warming eats

Eating on the go remains a strong trend for consumers and with the weather turning from summery to autumnal and – given the UK weather – wintery, it is no surprise that thoughts are turning to hot snacks.

Bakehouse has a range of bake-off savoury pastry products to provide retailers with the opportunity to capitalise on consumer demand for food-on-the-go, and to encourage them to ‘trade up’ to premium products and maximise profit margins.

Kate Raison, marketing director at Bakehouse, says: “Lunch is the most popular meal occasion eaten away from home, and 27% of consumers have at least one meal per week out of home. In the convenience sector, savouries overtrade, with this channel having a 49% share of in-store bakery savoury sales far more than in larger format stores. This trend is set to continue too with sales of in-store bakery convenience stores formats growing at more than 30% year on year.

“The fast pace of modern life means that many of us opt to eat on the move, and with dashboard and desktop dining also becoming popular solutions, there is great potential for retailers to freshly bake quality savoury pasties in-store to cater for the time-poor consumer.

“It’s clear that eating on-the-go remains a trend as we lead busy lifestyles and cannot always fit this in before the school run or by the start of our working day. As such, people are looking for quick and easy options they can pick up en-route.”

The Bakehouse Savoury Pastries include: Roasted Vegetable Plait, Spinach amp; Ricotta Plait, Cheese Lattice and Cheese Twist. They are supplied frozen for bake-off in store for maximum freshness throughout the day.

According to Kepak Convenience Foods, it is generating unprecedented levels of demand for its Rustlers range in the wholesale trade.

Angela Daulby, convenience business unit controller, says: “The wholesale sector is a key route to market for us at a time when growth in the convenience retail channel is outperforming all other trade channels.

“We’re supporting Rustlers with heavyweight investment, complementing this with innovative NPD and by gaining an unrivalled insight into further trends that will enable us maximise the growth of hot snacking.

“Rustlers enables convenience shopkeepers to compete head-on with foodservice outlets in their area. Our focus on providing profitable foodservice concepts that sell really well in retail will continue to drive the growth of hot snacking.”

Kepak has also seen success with its panini-based product range Zugo’s Deli Caf eacute;. It is targeted primarily, but not exclusively, at the lunchtime trade, enabling retailers to meet the growing mid-day demand for tasty alternatives to sandwiches.

Daulby adds: “A recent, nationwide survey showed that office workers take an average of just 12 minutes for lunch and the number of ‘desktop diners’ who want to eat hot, tasty products that break the monotony of sandwiches is growing.

“Wholesalers who offer Zugo’s Deli Caf eacute; along with market-leading Rustlers will enable retailers to boost lunchtime sales. It will enable them to compete head-on with foodservice outlets by giving shopkeepers the opportunity to offer popular foodservice concepts to consumers.”

The Zugo’s Deli Caf eacute; range currently comprises three products: Chargrilled Chicken, Mozzarella and Pesto; Bacon, Cheese amp; Mustard Mayonnaise; and Mediterranean Chicken on a Tomato amp; Herb Bread.

According to Kepack, in the last 12 months over 1.1 million households have bought Zugo’s Deli Caf eacute; products and rising demand for the panini range in the convenience sector has contributed to the hot snacking category, of which Kepak has a 97% share growing by 12%.

Tillman’s UK introduced its Toast Me! snack range in autumn 2010 and reports it has achieved retail sales of pound;3.3m in the six months following launch and is targeting pound;8m for 2011. Chicken Toast Me! and Bacon amp; Egg All Day Breakfast Toast Me! are already available and this year new flavours include Cheese amp; Ham Toast Me!, Chicken Curry Toast Me!, Chilli Chicken Toast Me! and Tillman’s Toast Me! 100% Beef Burger.

Jon Gymer, director of Tillman’s in the UK, says: “Before we launched Tillman’s as a frozen food brand into the UK in the autumn of 2010, we identified a real need for innovation in the category. The fact that there has been a very positive reaction from the trade and consumers alike, and that Toast Me! is seeing sales and distribution increase on a monthly basis in both the convenience and multiple formats, would suggest that this was the case, and that innovation will be an important trend over the next few months as well.

“All too often, frozen food suffers from negative connotations regarding quality, and this is also something we have worked hard to combat at Tillman’s. All our hot snack ranges are created using only the very highest quality meat.”

McCain Foods has also introduced its Toasted Sandwich which is designed to meet consumer demand for wholesome, convenient and tasty snacks. It contains cheddar cheese and smoked ham between two toasted slices of bread that can be cooked from frozen, in a grill machine, or in the microwave in three minutes.

Alan Castle, head of customer marketing at McCain Foods, says: “We expect the Toasted Sandwich to be a real hit with consumers who are looking for a delicious hot snack that is prepared with simple, quality ingredients and tastes homemade but is ready to eat in just a few minutes.”

David Cherrie, marketing controller for Symington’s, says: “It’s no secret that traditional meal times have given way to snacking and more and more consumers will be looking for tasty, instant hot snacks this year and Golden Wonder offers the perfect solution with the Nation’s Noodle and the Nation’s ‘Normous Noodle range.

“Today, Golden Wonder is worth pound;8.54m, and has 10% share of the instant hot snacks market.”

The Golden Wonder brand uses its British heritage with a Union Jack on each flavour aiming to resonate with people in the run up to the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics. There is also a You’ve been Noodled game on Facebook.


BUYERS VIEWPOINT

Chris Smith, Fresh Foods Negotiator, for Bestway and Batleys

Hot snacking is one of the top performing sectors in the food-to-go category, as consumers want tasty hot food that they can prepare quickly and conveniently. The indications are that this category will continue to grow.

Established brands and core range products continue to perform well and price-marked packs meet the needs of price sensitive consumers.

Brands such as Rustlers that advertise above the line are at the forefront of consumer’s minds, so retailers need to be aware that these products will be sought after. I would also suggest that retailers keep up to date with who is promoting what through the trade press.

The peppered steak pies and pastries have seen good growth in the past year and are now recommended as part of a core range. Kepak Convenience has launched a Zugo’s Panini and Pasta Pots that are new to the category.

The meat-based and chicken products have broad consumer appeal and continue to show healthy year-on-year growth. Suppliers such as Kepak Convenience Foods understand the importance of the convenience market and the opportunity for impulse snacking products in the wholesale channel.

We look for a reliable service from suppliers that ensures the retailer can offer good availability every day. Also, consumer-led promotions that drive sales through the independent retailer such as, price-marked and extra free/fill packs.

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