Taking a flexible and targeted approach to innovation, balanced with the rationalisation of its portfolio, frozen food giant Birds Eye has been able to capitalise on the dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour during the pandemic.
Since the first lockdown in March 2020 there have been, for example, more than 10 billion at-home lunches. Fuelled by the shift to remote working and school closures, the UK spent an additional £130m on frozen food during the early weeks of the spring lockdown alone, according to the British Frozen Food Federation and Kantar.
Faced with a booming market and a very real need to protect its supply chain, Birds Eye made the “strategic decision” to rationalise its range, pause some new product development and prioritise hero products, such as potato waffles, fish fingers and chicken dippers.
“We tried to prioritise what we were manufacturing to get rid of the slightly less fast-selling SKUs [stock keeping units] so we could run the lines as much as possible on those firm favourites,” explains UK and Ireland marketing director, Sarah Koppens.