the school playground.

Kelkin Kids Organic Rice Cakes are also egg-free, nut-free and low in fat, making them the ideal choice for parents catering for kids with allergy concerns.

Meanwhile, The Kelkin Natural Biscuit Company launches in Ireland this August. Designed to provide ‘Super Snacks’ for kids 5+ the concept came about as a result of strong sales decline (-22%) in the children’s biscuit segment over the past 12 months*.

The first products to emerge from the new brand, Little Oaty Bakes, are made from wholegrain oats and include 50% less sugar than the average children’s biscuit. There is also nothing nasty in there replacing the sugar, meaning no artificial colours or preservatives in the products.

Little Oaty Bakes are multipack biscuits containing five x 25g bags, enough for a quick snack or little treat. The products are available in four flavours: Strawberry, Apple, Raspberry and Banana. These flavours were chosen by kids (and parents) as the favourites in special taste tests conducted last year.

The brand launches with a full scale TTL campaign worth €500,000 and including TV, print and online partnerships, while the company will also be conducting sampling sessions with key retailers across the country.

Little Oaty Bakes will be available to purchase from mid-July with full scale launch taking place mid-August, with further products due to join the range in 2016.

A trusted brand with almost 40 years’ experience trading in the health and wellness category, Kelkin helps parents who are stuck for ideas for wholesome snacks for their children, with its website featuring deliciously healthy snack recipes, handy tips for healthy snacking and some great, simple ideas for lunchboxes. For more information on these products, contact Kelkin’s customer service team at

*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 21 June 2015)

Hall Tests Conducted in Partnership with: Coyne Research July 2014

On to a good thing

Move over bad and boring, healthy and fun snacks are here to stay!

The Good Snack Company was established through frustration with the lack of choice available for those with a sweet tooth. There was a basic choice between what the company calls bad snacks, full of rubbish ingredients – the usual suspects such as crisps and chocolate bars, or boring snacks that were healthy but dull. Can anybody really get excited about those?

Where were the delicious, natural snacks consumers could enjoy without feeling guilty? And where were the snacks that they hadn’t tried before, the weird and wonderful stuff that tickled the taste buds? They didn’t exist.

So owner Matt Henchie set out on a mission to find good snacks and bring them to hungry people everywhere. Two years later the Good Snack Company is still going strong and supplies snacks to shops across Ireland.

Healthy snacking for children is a key focus area with exciting growth potential for The Good Snack Company, according to Matt Henchie. “Our range includes snacks suitable for various age groups and dietary requirements,” he says. “High fibre favourites like Dried Apricots and Mango Chunks are great for younger children, whilst protein-rich Cashews are really popular with teenage guys. Parents are increasingly aware of issues surrounding childhood obesity and are looking for healthy alternatives to traditional ‘bad snacks’. Good Snack Company products are available in sensible 40g-50g portion packs and the Good Snack Company range of bags and bars is available in Dunnes, Tesco, MRPI and Spar.

A healthy household name

VITHIT Kids ConceptThe demand for healthy drinks has shot up in Ireland in recent years, and Vit Hit has been leading the way with its record-selling range, the latest of which is a kid-friendly version. Managing director and creator of Vitz Drinks Gary Lavin said the company was created because of a lack of healthy drinks in fridges. “Most drinks contain buckets of sugar,” says Lavin. “Sugar means calories and people no longer want calories in their diet.

“Mums have been asking us for years to come out with a low calorie added vitamin drink for the kids, so we had to listen to demand’ says Lavin.  The Vit Hit adult range is clearly a market leader in health, with sales this year alone up a massive 460% across Ireland. “The brand is now recognisable,” he says, “so it makes perfect sense to give kids the health that Irish adults have been getting for years now. People no longer want to take in calories and sugar with their drink, and if you can add vitamins and teas, that’s an added bonus.” Vit Hit kids will be launched in four packs and singles in September and available nationally through Richmond marketing.

VITHIT Kids ConceptLavin says he created Vit Hit because he used to see people on treadmills for 30 minutes burning calories, then taking those calories back in with a sports drink. “Most sports drinks contain 180 calories, plus sugar and salts,” he says, “which is not exactly ideal for weight loss. Our first mission was to make sure our drinks tasted as good as or better than their sugary counterparts, then add as much goodness without compromising on taste.”

Vit Hit contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins, plus healthy teas and herbs for overall wellbeing. The company has gone from strength to strength, and is now a very recognisable brand exporting to eight countries worldwide.

Nation’s favourite is now the fastest growing!

NEW HC Packs group shot_3Carroll’s is Ireland’s favourite ham, holding its position as Ireland’s number one deli ham and is now the fastest growing brand in pre-packed ham* (Kantar, March 2015). Carroll’s has built up a reputation for quality and taste and is now established as one of Ireland’s most trusted family brands, frequently found in lunchboxes nationwide as a healthy, protein filled, satisfying lunch option.

With more than 35 years’ experience behind them, Carroll’s is used to the emergence of new trends and changing customer demands. With health and nutrition a growing concern for parents when packing the school lunchboxes, a focus on providing a balanced well rounded lunch is a priority. Carroll’s ham both satisfies these claims but is also convenient with its unique resealable packaging, keeping the product fresher for longer. Carroll’s larger family packs and twin packs are also excellent value for money for busy families with mouths to fill.

