Schwan's is attempting to turn around the fortunes of the frozen quiche market with an extension to its Chicago Town brand that promises a ready-prepared product more akin to those made from scratch.
Schwan's is launching a Chicago Town DeliQuiche sub-brand - a three-strong range of individual quiches in packs of two - next month. Variants will be cheese & roasted red onion, broccoli & bacon and bacon & mushroom. Each will carry a price tag of £1.59.
The quiches have been designed to compete more effectively with popular chilled products by using traditional baking methods. Whereas most standard chilled and frozen quiches are cooked entirely from raw ingredients, which can lead to moisture transfer from the filling to the base for a soggy texture, the Chicago Town products replicate 'blind baking' with the pastry case cooked before the filling is added.
Brand manager Paula Wyatt said: "The popularity of quiche is growing but the problem has been in the frozen category where products are sloppy and soggy, and this has further exacerbated the poor image of frozen that some consumers have. The pre-baked cases, however, have a more homemade texture."
According to Schwan's, while the market for chilled quiche is worth £100m, up 10% in value, frozen quiche is worth only £14m and is in freefall. It attributed this to a lack of brands and poor product quality of products.
It predicted that its new entrant would reverse the sector's fortunes and would add about £8m in sales within its first year. "Frozen quiche is an underdeveloped and declining category," said Wyatt. "The market is practically non-existent and it forces consumers to shop for chilled. We are confident that our product is of a higher quality and delivers on taste and texture."
The products will benefit from a £6m ongoing support for Chicago Town and new TV advertisements in 2007 that will continue the 'A million miles from Humdrum' theme but demonstrate the breadth of the brand rather than concentrating on pizzas.