Birds Eye MD Andy Weston-Webb on the food brand’s digital strategy

Digital channels are crucial to Birds Eye but its teams must work hard to make the most of its relationships with supermarkets, according to the frozen food manufacturer’s UK managing director.

Q. As an FMCG brand how important is ecommerce?

We’ve made e-tail a huge part of our business and we believe for the frozen category it’s a real game changer. In the overall market, frozen accounts for around 7.5% of grocery sales. Online, frozen is around 9%, so it broadly over-indexes by about 20%. Birds Eye over-indexes by double that online. At present, 10% of our overall national sales are online; I want to double that in the next five years.

Q. How do you seek to optimise the digital experience on grocery retailers’ websites?

We present [the supermarkets] with data-driven ideas around what we think the shopping experience should demonstrate. We use online vehicles like to prove small scale test areas of interest and then take them to the bigger retailers and say we can demonstrate this idea would work in a much broader sense, so it’s worth us both investing.

Q. Would you consider selling direct to consumers through digital channels?

Yes, but the economics of doing that are quite challenging. Fulfillment for relatively low-cost goods against the benefit of a full grocery shop is more economically delivered through a single basket capturing everything, but techniques and opportunities change. I wouldn’t say never but at the moment the real opportunity is working in partnership with our major [retail] customers to maximise the potential of that.

Click here to read our in-depth look at whether marketers are losing control of digital within their organisations.