The freezer battle is hotting up as the supers try to stem losses to discount channels

Birds eye

Last year: 5 ►◄

Sales: £466.2m (-5.3%)

The battle for the freezers is heating up as the supers try to stem losses to discount channels by cutting branded prices and extending their own-label ranges. Birds Eye, as a result, has seen £26.3m melt away.

Sales are down across all sub-brands except Field Fresh, which is trying to do what the British Frozen Food Federation says should be a priority for the sector: convincing shoppers that frozen food can be fresher and better quality than chilled. It seems to be working. Sales have more than quadrupled to £52.9m, though it’s worth noting that some of this growth is down to the application of the Field Fresh banner to existing products.

This is part of an investment that’s included the relaunch of the brand’s peas, chicken products, fish fingers and other key products. Captain Birds Eye is also returning to the brand’s above-the-line communications and packaging.

“We’ve just launched a new multimillion pound campaign for our coated fish range, with a new TV ad featuring the return of Captain Birdseye,” says marketing director Steve Challouma, who adds that fish fingers are performing well. “Running throughout 2017, we’re investing £4m in marketing support across TV, VOD and social media, with a dedicated hashtag of #FishFriday, with the aim of making fish a teatime favourite again.”

The brand recently forked out £5.5m on a campaign for the premium Inspirations range, down 16.5% to £44.3m. Premiumisation is partly responsible for pushing Birds Eye’s average price up by 1.8%, but with costs rising after the Brexit vote, further rises could be on the cards.

“We’ve been working very closely and collaboratively with retailers to minimise any impact on our customers and ensure they get the best quality products at the best possible value,” says Challouma.