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McCain has appetite for growth.

McCain Has Appetite for Growth

It has been quite a good year for the UK frozen food market, which according to the Frozen Food Information Service is now worth 3.5 billion [pounds] annually. The immediate outlook for Britain is continuing growth in value terms, as consumers buy more added value products.

But company success in the food industry depends in no small way on the ability to adapt to changing consumer needs. In an increasingly complex and dynamic environment facing the industry, the ability to react quickly to changing consumer expectations is vital.

It is a vast and complicated exercise which McCain (GB) has fine-tuned with its market building philosophy of continued new product development and innovation, backed by strong marketing support and aggressive capital investment of over 60 million [pounds] to provide modern processing facilities.

Every year it adds to this figure and continues to invest in new equipment and technology, not only to strengthen its position in the market, but also to ensure that it has the best manufacturing facilities possible to ensure safe, high quality food products for consumers.

Because the emphasis is on quality and continual investment to keep production facilities up to date and processing costs low, the company has been able to invest with confidence in advertising the McCain brand and sell aggressively against its competitors.

The growth in high street pizzerias and increasing demand for authentic pizzeria pizza has fueled popularity as frozen pizza has now become one of the most dynamic sectors of the UK frozen foods business. The market, now valued at over 100 million [pounds], grew by 37% in 1990.

The 3 million [pounds] support package behind McCain Pizza Slices - consisting of the "Itsa Nicer Slice" TV commercial, powerful on-pack promotions with household brands such as Coca-Cola and Maxwell House - represented the biggest ever launch spent in the history of the frozen pizza market.

A continuous heavyweight promotional program behind McCain Pizza Slices from spring to autumn will include a free Golden Wonder Crisps Multi-pack with two proofs of purchase of McCain Pizza Slices.

Since the launch of its Pizza Perfection brand in 1987, McCain has led the way in developing the large Single Sector in the UK market, with TV and cinema advertising as well as consumer promotions.

McCain has recently introduced two new Deep Pan varieties to add to its best selling Pepperoni and Smoked Ham and Mushroom. Cheese Supreme and Super Deluxe add extra variety to the range with two popular toppings.

The genuine Pizzeria Style is enhanced with the individually pan-baked bases which are light and fluffy on the inside and crisp and golden on the outside. Heaps of quality toppings and real mozzarella cheese complete what is undoubtedly the |Gold Standard' of the frozen pizza market.

Up until three years ago, the frozen pizza market was 80% polybag. That is to say: five inch pizzas predominantly in one flavor - cheese and tomato. But as companies such as McCain have developed added value products like Pizza Perfection and Pizza Slices, people's expectations have matured accordingly.

Notwithstanding, McCain Polybag in four top-selling varieties, remains a best seller in the children's snack sector. McCain recognizes that Polybag, with a 55% volume share of the total frozen pizza market and a loyal customer base, will always be core business for the retail trade.

It is as a result of an active approach to promotions and advertising that McCain, with a 44% volume share of the branded polybag market, continues to generate increased sales in this traditional sector.

Out Front in Chips

In a similar vein, McCain (GB) has built the frozen chip and potato speciality market which is now worth 267 million [pounds].

McCain forecasts total sales of frozen chips to reach 186,000 tons by the end of the year, about four times the volume of burgers and six times the volume of fish fingers and even bigger than frozen peas. Figures from AGB (Audits of Great Britain) show that 184,500 tons of frozen chips were purchased in comparison to 153,000 tons of frozen peas in 1990.

Within the retail frozen chip market, the frozen fry sector, worth 87 million [pounds], is still the largest volume area (56%) of the total frozen chip market consisting of fry, ovenable and microwaveable segments. While the frozen fry is the most popular and traditional choice, research has indicated there is still opportunity for development and innovation.

A recent independent study commissioned by McCain (GB) into consumer buying and eating habits among nearly 800 housewives responsible for main food shopping, revealed that taste is a key motivator to chip usage.

For this reason, company strategy is set to develop the premium end of the fry chip market by the launch of a superb quality product which McCain claims is the most tasty french fry ever. The aim of introducing this ultra quality frozen chip is to target a new set of potential frozen chip buyers, thereby leading to new growth in the fry sector for the benefit of manufacturer and retailer alike.

