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Birds Eye expands fish chargrills range

Since launch in March this year, Birds Eye Fish Chargrills have proven hugely successful achieving £7 million worth thus far.

To celebrate this success we’re introducing a brand new delicious flavour to continue to engage and excite consumers; Sweet Jalapeno, Red Pepper & Honey.

Fish Chargrills was launched earlier this year (March 2014) as part of the premium Inspirations range, crafted to combine the finest and freshest ingredients with exciting flavour combinations.

Providing busy consumers with superior evening meals, the Inspirations range forms part of Birds Eye’s ‘Food of Life’ strategy to develop and introduce innovative foods that can be enjoyed every day by everyone.

Fish Chargrills are the ideal choice for those looking for a light and healthy dinner option. Offering the tastiest chargrilled fish with less than three per cent fat, Chargrills can be baked or barbequed in the tray provided and come in a variety of delicious flavours including: Sun Blushed Tomato, Basil & Oregano, Juicy Lemon, Rosemary & Thyme, Thai Coconut, Lemongrass & Chilli and now the latest addition of Sweet Jalapeno, Red Pepper & Honey.

HIE supports Isle of Skye brewery to expand

A brewery based on the Isle of Skye which is experiencing a growing demand for its award-winning beers is to expand into new markets around the world. The £450,000 development at the Isle of Skye Brewing Company is being supported by a grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise at the company’s site in Uig, Isle of Skye.

The company is expanding the production capacity of its existing brewery in Uig where twelve staff are currently employed. This is the first phase of the business' long term development plan with this initial expansion expected to create a further five jobs in Uig. As the customer base continues to grow, the company has established a distribution centre in the central belt and recruited two business development managers to lead growth of the brewery’s customer base at home and abroad.

The brewery has also begun rebranding, with Red Cuillin becoming Skye Red, Black Cuillin now Skye Black and Hebridean Gold has become Skye Gold. The original product has been retained to keep its taste and quality but the rebrand has made it more attractive to modern drinkers. HIE is supporting the project with a £116,000 grant to this first phase of a long term development for the company in Uig.

Kenny Webster, Managing Director, says, “There is so much more potential to grow the business both at home and internationally and we would like to introduce new kegged products. We are delighted with HIE’s investment as this will allow us to increase production, support our rebranding and establish new national and overseas markets.

“To accommodate the increase in production, a new building is required to house the existing storage to free up room within the current brewery building for new tanks. The developments will enable us to double our number of staff by next year and it will also triple our turnover in the next three years.”

The brewery was established with support from HIE in 1998 by founder Angus MacRuary although the main operator and majority shareholder is now Kenny. Angus’ extensive knowledge and expertise has not been lost as he is now the Operations Director.

Angus says, “Our new expansion plan means that we are now revisiting export markets where we have previously sold our beers such as USA, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, and Japan. This has been aided by the Smart Exporter programme delivered by HIE – an excellent programme which we found to be informative and very beneficial. Export markets are to the fore in our business plan, which will double our production capacity in the next four years. It’s an incredible journey and we are set to export 20% of all production in the next three years.”

To further strengthen the Skye Brewing Co team, Cameron Murray has been appointed through the award winning ScotGrad Graduate Placement Programme. He will focus on the rebranding and social media project. ScotGrad is funded and delivered in the region by HIE and the European Regional Development Fund.

Caroline Forsyth, Development Manager at HIE, says, “HIE’s assistance will allow the business to immediately increase their productivity on their site in Uig, transform their existing team to develop capacity towards their three year plan to increase domestic and overseas sales, as well as providing employment opportunities in the fragile area of Uig. We wish them every success in the expansion.”

TREK launches new flavours, packaging and recipes

Natural Balance Foods launched a range of TREK Protein Energy Bars featuring four flavours and a packaging transformation, featuring bright, bold splashes of colour as well as vivid scenery from across Europe.

