Goodfella's is overhauling its frozen pizzas range again as it looks to take the brand "back to its roots" and stem a sharp decline in sales.

Sales of the Northern Foods brand have fallen 17.3% over the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 6 August 2011] against competition from Dr Oetker's Chicago Town and Ristorante pizzas and own label.

But improved pizzas and a packaging redesign rolling out this month would help consumers re-engage with the brand and claw back share, the company said.

Goodfella's deep pan range, its worst performer down 24.8% in value to £26m will feature a lighter bread base, new cooking instructions and more indulgent, "punchy" toppings. Its thin pizzas, the only range to post a year-on-year increase in value sales up 14.2% to £24m were relaunched in June with a thinner base.

The company is updating recipes in the six-strong thin range and improving and extending its flatbread and takeaway ranges.

Intense category competition had left Goodfella's "drifting" in recent years, said Carol Berry, director of Northern Foods' UK pizza business sector. The latest changes would "refresh and move the proposition on," she claimed.

Goodfella's is ditching the moustachioed Italian on packs and pizza fairy TV advertising in favour of a design focusing on ingredients. It is also restoring red and green colourways to help shoppers differentiate the ranges a design removed in April 2010. "This saw the brand side-step away from what it stands for," admitted Berry. "The new changes will see us step back to our roots."

The new branding was a big improvement, said Tom Ellis, ­director of branding agency 1HQ. "Previous packaging said retro Italiana but its pizza fairy campaign was all American pizzeria." However, the new design could leave consumers searching once more and potentially trying rivals, he warned. "But if the improvements are backed by innovation down the line, this could be a success."

Read more
Focus On PIzza (26 February 2011)
Goodfella’s gets makeover in bid to reverse slump (13 March 2010)