Chicken Tonight may expand into fresh cooking sauces after new owner Symington’s declared “the sky was the limit” for the brand.
Speaking this week after acquiring the Ragu and Chicken Tonight ambient sauces from Unilever, Symingtons CEO David Salkeld said the company wanted to take both brands into unexplored areas.
“We could move the brands in any number of directions whether that be extending in the wet sauce category, tying in with our own dried production expertise, or into chilled,” he said. “Testing the brands in chilled will be something we may do with a third party or we may look at acquisitions but we would want to test whether it would work first. Nothing has been ruled out,” Salkeld added.
The company plans to revamp Ragu’s packaging to reflect its American/Italian heritage and boost brand visibility and will improve recipes. Symington’s is also exploring the possibility of using former Arsenal player Ian Wright to front Chicken Tonight, as he did in the 90s.
Under the deal, Ragu and Chicken Tonight will be produced at Unilever’s factory in the Netherlands for at least the next three years. However, Salkeld said the company was looking at options, including acquisitions, to boost its wet sauce manufacturing capability. “We’ll look to buy a factory or factories that can produce wet products, as that will be a key engine of growth,” he said.
In the past few weeks, Symington’s has unveiled a new instant noodle brand and announced the return of Campbell’s tinned condensed soups.