Years of expertise and research in the frozen chip field has contributed to the discovery of a totally new concept in fries. Made to a new recipe, the new McCain |Gold Standard' French Fry represents the ultimate taste in frozen fry chips.

The two varieties, straight and crinkle cut, are made to a new specification that consistently delivers an improved taste with a combination of a crisp outer and moist inner texture.

McCain believes there is still a sizable untapped market of fry chip consumers looking for a product that offers both convenience and a superb "home-made" taste.

Doug Frawley, marketing director for McCain (GB), explains: "During recessionary times when consumers have even less money to spend, they generally ensure they spend it wisely. They may not be able to afford the prime fillet steak, but they know they can at least but the best frozen chips.

"Our research also shows that consumers generally recognize McCain as a higher quality brand than those in the rest of the marketplace and expect to pay a little extra for this premium taste."

The |Gold Standard' French Fry is also the first frozen chip in the freezer cabinet to be packed in a new double laminate material. The pack features powerful design which stands out at point of sale.

To stimulate trial, McCain is backing the launch of |Gold Standard' with a one million coupon drop and a money-off voucher.

Although the frozen chip market as a whole has increased steadily in value to 185 million [pounds], most of the strong performance in frozen chips to date has occurred in the ovenable and microwaveable sectors.

According to Taylor Nelson;s Family Food Panel, the preference for ready prepared frozen potato products continues to grow. Between 1986 and '89 the amount of prepared frozen chips consumed has increased by over a third (35%) at the expense of homemade.

Consumers are increasingly demanding foods that are more convenient with shorter preparation times. With less time available to shop for and prepare foods, there is a growing proportion of people for whom convenience of purchase, storage and cooking is highly desirable.

McCain Food Service

The catering market today is constantly changing. New food outlets, or new profit points, incorporate new demands from caterers and consumers alike.

There is a demand for new food styles with great taste. The change in eating habits precipitated by foreign travel has meant that people have been exposed to and developed a taste for different, exciting foods. More importantly, this public as a whole is prepared to pay higher prices for tasty, exciting, lively foods. The new generation has new tastes and new demands.

It is by satisfying these demands and by developing innovative products such as McCain Freeze Chill or new Speciality Fries, which fit the market of today and more importantly the market of tomorrow, that McCain is the UK's largest producer of frozen french fries and potato speciality products to the catering trade.

Now, McCain Foods has taken the UK food service market by storm with the launch of a range of six speciality fries: Spicy Crispy Fries and Savoury Crispy Fries; Spiral Fries and Spicy Spiral Fries; Spicy Lattice Fries and Spicy Wedge Fries.

All six products in the speciality fries range represent a new profit opportunity in potato products from McCain, combining novelty with outstanding performance. The wide range of different serving opportunities give caterers additional volume sales and higher margins, says the company. The subtle flavors of the new range make them the perfect accompaniment to any eating occasion.

They can be served as an appetizer, with a dip, as part of a buffet, main meal accompaniment or side order with fast food. Alternatively, serve them with sandwiches or salads. The list of profit opportunities is endless.

In Conclusion

McCain recognizes that the UK market is becoming ever more discerning and cosmopolitan. Variety of choice and novelty in the frozen sector is important to maintain high consumer interest. McCain is committed to launching innovative, tasty and versatile new products providing retailers and caterers with strong sales opportunities.

PHOTO : McCain Pizza Slices, packed in unique triangular containers, come in four varieties: cheese, tomato & vegetable; ham & mushroom; pepperoni; seafood.

PHOTO : McCain's Deep. Pan Pizza Perfection Cheese Supreme is offered in pizzeria style.

PHOTO : McCain straight cut french fries may be cooked directly from either the frozen or chilled state.

PHOTO : McCain distribution lorries spread the product line message throughout UK motorways.

PHOTO : McCain's Spicy Wedge Fries feature fresh potato with the skin left on. The speciality product is packed for the catering market.

PHOTO : Spicy Lattice Fries are lightly coated in a seasoned batter. A v a i l a b l e throughout the UK, they add eye appeal to foodservice menus.
COPYRIGHT 1991 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article; Special Section: Canada's International Frozen Food Company
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:The McCain story: Canada's international food company.
Next Article:Tolona invests 2 million pound sterling in the UK pizza business.

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