How Birds Eye’s Plan to ‘Democratize’ Meatless Foods Helped It Spur Growth

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Birds Eye’s mission is to “democratize” meatless foods and make them accessible to as many people as possible.

Perhaps best known for its fish fingers and potato waffles, the company launched Green Cuisine in 2019 to take advantage of the growing appetite for vegetarian alternatives.

In just two years, Birds Eye has expanded the range from three to 15 products, including burgers, hash, nuggets and sausage rolls and Green Cuisine is now worth £ 17.5million in the UK, according to Nielsen.

Birds Eye UK & Ireland Marketing Director Sarah Koppens says the brand has seen incredible growth with the addition of innovative new products and the ‘shift in focus’ of ‘product and product specific’ marketing. mark ”to a“ more reassuring message, ”the mood of the nation under lockdown.

According to Kantar, UK household penetration of Green Cuisine is currently 9.1%, up from 7.1% in the same period last year. This is because of the launch of new products, such as Green Cuisine’s Chicken-Free Cuts last year, which now account for 38% of sales, according to Nielsen.

Koppens says it has been essential to meet the increased demand for vegetarian alternatives and to expand the range in line with consumer suggestions.

“Over the past four to five years, people have started to understand the concept of eating for the planet, [the health benefits of] a vegetarian diet and know the carbon footprint of food. It has all become more and more common, ”she told Marketing Week.

“With Birdseye arriving and democratizing [meat-free food], we provided a very reliable and accessible brand that everyone knew, and we provided consumers with a very easy way to test waters with this type of food.

She believes the pandemic has also “shone very brightly” on healthy heating and the idea of ​​taking care of yourself.

How Birds Eye attracted 2.4 million new customers under lockdown

Koppens compares the increase in domestic consumption under confinement to a “sampling experiment” for green cooking on a national scale.

“Now we need to make sure we continue to surprise and delight consumers. We want to do it through innovation, we want to do it through a really solid campaign story on everything we advertise, so what is happening on TV, what is happening in store and through the e-commerce channel, ”she says.

“This will be our way of building loyalty because we are all consumers of habits. If we can get people to repeat this habit, it suddenly becomes something that they do by default, rather than allowing the habit to break.

Light the torch

As part of this campaign, Birds Eye is partnering with the GB team for a “big summer push” for Green Cuisine ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Koppens says the merger with Team GB “was not on schedule” and came “very quickly” when the brand saw an opportunity to develop its brand image and strengthen its health credentials.

“This is one of the first steps towards a more traditional dialogue with consumers around our brands and products,” says Koppens.

The £ 2.7million campaign, which launches today, kicks off with a TV commercial featuring three GB team athletes. They are five-time Olympic artistic gymnastics medalist Max Whitlock, heavyweight boxer Cheavon Clarke, who is a double medalist at the European Championships, and 400m sprinter Laviai Nielsen, who became two-time British champion at the British championships. athletics 2020.

The campaign features Japanese manga flair across all touchpoints, which Koppens says will help Birds Eye “break through and be memorable.” It will feature a wide selection of Green Cuisine products, with a TV commercial focusing on the brand’s meatless burgers.

Birds Eye will measure the success of the campaign on sales and brand value.

It’s a change of course for Green Cuisine, which featured vampires and the slogan “Oops, I’m a little vegetarian!”.

“With such a period of lack of sporting activity, we saw the Olympics, much like the Euro, as a great summit, where nations all come together to celebrate the achievements of ordinary people doing things. extraordinary, ”Koppens said. .

“We saw it as a huge opportunity to be a part of it, to share and to celebrate and, through our sponsorship, to support these people,” said Koppens.

The meatless sector is very competitive and includes top brands like Quorn, Linda McCartney and emerging names like Beyond Meat, The Meatless Farm Company and Strong Roots, all vying for a bigger market share.

Koppens says it is successful even in a competitive market because of the “trust” and “heritage” the Birds Eye brand carries with UK consumers.

“It’s a mark of confidence. We’ve been around for so long and we’re really accessible, ”says Koppens.


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