The new ice age

With popular recipes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Weight Watchers is the leading brand in the frozen ready meal sector
With popular recipes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Weight Watchers is the leading brand in the frozen ready meal sector

With Birds Eye recently reporting a 5% growth in sales, it seems the current chill in our economic climate could well make 2009 the next “ice age” for frozen food sales

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Brand Central

11 March 2009 | 0

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At a glance: FROZEN FOODS  

  • Weight Watchers from Heinz is the leading brand in the frozen ready meal sector with 76.6% value share of healthy frozen ready meals and 23.5% value share of the total ready meals market
    With a 35% market share, Big Al’s is number one in frozen convenient meat
    Weight Watchers is the leading brand in the healthy eating sector
    Big Al’s adds 14% value to the frozen convenient poultry category (Kepak Convenience Foods Independent Research)
    Salame (pepperoni), a new flavour from Dr. Oetker Ristorante, will hit the freezer cabinets in April
    Young’s Seafood Ltd is the UK’s number one supplier of seafood, and now has a range available in Ireland
    Young’s Admirals Pie is the UK’s number one selling ready meal, with over 12 million pies sold annually and one eaten every four seconds
    The frozen fish market continues to grow +2.2% year on year in value terms (AC Nielsen Jan 09)
    Donegal Catch commands a 60.3% share of the frozen fish market (AC Nielsen Jan 09)
    Chip Shop is the UK’s fastest growing frozen food brand, with sales in excess of £60m, and now being purchased by one in three households
    McCain continues to dominate the frozen potato sector with a 71% value share of the frozen oven chip market
    McCain has a 33% value share of the potato specialities sector

In recent months, frozen food has continued to undergo a renaissance with belt-tightening shoppers. Consumers are increasingly taking on board the message that frozen foods are as good as more expensive chilled options. What’s more, buying frozen can help consumers cut back on food wastage; The Irish Independent recently reported that the average person throws out €1,300 worth of goods each year because they’re past a sell-by date, which will become increasingly important to consumers in recessionary times.

One example of frozen foods faring well is the case of Birds Eye, which reported that UK sales for the year rose by 5% in 2008 to £545m, contributing to overall income of €1.2bn for the year. “People are definitely shifting towards frozen food from more expensive chilled,” said Birds Eye chief executive Martin Glenn.

Asda chief executive Andy Bond is also backing the frozen category as on track for a good year in 2009. When asked by UK trade publication The Grocer how much of a shift from fresh to frozen he had witnessed, Bond replied: “We are definitely seeing frozen growth ahead of fresh growth.

“Frozen foods are making a comeback. The sales pitches are true, when fresh fruit and veg is instantaneously frozen the market sees a positive return and consumers are eager to partake of the value available in the market since 2000. This has experienced year on year growth since the turn of the century.”

He added that sales of ready meals have also seen positive growth since 2000: “Mainly driven by the high profile of healthy eating brands and retailer own labels.”

“A frozen ready meal is an easy option and far more attractive for exotic cuisines, than cooking from scratch. Above all, this sector tends to see a higher than average level of new product development activity to maintain consumer interest. Still, it suffers from consumers’ perceptions of second best quality and is exposed to high levels of competition from chilled meals,” he added.

Data from TNS Worldpanel has also showed a steady increase in the growth rate for the UK frozen food sector over the past year, from 3.1% in January 2008, to 4.2% in March, to 4.6% in June, to 5.0% in September. The latest data, from 30 November, valued the market at £4.867bn and put growth at 5.8%.

However the product sector that perhaps best illustrates the turn-around is ready meals. In December 2007 they were in value decline of 3.8%; now, the growth rate is 3.4%. Brian Young, director-general of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has said in specialist publication Foodnavigator.com that the reason for this upturn in the frozen sector is clear: “The underlying reason is value.”

The difference in price between a frozen and a chilled ready meal could be as much as 40% although a precise comparison is hard to make due to the different ranges and value lines on offer. Young has predicted that the frozen boom could well attract more innovation and product launches. “With ten consecutive quarters of accelerating growth it is a much more attractive marketplace for everyone,” he said.

Figures shaping up nicely

Weight Watchers from Heinz is the  leading brand in the frozen ready meal sector with 76.6% value share of healthy frozen ready meals and 23.5% value share of the total ready meals market, which is valued at €17.2m (TNS, September 2008). Weight Watchers is also the leading brand in the healthy eating sector. Manufactured in Dundalk, the Weight Watchers from Heinz range of frozen ready meals continues to drive the frozen ready meal category with convenient meal solutions in both traditional and ethnic varieties. The range has everything to offer consumers who are seeking to lead a healthy lifestyle but who expect not to compromise on taste.