Reporting growth of 553% v 2013, Trek has strengthened its position in the market with the recent re-launch of its Trek Flapjacks, which helped add £1.2 million value to the brand and drive it from 35th in the Healthy biscuits singles category to 14th.

With strong momentum behind the brand, the new Trek Protein range is set for a strong launch this Autumn, with Supermarkets & High Street retailers including Tesco & Boots already agreeing to list the range.

The new range will also be available to buy on the Natural Balance Foods website from August 2014, The four bars in the range are: Peanut Power, Cocoa Chaos, Banana Blast and Berry Burst.

For the first time TREK Protein Energy Bars are gluten free and are, as ever, 100% natural, dairy and wheat free without any added sugar or syrups. The exciting new adventure-inspired packaging takes consumers on a mini journey across Europe with images from the stunning Lake District, lush Scottish Highlands, the Caucasus Mountains in Russia and the breath-taking Dolomites in Italy.

With a simple ingredients list of just gluten-free oats, dates, raisins and protein soya ‘crunchies’, TREK bars contain one of your five a day and also 10g of protein to help keep consumers feeling fuller for longer. Each bar is split into three snack-size segments so you can refuel before, during and after exercise.

This format also means the bar can be enjoyed at steady intervals throughout endurance events such as marathons or triathlons or, simply at your desk for a quick hit of energy.

Jamie Combs, Managing Director of Natural Balance Foods, says: “We are very excited to be launching our new and improved range of TREK Protein Energy Bars. Over the past year, we’ve not only listened to what consumers think about TREK, but also what they want and need from an energy bar. With TREKs exciting new flavours, nutritious recipes and attractive packaging we’re sure these will be a summer hit.”

Molson Coors to offer 5 million free Sky Sports Day Passes

Molson Coors, one of the UK’s biggest brewers, is offering 5 million free NOW TV Sky Sports Day Passes with selected packs of Carling.

For the second year in a row, Carling has teamed up with NOW TV – Sky’s internet TV service – to give consumers a free NOW TV Sky Sports Day Pass. The offer gives Carling customers free access to all seven live Sky Sports channels for 24 hours through NOW TV.

Selected packs of Carling will contain a Unique Ref Number (URN) which will access a day pass worth £6.99. The URN can be activated on-line and channels can be streamed to a range of internet-connected devices, including tablets and smartphones.

As a result of the promotion in 2013, the growth of Carling supported an overall 2% growth within the category. To date, Carling is performing better that the category with 11% MAT growth (moving annual target), compared to 5% average MAT for mainstream lager.

This year, five million codes will be given away in 2014, compared to 3.6 million in 2013 – almost a 40% increase. Also new for 2014, Carling British Cider will be included in the promotional packs alongside Carling lager.

Alpesh Mistry, UK Customer Marketing Director at Molson Coors, says: “The campaign last year brought a number of shoppers back to mainstream lager. Following this success, our focus on the needs of our shoppers and a great partner like NOWTV, it seemed natural to re-launch it bigger and better again in 2014.

Pascal Wharton, Commercial Director NOW TV, says: “Carling is a great partner for NOW TV and following the popularity and success of the promotion last year we’re delighted to have it return in 2014. Customers love the ease of the mechanic - being able to simply apply a code to their NOW TV account - and with the breadth of fantastic sporting events available across all 7 Sky Sports channels, every sports fan will find something to enjoy with their free pass from Carling.”

The promotion will be available from mid-October through to December in all major supermarkets and convenience stores.

The Saucy Fish Co. releases something unique to the fish aisle

The Saucy Fish Co. is bringing something unique to the fish aisle once again with a new Squid, King Prawn and Chorizo with a Sherry and Herb Sauce – from £4.50 per pack, available from Waitrose stores.

The latest addition to its range of easy to cook oven bake bag products is the first to offer a combination of meat and seafood in a Spanish-inspired twist on the classic surf and turf.

Neatly encased in a reflective bag, simply oven-bake for 11 minutes at 180°C until the sherry butter infuses into the freshly baked seafood – for a dish of restaurant quality. Best served in tapas style or alongside a fresh radicchio salad.