Carroll’s also strives to keep product ranges new and fresh to ensure there is always something different to help fill the lunchbox. Along with new and exciting flavours, the company’s most recent venture as part of Back to School 2015 is an exciting new on-pack giveaway. This giveaway is a collectable series of magnetic jigsaws of images of Ireland which will both encourage new customers to pick up the pack in-store and once they try it they will end up becoming repeat purchasers again and again.

Carroll’s has a strong history of innovative new product launches, utilising the newest and most advanced technologies available. The past 6 months have seen many new additions to the Carroll’s brand, including the Handcrafted premium pre-packed ham, which is perfect for adult lunches and those who love something a bit more special to eat. This premium range is available in a variety of interesting flavours such as honey baked, smoked, sea salt and cracked black pepper, as well as crumbed and traditional, making it perfect for a sandwiches or salads. Made from 100% Irish Bord Bia Approved Pork, this range is made using traditional recipes, Carroll’s ham is carefully nurtured and slowly cooked for up to 12 hours for a better taste.

For more information on any of Carroll’s product offerings check out their website at or to keep up to date with all of Carroll’s giveaways and tasting locations find them at

Freshly baked cuisine now offering delightful sweet flavours

PrintCuisine de France has always been proud of its uniqueness and difference. Its passionate bakers are dedicated to improving the range and its recipes. As part of their most recent innovation, they have developed a new recipe for the humble chocolate muffin, adding extra indulgent chocolate in to every mouthful. To mark this new layer of flavour and texture, the company has redubbed it a luxuriously rich chocolate muffin.

As for the blueberry muffin, Cuisine de France insist their variation on it is like no other. They use whole blueberries and a light crumble topping, making it “utterly scrumptious”.

As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation, it is launching a limited edition Strawberries and Cream muffin with white chocolate chunks, and injected with a creamy vanilla frosting. The company has dubbed this new product “summer in a muffin.”

Cuisine de France is unique; they bake unique, they celebrate unique – that’s why they’re different.

Iconic Irish bar aiming back to school comeback

30272_3DJust in time for the back to school season, McVitie’s is relaunching the iconic Penguin bar.

Penguin is a nostalgic brand with strong credentials.  A makeover will re-ignite consumers’ love for the product and enhance its positioning as a family brand perfect for all occasions. Penguin has been given a new modern and fun look, making the product stand out on the shelf, while a new improved recipe and a bigger bar will make the product irresistible to consumers.   The New Penguin range is being rolled out across grocery stores and depots from June 2015. The product is sold in 6, 6+50%, 8 and 24 pack formats.

For the first time in over a decade, Penguin will be getting an investment in above-the-line support. Following the initial roll out to stores in June, a new 30-second advert represents the next stage of the product’s launch in Ireland and is due to air on the 10 August 2015 for four weeks. Playing on the nostalgic assets of P..P..P..Pick up a Penguin, the advert will incorporate Penguin into the McVitie’s Sweeet campaign and introduce a brand new member of the Sweeet animal family – the baby penguin. The launch will also be supported with online marketing, consumer and trade press, as well as in-store activation.

How can parents and carers help ensure children have a healthy diet?

  • Offer children a wide variety of foods.
  • Plan varied healthy meals and snacks in advance.
  • Use the Food Pyramid guidelines to ensure that children receive the recommended number of servings from all food groups each day and that suitable portion sizes are offered.
  • Offer children healthy snacks between meals to meet their higher energy requirements.
  • Offer tooth-friendly drinks regularly.
  • Avoid adding salt or using very salty foods frequently.
  • Remember, food is a wonderful source of learning for children. Use mealtimes and snacks to give children the opportunity to explore new foods. The use of different colours, tastes and textures makes mealtimes exciting for children. It also allows for a variety of food related activities to be introduced. This can lay the foundations of simple health promoting links between food and health at an early age.

(Source: The Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Pre-School Services issued by The Department of Health and Children in April 2004)

Value must be delivered!

Offering a solid value-for-money proposition during the back to school season is vital, with a survey of more than 2,000 parents conducted by Barnados last year, revealing the extent of the ‘crippingly expensive’ costs faced by parents last year:

  • Although back to school costs fell slightly in 2014 compared to the previous year, Barnardos says its latest survey shows the State’s “free” education system remains “cripplingly expensive” and will cost parents with two children in secondary school almost €2,000.
  • The charity found that the run-up to September was “a hugely stressful time for many parents as they worry about how to pay for all that is required”.
  • Overall, the survey showed some savings for parents in certain categories especially for those with primary school children. It found that some schools are acknowledging the pressure on parents and revising their policies on uniforms, launching school book rental schemes and reducing costs like stationery and other classroom sundries.
  • The average cost of sending a child into senior infants was totted up to €345, down from €350 in 2013.
  • Parents of a child in fourth class will need to stump up €380; €20 less than in 2013.
  • The cost of kitting out a child starting second level was tallied at €735, a reduction of €50 on 2013’s figure.
  • Despite the fall in some areas, Barnardos still believes the cost of school books is “exorbitant especially for those with children entering first and fifth year in secondary school, as they are beginning the Junior and Leaving Certificate cycles”.
  • At primary school level, the majority of parents continue to spend on average between €76 and €100 on books. However, in secondary school the amount spent has risen, with three in 10 parents paying more than €300.



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