Last year’s summer didn’t meet expectations, and with the present squeeze on the consumers purse, companies are keen to offer promotions, rewards and lower priced products to encourage consumers to buy.
== Ice Cream ==
According to Fredericks Dairies, the ice cream market has increased by 4% year on year with the market growth primarily being driven by price inflation. Fredericks holds an 8.8% share of the take home market with a value of over £55m.
New for 2009, Fredericks Dairies has launched the Del Monte Superfruits Smoothie, a blend of blueberries, pomegranate and cranberries. It joins the existing range of Mango and Raspberry and contains 86 calories per stick.
Jacqueline Walters, marketing manager of Fredericks Dairies, says: “The Del Monte brand is the leader in adult refreshment and the launch of the Superfruits smoothie demonstrates our commitment to drive the category further forward, driving sales and profit opportunities while satisfying consumer demand for healthy products that do not compromise on taste.”
Adding to the range is the Cadbury Creme Egg Tub which is designed to appeal to the fan base who consume over two million Cadbury Creme Eggs in the January to Easter period.
Bep Sandhu, trade relations manager for Mars, says: “Ice cream is a key focus for Mars in 2009 – we anticipate further strong growth in the category, driven by significant investments across the portfolio. Experience shows that big core brand activity tends to have a positive halo effect across ice cream variants, so we anticipate strong sales across our range. We are also focusing on our core range of best-sellers, implementing a strategy of ‘fewer, bigger, better’.”
According to Mars, the ice cream sector is worth £856m and Mars is the second largest ice cream manufacturer in the UK. Mars has a strong share of both the impulse and grocery sectors and aims to build on this in 2009.
Mars aims to focus on its core bestsellers, Mars, Snickers, Galaxy, Maltesers and Bounty.
Sandhu says that the core Mars ice cream brands feed off the halo effect of their confectionery counterparts and this means they are less weather dependent and continue to generate sales.
Sandhu says that wholesalers need to have the core range available at all times to help provide for independent retailers when consumers decide they want ice creams.
According to R amp;R Ice Cream, it is the fastest growing impulse manufacturer. Charlotte Hambling, senior marketing manager at R amp;R, says: “We’re really positive about our new convenience range for summer 2009, which responds to the latest macro consumer trends. All our new products offer genuine consumer choice which will help deliver incremental category sales.”
R amp;R has recently launched the KitKat cone, which is exclusive to the impulse market for summer 2009.
Hambling says: “With the parent brand experiencing massive brand awareness, worth over £170m, and experiencing strong double digit growth, it is the perfect time to launch the KitKat brand into ice cream. Our research into this product has revealed that consumers show a strong propensity to purchase and as a result we recommend retailers stock up to take advantage of ‘the best break in ice cream’ opportunity for the summer.”
R amp;R has also launched a Lion Bar ice cream and Rowntrees Fruit Screamers and extended the Lyons Maid brand and Thorton’s line.
Hambling says R amp;R provides branded outers and bespoke solutions, but that there is a focus on the end users and getting a pull through.
Andy Foweather, sales director for General Mills, says: “With sales increasing by 12% annually, luxury ice cream is growing twice as fast as total ice cream. One of the major growth drivers within luxury ice cream is Häagen-Dazs. Häagen-Dazs is inextricably linked with treating and also with special occasions. Even in challenging economic conditions people still have the desire to treat themselves – particularly if it’s a birthday, anniversary or romantic night in.”
General Mills has launched Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Smoothies in Raspberry amp; Summer Berries and Mango amp; Apricot.
Ed Culf, marketing director at General Mills, says: “Our ongoing research programme indicated that consumers are increasingly seeking products with high fruit content. This insight, coupled with our appreciation of an overarching treating trend among consumers, enables us to identify a gap in the market for a fruity, refreshing and luxurious ice cream. The result of this development is Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Smoothies, which, with a combination of textures and flavours provides a truly unique and sensual eating experience.”
Another new launch is Häagen-Dazs Limited Edition Cherries amp; Cream.
Foweather says: “From a General Mills UK perspective, we’ll continue to invest, innovate and talk to consumers to ensure that Häagen-Dazs offers retailers products and merchandising solutions that enable them to maximise the sales potential of the luxury ice cream category.”
Naomi Geffen, brand manager for Wall’s at Unilever UK, says: “Our new innovations will help us grow the impulse ice cream market this year. With predictions that a number of Brits will be holidaying at home this summer, we’re expecting the impulse channel to play a huge part in growing the market in 2009. The new additions will create excitement and invigorate the freezer cabinet adding incremental value to the category.”
Wall’s is adding to its Solero range with Solero Berry Berry, which contains 50% total fruit content.
