Birds Eye Fish Fingers is undergoing a sea change with a new bite-size variant - the first major alteration to the classic product in its 50-year history.
Fish Finger Minis will breathe new life into the brand at a time when consumers are turning away from frozen foods, according to David Stratton, brand manager for Captain Birds Eye at Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Food. While the product was still consumed by 12 million households each year, he said, lack of innovation was causing a fall in penetration.
The mini variant taps into what Stratton described as a growing trend for smaller products and will follow in the footsteps of brands such as Jaffa Cakes, Peperami and Shredded Wheat. It is also aimed at developing fish fingers as snacking and party food, pitching them against bite-size products, such as chicken nuggets, for the first time. The product is made from pollock fillet as part of Unilever's sustainable fish programme, although packs will carry a '100% fillet' message as consumer awareness of pollock is still low, according to Stratton. The launch also marks the brand's first move away from its traditional box format. Instead, Minis will be available in a 300g bag of 18 fingers (rsp: £1.79). Larger bags for Iceland and Farm Foods will be developed later in the year and Unilever is also considering moving into resealable bags in the future.
A £1m campaign will support the launch, with buy-one-get-one-free offers and half-price deals running from next month. It will also benefit from a proposed £18m campaign for the Birds Eye brand.
Birds Eye is also strengthening its frozen burger brand with two premium variants. Hot & Spicy and Barbeque quarter pounders will be backed by a £1m marketing campaign.
Stefan Chomka