Simon Smith, Managing Director at The Saucy Fish Co. says: “Our latest offering really brings something unique to the fish aisle – a dish combining seafood and meat, designed to attract time-strapped shoppers seeking a quick and tasty mealtime option of restaurant quality.

"We’ve seen a growth in sales within the convenience sector, and our easy to cook foil bake bag range of products are perfectly placed to cater to this audience.”

This new product joins Smoked Haddock with Vintage Cheddar, Salmon with Sweet Chilli and Salmon with Red Pesto to make up a four strong range of foil bake bag products – perfect for novice cooks.

DS-gluten free adds extra crunch with the Mini Os biscuit

DS-gluten free, the gluten free biscuit brand leader,1 is delighted to announce the launch of the delicious Mini Os into its popular gluten and wheat free biscuit portfolio.

With a staggering 92% of UK adults regularly indulging in sweet snacks2 and over half of UK households now buying into the free from category,2 DS-gluten free expects this new option to be welcomed by the 20% of gluten free consumers eating biscuits on a daily basis.

Exclusively available in 115 Sainsbury’s stores from 28 September, the Mini Os sandwich a soft, creamy, vanilla filling between two mouth-watering chocolate flavoured biscuits. With a 12 month shelf life, and containing no gluten, wheat, egg or preservatives, this crunchy treat meets a number of gluten free consumer demands and comes in a nine biscuit foil tube for £1.20.

Drawing on over 30 years’ experience in gluten free foods, DS-gluten free has used its unparalleled expertise to develop this exciting addition to its biscuit portfolio.

Bradley Grimshaw, Commercial Director of DS-gluten free, says: “Our top selling biscuit range has experienced a significant growth in sales over the last year,4 so we are confident that this new addition will prove to be popular amongst consumers.”

The DS-gluten free Mini Os will sit alongside popular consumer favourites DS-gluten free Custard Creams, Chocolate Fingers, and Rich Tea.

“This Oreo inspired biscuit will appeal to both adults and children alike,” adds Bradley.

“We are investing in a targeted marketing and PR campaign to raise consumer awareness of this new product through both social and traditional media.”

Launch of The British Bottle Company takes drinks to the rest...

The British Bottle Company, which recently unveiled its portfolio, is the first company to specialise in the export of premium British drinks.

Founded by food and drink entrepreneur Red Johnson, the company represents a portfolio of suppliers in three categories; Craft Beer & Cider, English Sparkling Wine and Artisanal Spirits.

Red is supported by an Advisory Board that includes leading names from the drinks industry including his father, wine writer Hugh Johnson, wine industry veteran and English wine specialist Mike Paul, author and spirits expert Ian Wisniewski and beer expert and author of Three Sheets to the Wind and the annual Cask Ale Report, Pete Brown. (see attached biographies).

Together, they have assembled a portfolio of twelve of Britain’s most exciting and respected drinks brands; including ‘World Champion English Sparkling Wine’ as judged at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships, Digby Fine English; Camel Valley, produced by Sam Lindo, who was nominated for IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2014; ‘Brewer of the Year’ 2013 Otter Brewery and Double Gold Medal winner at the World Spirits Championships 2014 Warner Edwards Gin. 

As Red explains: “This is an amazing period for the British drinks industry, in all three categories. English Sparkling Wine is coming of age, the craft-brewing sector is buzzing and British premium spirits are in demand worldwide. There is so much talent and quality here and we’re committed to promoting and developing our portfolio and the industry as a whole worldwide.”

Based in Hampshire, The British Bottle Company provides a full service export facility for its suppliers including market analysis, distributor matching,marketing, logistics and administration.

Red says: “Even large producers can struggle to find the resources and expertise to manage export effectively. We essentially act as the in-house export team by managing the entire process, from strategy and sales to the nuts and bolts of export. It’s all we do and we are out there in the market representing our suppliers all the time.”

