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Pemford: Nielsen provides research tool that captures 70% of British FF market.

Pemford: Nielsen Provides Research Tool That Captures 70% of British FF Market

Would you believe nobody has ever tracked the retail movement of frozen food in the United Kingdom before? At least not for publication. A.C. Nielsen is out to change that with the Nielsen Frozen Food Service.

"The new service captures over 70% of the frozen food market to an absolute measurement of products entering retailers," Mike Pemford, spokesman for the research firm, told delegates attending the World Frozen Food Congress in Nice, France, last summer.

That's not the same as measuring sales out from retail stores, Pemford conceded. Other sources of information, such as EPOS scanning, are needed. But Nielsen "provides for the first time a comprehensive and realistic measurement of all brands, all types, all flavors and all sizes accurately."

Nielsen's service isn't based on random sampling, but on actual shipment tapes from major British grocery groups and three key freezer center outlets. As of last April, Nielsen had recorded a year's worth of data on movement of products valued at Pounds 1.49 billion overall, compared with Birds Eye Wall's estimate of a total retail FF market worth Pounds 1.643 billion in 1986.

Pemford said the Nielsen service offers distinct advantages, above and beyond the mere assemblage of overall data on the retail frozen food market.

"Manufacturers and retailers need no longer ponder over the problems of audit space, i.e., the two weeks between start and completion of any audit," he explained. "The Nielsen Frozen Food Service monitors on a four-week basis, closing when the shop is shut on Saturday and starting again when it opens the following Monday. The innovation continues with a breakdown of those four weeks into weekly components, bringing for the first time to the marketplace information on this short time span."

This means that manufacturers and retailers can not only judge the performance of their promotional campaigns, but study it on a week-to-week basis, without the confusion previously caused by "gray" areas in audit periods. Moreover, advertising activity can also be monitored, from the first burst in any week through different weights for subsequent periods.

Because the Nielsen system doesn't depend on manual auditing, all types of FF and all brands can be covered relatively cheaply. Birds Eye sweet and sour vegetable and wild rice (312 g) can thus be compared directly to Findus cauliflower florets with cheddar sauce (9 oz.) without any fear of inaccuracy, Pemford said. In showing the distribution of such brands by major accounts, Nielsen promises to make marketing patterns easily identifiable and brings a realistic picture of them to clients for the first time.

Only raw frozen meat products are excluded from the Nielsen service, he said; otherwise, its coverage is complete from potato products to ready meals. Freezer centers account for a great deal of the frozen meat sales, and for sales of bulk frozen food generally -- that's the reason they are losing ground compared to conventional supermarkets. Among those supermarkets, innovation seems to be strongest in potato products, with such new introductions as potato waffles in addition to variations in chips.

Pemford also offered a primer on Direct Product Profitability, a system for measuring how much each product contributes to profits based on both revenue and expenses (storage, stocking, display, etc.) related to that specific product. And he raised the common problem of processors with innovative frozen products: getting retailers to take them, even when research indicates they should succeed. Perhaps DPP projections favorable to such new products will help, he said.
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Title Annotation:Mike Pemford; Nielsen Frozen Food Service; frozen food
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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