Findus sales plummet despite large ad spend

Frozen food giant Findus is losing ground in the frozen food market, despite the high-profile launch of Feeling Great! a year ago.

Feeling Great!, a range of healthy microwave meals, was launched in July 2001 backed by a &£7m spend which included a &£4m television campaign. However the latest Taylor Nelson Sofres figures for March 2002 and April 2002 show Findus in fourth position with 6.1 and 6.7 per cent of the market by value behind RVP, the makers of Oriental Express, Heinz and Birds Eye. The yearly figures back this trend. In April 2001, Findus controlled 7.7 per cent of the market compared with April 2000, when it had 9.5 per cent and was the third-placed brand behind Heinz and leader Birds Eye Walls.

To add to the company’s problem it has also not had been listed in Asda – a key market for the frozen food sector – since November. A spokeswoman for the supermarket says there are no plans to stock Findus food, “until consumers want it”.

RVP claims it has not run any promotions this year, whereas Findus has been promoting its heavily products . An RVP spokesman says: “We think Findus simply got its products wrong as did Birds Eye with Enjoy.”

An industry insider says: “Findus’ frozen lasagne and crispy pancakes are yesterday’s food.”

Findus marketing director Gerardo Mazzeo denied the company was losing ground.

He claimed that Nielsen Home Scan figures showed that market share by value rose from 1.3 per cent in May 2001 to 2.1 per cent by May 2002.

Mazzeo adds that since its launch, Feeling Great! has taken 10.2 per cent share by value of the frozen healthy ready meal sector.

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