Camel Valley winemaker Sam Lindo says: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with The British Bottle Company. This unique approach is exactly what our fledgling industry needs to help us pool resources to enter new export markets. Red has a great team with a lot of experience in all aspects of export.”

The Saucy Fish Co. achieves CoolBrands status again

For the second year running, The Saucy Fish Co. has officially been named a CoolBrand, in the influential annual initiative to identify the UK’s coolest brands.

The CoolBrands list, now in its thirteenth year, follows a vote by a combination of 2,000 consumers and a panel of 37 designers, style experts, media personalities and prominent figures from the worlds of TV, fashion and music.

The brand’s bold, contemporary packaging, distinctive tone of voice and playful personality helped The Saucy Fish Co. stand out from the crowd and impress both the consumers and expert panel.

Last year The Saucy Fish Co. became the first ever fish brand to make it on to the prestigious CoolBrands list. This year it remains the only fish brand in a list dominated by premium fashion and technology brands.

To celebrate its 2015 CoolBrands status, The Saucy Fish Co. have mounted a giant CoolBrands badge onto the exterior of the Grimsby-based factory.

Simon Smith, Managing Director at The Saucy Fish Co, says: “Gaining a place on last year’s CoolBrands list won The Saucy Fish Co. nationwide attention and acclaim, so we’re delighted to remain on the list. It’s a great boost for the strength of the brand to be listed alongside such prestigious company, and is fantastic recognition for the hard-working team behind Saucy. Our ambition has always been to get more people eating more fish more often, and if an accolade like CoolBrands can contribute to keeping fish a desirable dinner, I’m all for it!”

Launched in January 2010 with the ambition of getting more people to eat fish at home The Saucy Fish Co. has grown into a £30m UK brand by providing both convenience and inspiration for mealtimes. The last year has seen the brand move into the US and Australian markets, and secure a high-profile High Court interim injunction against Aldi for their imitation Saucy Salmon Fillets.

Co-ordinated by The Centre for Brand Analysis, the prestigious CoolBrands list was drawn from over thousands of independently identified brands and whittled down into a shortlist. The panel of 37 influencers then scored each brand, bearing in mind factors such as style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness, before 2,000 members of the British public gave their ratings. Helping rate coolness this year were the likes of musicians Labrinth, Laura Mvula and Reverend and The Makers, Digital Entrepreneur & Founder of SB.TV, Jamal Edwards, and models Jodie Kidd and Sophie Dahl. The Saucy Fish Co. beat tough competition to take its place in the influential list.

Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the CoolBrands Expert Council, says: "For The Saucy Fish Co. to be viewed so positively by both influencers and consumers is a great achievement and recognition of the brand’s desirability. Achieving CoolBrands status illustrates that The Saucy Fish Co. is among an eclectic but small group of brands that are providing an authentic, innovative and unique proposition to consumers.

"This brand clearly resonates and The Saucy Fish Co. strong performance in the survey is something the entire business can be proud of. Hopefully the competitive advantage a strong reputation provided in the marketplace can give The Saucy Fish Co. the platform to continue advancing further.”

The CoolBrands survey has been compiled annually since 2001. The results are published every September.

Cafepod partners with Warner Brothers for Friends’ 20th anniversary

British coffee capsules brand CaféPod has partnered with Warner Brothers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic 90s TV show Friends.

CaféPod creates high quality Nespresso-compatible capsules using responsibly sourced coffee which perfectly recreates coffee shop quality coffee at home.

Since Friends first hit TV screens on 22nd September 1994, the six New Yorkers’ lives and their memorable quotes have become intertwined with their favourite haunt, Central Perk and its legendary orange sofa, which truly brought coffee culture over to the UK.

To mark Friends officially hitting the big 2-0, CaféPod are embarking on a UK tour with the iconic Central Perk sofa, so fans of the show will be able to make like their favourite characters, lean back with a steaming cup of CaféPod and snap a selfie of themselves with a piece of televisual history.

