McCain reshuffles commercial team in product expansion move

McCain has reshuffled its top commercial team as part of its bid to increase its non-potato portfolio.

The frozen food company has promoted marketing director Sue Jefferson to the new role of prepared foods director. Director of communications Simon Ey-les will take over her former duties, in addition to his own, in an expanded marketing director role.

Jefferson joined the company in 1997 from Jeyes as senior marketing manager for chips. She has been tasked with growing McCain’s non-potato business. Eyles will head the potato business unit. Both will report to managing director John Young. A company spokesman says the prepared foods division has been set up to “establish strategy for growth plans beyond potato”.

The news comes as McCain launches Beer Batter Chips as a limited edition product following the success of potatoes roasted in goose fat, released for Christmas last year.

The launch fits with McCain’s strategy to move beyond frozen potato products, into the chilled sector, for example, and target a more premium audience (MW June 8, 2006).

McCain has also launched into the snacks market with products such as frozen filled baguettes and Southern Fried Chicken Wings.

In 2005 the company launched a range of premium deli-style hot sandwiches aimed at younger, more upmarket consumers who increasingly eat out of home (MW May 5, 2005).

In June last year Eyles headed the pitch which saw Beattie McGuinness Bungay win the £15m advertising business from TBWA/ London.

The pitch was called in March that year and reunit-ed McCain with agency founders Trevor Beattie and Andrew McGuinness, who had handled the business while at TBWA.

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