The Weight Watchers from Heinz frozen ready meal range offers an extensive range of popular recipes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Ocean Pie, and Tomato & Basil Chicken. Forthcoming additions to the range will further establish the Weight Watchers from Heinz brand as the number one brand in the frozen ready meals category.

Proving that consumers can still have the naughty treats they love while watching their weight, Weight Watchers from Heinz also offers a range of frozen desserts including delectable recipes such as Belgian Eclairs and Double Chocolate Brownie.

Veggie heaven

The Linda McCartney range of frozen foods delivers an exciting and unique vegetarian proposition for consumers. Based around Linda McCartney’s well-documented passion about meat-free eating and the provision of good affordable food for everyone, her recipes offer quality and integrity from their ethics to their ingredients, and ultimately taste. Honest and natural are core values of the Linda McCartney brand. The new range now available in Ireland includes: Vegetarian Chilli non Carne; Vegetarian Quarterpounder; Vegetarian Mince; Cheese, Leek & Red Onion Plaits; and Vegetarian Sausages.

Attracting the ever-more health conscious consumer, as they look for tasty foods which fulfil their desire for a healthy and satisfying meal, the Linda McCartney brand is increasingly one that consumers actively seek. For further information, contact Clayton Love Distribution on 01 4672727.

Dr Oetker Ristorante’s new Salame (pepperoni) flavour will arrive in April

Dr Oetker Ristorante’s new Salame (pepperoni) flavour will arrive in April

Delivering real pizzeria taste

Building on its success in the Irish market, Dr. Oetker Ristorante returns to TV screens with a new advertising campaign which is supported by in-store sampling nationwide, point of sale activity and PR.

Inspired by authentic Italian recipes, Dr. Oetker Ristorante offers a true pizzeria taste with a thin and crispy base and a variety toppings. Ready in just 10 to 12 minutes, Ristorante is the perfect solution for the consumer with an appreciation for quality and convenience.

Dr. Oetker Ristorante has a wide range of varieties to suit all tastes including Mozzarella, Hawaii, Speciale, Pollo, Funghi, Pepperoni Salame Piccante and Vegetale Piccante. Salame (pepperoni), a delicious new flavour from Dr. Oetker Ristorante will hit the freezer cabinets in April, and the company says it will be “a real meat lover’s pizza.”

Rosie’s multi-awarding winning bagels are made without additives or preservatives, in four varieties

Rosie’s multi-awarding winning bagels are made without additives or preservatives, in four varieties

New York state of mind

Rosie’s Broadway Bagels are a multi-awarding winning range of frozen pre-sliced bagels. They are made to a New York recipe by Rosie Sheehan, herself a New Yorker. Rosie’s bagels are made without additives or preservatives, and are available in four varieties; Poppy Seed (500g 4pk), Cinnamon & Raisin (500g 4pk), The Works (500g 4pk), Original Lunchbox (420g 6pk).

Sheehan says she has heard from many customers who appreciate the fact that they can enjoy authentic NY-style bagels any time, without the risk of having to throw them out uneaten because they’ve reached their shelf-life before they are consumed.
As Rosie’s bagels can be popped into the toaster straight from the freezer, they are convenient for the customer, with no waste. Rosie’s has also launched a range of Rosie’s Gourmet Pizza Bagels.

Rosie’s Broadway Bagels has invested in a number of vibrant bespoke stand-alone freezers, in a handy size of approximately 2ft x 2ft and 3ft high. To trial a freezer,  phone 058 23843 or 1850 BAGELS (1850 224357), or visit www.broadwaybagels.ie

Potato perfection

McCain continues to dominate the frozen potato sector with a 71% value share of the frozen oven chip market, and a 33% value share of the potato specialities sector. The company’s ongoing ‘It’s All Good’ campaign reinforces McCain’s reputation for making good, tasty, favourite food from simple natural ingredients.

McCain Home Fries remains the number one selling oven chip and, with the variety of cuts available, is a favourite with all the family. To build on the success of its original Oven Chips, McCain has launched a new TV campaign emphasising the simple ingredients used, i.e. ‘just potatoes and sunflower oil’. 