Fans can shout about their Friends experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Friends20th. The sofa is already making waves, having made its way around Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Leeds Festival and it will be heading to Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre (22nd – 29th September), Tesco Kensington (11th October) and Waitrose Canary Wharf (23rd October) in the upcoming weeks.

CaféPod’s core range is also getting the Big Apple makeover, with the New York skyline adorning all five varieties, announcing the chance to win a fantastic trip to the home city of Friends - New York. This trip of a lifetime not only includes flights from London and three night hotel stay for two, it also comprises of a guided tour of Friends’ filming locations, including the iconic apartments lived in by Rachel, Monica, Joey and Chandler. Entry to the competition is via: cafepod.com/friends until 31st January 15.

Each variety of the CaféPod core range has also been assigned to the six cast members:

• The CaféPod Ristretto Espresso, with its full-bodied intensity and spicy finish is first choice of everyone’s favourite stormy couple, Ross and Rachel.

• CaféPod Intense Espresso naturally suits Chandler to a tee, the phrase “could I be more intense?” springs to mind.

• CaféPod Smooth Espresso has Joey written all over it “How you doin’?” The epitome of Smooth!

• Full of character, CaféPod Arabica Lungo Espresso is perfectly teamed with Monica’s light and lively nature.

• Phoebe is best kept on the CaféPod Decaffeinated Espresso, a fittingly sweet and mellow coffee that packs a real punch.

Warner Brothers are also releasing a special edition Friends 20th Anniversary Box Set available for retail from 22nd September. CaféPod are part of the occasion with 400,000 DVD inserts promoting its fantastic competition and offering a special 50p off packs of any CaféPod blend from Tesco, Waitrose or Whole Foods until the 31st March 2015.

Kara launches innovative 50:50 sliced loaf for foodservice sector

A Half & Half bread, combining wholegrain and white flours has been launched to the Out Of Home market by Kara, the foodservice brand of Fletchers Group of Bakeries.

The launch of the healthier half-white, half-brown bread provides the foodservice industry with its first major branded 50:50 bread which has the taste and texture of a white sliced loaf, but carries the nutritional benefits of whole wheat.

Kara’s Half & Half bread provides a great new concept for the foodservice industry and responds to a 20 per cent increase in retail market demand for 50:50 style bread by young adults - and 30 per cent growth in demand by young families over the last twelve months according to Tesco data by Dunnhumby.

Fletchers Group head of foodservice, Chris Haddy, says: “This is an innovative product for the foodservice sector and taps into an established trend towards healthier breads, which still carry a white bread flavour.

“Our Half & Half bread has been extensively researched prior to manufacture to deliver a product which matches consumer likes. This includes reduced bitterness, increased sweetness and the texture of a white bread, but it also contains no hydrogenated fats or preservatives.”

Kara brand products are frozen at the point of baking, which offers significant benefits to OOH caterers such as increased shelf-life and sealed in freshness – enabling the product to be defrosted and used immediately to regain the freshly baked quality.

Chris adds: “Kara’s Half & Half combines a delicious taste with important nutritional benefits and complements our existing bloomers & sliced bread range. It is ideal for families, health conscious individuals, adults, teenagers, children and those not willing to compromise on bread’s taste.

“This places the bread to perform well across the consumer board, but also makes it ideal for the educational market.”

Dunnhumby’s data from Tesco indicates that as well as increases in uptake of 50:50 breads by young adults and young families, there is a 24% rise in demand among older families, a 14% rise among older adults and an 11% rise among pensioners.

The new Half & Half bread is a thick-sliced 18 plus two sliced loaf configuration and contains all the natural nutritional benefits of whole wheat, manufactured from 50 percent wholegrain flour and 50 per cent white flour.

Half & Half is available in 110mm x 115mm slices and each loaf weighs 750 grams.

Foodservice is a fast growing sector for Fletchers Group of Bakeries, due to continued NPD and Kara’s focus on customer service.

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