Wall’s has also secured a licence with Twentieth Century Fox for a product tie-in with Ice Age 3, the Lemon Age Lolly. An extra addition is the Cornetto Love Chocolate, aiming to offer consumers a premium product.
Also providing premium ice cream is the Magnum line, with the new Magnum Temptation in Chocolate and Caramel amp; Almonds.
Anna Ford, senior Magnum brand manager at Unilever UK, says: “In these economically gloomy times, we can offer consumers an affordable bit of luxury. The launch will attract new consumers to the category as Magnum Temptation is unlike anything else currently on offer in the freezer.”
Aiming to further strengthen the Magnum brand, Unilever has introduced the Magnum Pleasure Card promotion. Running on impulse singles and multipacks of Magnum Classic and Magnum White, each stick has a unique code. Consumers can text or enter online to win a Magnum Pleasure Card worth between £10 and £1,000 to spend on what they choose.
Ford says: “We are offering a massive prize pool of over £1m worth of Pleasure Cards, with 25 cards to be won every hour in April, May and June. We will be driving consumers awareness with advertising and in-store activity through the period of the promotion.”
== Frozen ==
There is renewed interest in the frozen category at the moment as it provides limited wastage and lower cost food for cash-strapped consumers.
Last month Birds Eye re-launched its Simply range of fish, poultry and red meat. The range is targeted at mid-week adult, evening meal occasions, of which, according to Birds Eye, there are 3.16bn per annum.
Tim Albert, senior brand manager at Birds Eye, says: “We’ve noticed a trend in consumers down-trading from eating out and takeaways to more in-home evening meals. These consumers however are not prepared to compromise on their quality expectations which provides a significant growth opportunity within the premium sector. Simply meets this opportunity as it offers consumers the highest quality in a convenient way, meaning consumers don’t have to slave away in the kitchen for hours.
“We’re really excited about the re-launched Simply range and are confident, given research results, that it will deliver significant incremental category growth. So much so, we’re investing £3.2m behind driving the new Simply platform, spearheaded by a new TV campaign.”
Another new launch for Birds Eye this year is the return of Artic Roll in Raspberry Ripple and Triple Chocolate.
Chester Robinson, head of trade marketing at Birds Eye, says: “Artic Roll is a real classic and we are genuinely excited about the re-launch. During the 1980s the dessert was so popular that, over 25 miles of Artic Roll were sold per month. We are positive we can re-ignite this popularity among the new generations.”
Nigel Philips, UK food service sales director for Lamb Weston, says: “There is a market for frozen food purchases through the cash and carry sector, however the impetus becomes on the purchaser to ensure that the storage method between the depot and their premises is of a low enough temperature. In theory it is no different than the issues faced by consumers when shopping at their local supermarket. While in an ideal scenario a small freezer within the vehicle would be great, in reality just a small amount of planning with cool bags and boxes will help to ensure that the product remains in a good frozen state on the journey. Ironically, the more frozen goods you purchase, the easier it is to maintain a low temperature.”
Lamb Weston has recently launched its Britain’s Pride Honey Roast Parsnips, Camembert Bites and Apple Wedges.
Philips says: “In an ever competitive world all purchasing channels are of paramount importance and we continue to review our distribution to ensure that we fulfil the needs of our customers. Lamb Weston continues to show strong sales growth and we remain committed to developing our business through both the delivered wholesale channel as well as cash and carry.
“Frozen food allows you to only remove from the pack the amount of the product that is ordered. This means that you get far less wastage than with fresh products which are brought in prior to service and which usually end up being thrown away.”
Matt Pullen, marketing director of Bernard Matthews Farms, says: “The frozen category is seeing a major resurgence as consumers are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch and seeking value for money products that will appeal to all the family.
“Consumers have always recognised the convenience that frozen food offers them within their busy lives, but they also rely heavily on big brands such as Bernard Matthews Farms to provide them with these tasty, affordable products, and we are continuing to develop good value for money family favourites that will guarantee clean plates at dinner time.”
Bernard Matthews is running Extra Free offers throughout the year on frozen breaded products, including Turkey Nuggets and Mini Kievs.
Duncan Clark, national account manager for Aunt Bessie’s, says the wholesale market provides important distribution and can fill a knowledge gap by passing on information.
He suggests stocking a core range of 12 Original Baked Yorkshire Puddings, 12 Original Yorkshire pudding Batters, Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie and Toad in the Hole.
A new addition to the Aunt Bessie’s desserts range is the Cherry Pie.
Clarke adds that the range is seasonal and that Lemon Meringue Pie does better in the summer, as well as the traditional range closer to Christmas. So it is important to keep the range seasonal to give the consumer what they want.