In potato specialities, McCain is brand leader in roast potatoes, wedges and shapes, and continues to deliver new innovative products, demonstrating its commitment to growing the frozen potato sector. Such innovations include the new McCain Simply Gorgeous range, comprising Chunky Chips and Roast Potatoes, which are basted in goose fat.

1st Choice products maintain strong retailer margin

1st Choice products maintain strong retailer margin

Low in fat, high in margin

1st Choice Unislim chips and ready meals offer the Irish consumer a broad range of ready meals and frozen chips that are of a high quality. As category leader, 1st Choice Unislim Chips are available in two varieties: Original Oven Chips and Family Chunky chips.

1st Choice’ core range of frozen vegetables is now available in new consumer promotional packs. The new 750g range, retailing at €1.99, represents terrific value and includes 1st Choice Country Mix, Luxury Mix, Leaf Spinach and Whole Green Beans. Not only does this range bring a new dimension to the freezer, says 1st Choice, but it also maintains excellent retailer margin, delivering premium quality to the consumer while adding to retailers’ profits.

1st Choice also acknowledges the importance of innovation and fresh ideas for maintaining consumer interest in the frozen category, and feels it has achieved this through its poultry offering. In particular, 1st Choice American Hot Chicken Wings, which have become a successful performer for retailers also. Most importantly, they offer consumers convenient product that they enjoy and is ready in minutes.

Reinvigorating frozen foods

With a 35% market share, Big Al’s is number one in frozen convenient meat (AC Nielsen YTD v LY ending 28 December 2008). As sales of frozen foods continue to grow in the current economic climate, Big Al’s is focused on developing products that meet changing consumer expectations. While traditionally frozen meat products have been in ready prepared formats such as burgers or nuggets, new products such as Big Al’s Mini Fillets, Sweet Chilli Mini Fillets and Fajita Strips offer consumers the chance to prepare family meals like curries and stir-fries straight from the freezer.

Big Al’s modern meal products have reinvigorated the poultry category and offer retailers a unique opportunity to reach current non purchasers of more traditional frozen convenient meat. The key to the category’s popularity is convenience, in terms of preparation and storage, and making meal times easier. However, Big Al’s says its range also delivers retail benefits such as adding 14% value to the frozen convenient poultry category, on top of bringing new customers to the category who had not previously purchased any frozen convenient meat (Kepak Convenience Foods Independent Research).

Fruits of the sea

Young’s Seafood Ltd is the UK’s number one seafood supplier and now offers a wide range in Ireland. Fish is an essential part of frozen food and Young’s is a well-established brand within the fish category.

A popular choice for consumers, fish is healthy, convenient, and offers plenty of varieties. As most consumers don’t know how to handle or prepare fish however, Young’s believes that its brand breaks down the invisible barrier between fish and consumers, by offering great products without any fuss.

Some of the lines now readily available in Ireland include: Young’s Admirals Pie (number one selling ready meal in UK); Chip Shop 2 Fish Fillets Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar (Chip Shop is the UK’s fastest growing frozen food brand);  Young’s Best Ever King Prawns; and Young’s Scampi with a hint of Lemon.

Having only just launched this range in the Republic in November 2008, Young’s says the response it has received from retailers and consumers has been “fantastic”, and it is now in the process of extending this range further throughout 2009. For further information on Young’s and its products, visit www.youngsseafood.co.uk or contact Clayton Love Distribution on 01 4672727.

A real catch

The frozen fish market continues to grow +2.2% year on year in value terms with Donegal Catch commanding a 60.3% share (AC Nielsen Jan 09), maintaining its strong position as brand leader in the frozen category. In keeping with consumer trends, the brand has always created excitement in the frozen fish category through the launch of innovative products. Selecting only the best fish, Donegal Catch only uses 100% natural fillets in all its products, with no bones and no skin; just filleted and frozen.

In April Donegal Catch is launching a four week TV campaign with a 30 second ad featuring our friendly fishermen and a 10 second quality ad which will run consecutively. It is also running a three week radio campaign with strong quality messages during the same period. To help build on this message, Donegal Catch will have in-store activity running alongside the TV and radio campaign.

At the end of April, Donegal Catch will be adding to its Lightly Dusted range with two brand new products and will be making some product improvements (in particular to its Chunky Cod and Chunky Haddock varieties). It is also relaunching all its lightly dusted products in brand new packaging; a darker shade of blue that will give a more premium feel to the brand. 

 

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