captain birds eye

Captain Birdseye is returning to TV screens for the first time in a decade as the frozen food brand overhauls its core portfolio with improved recipes and bigger ‘better value’ packs, backed by an £8m push.

Rolling out from this week across 57 SKUs, the relaunch has been billed by Birds Eye as one of the “most significant” initiatives in its history.

Changes include crispier breadcrumbs for Fish Fingers, and a ‘tastier’ recipe for Chicken Dippers. In a bid to offer better value for money, the pack size of Garden Peas has risen from 800g to 860g, while the size of Chicken Grills packs has been increased by 6% for 170g and 11% for 360g, with no change to the rsp of either product. Pack designs have also been updated with the strapline: “The Birds Eye Difference”.

The relaunch marked the first step in a new strategy to refocus on Birds Eye’s core products, which would be followed by a “shift in marketing” headed by the TV return of Captain Birdseye next month, marketing director Steve Chantry told The Grocer, adding the next few months would be “the most critical” in the brand’s history.

“Following a focus on NPD in recent years, which has worked great and helped modernise and rejuvenate the category, the time is right to refocus on our core product ranges,” said Chantry, adding Captain Birdseye had been brought back to communicate the brand’s “heritage and universal trustworthiness”.

On air from 9 April, the new ad focuses on a boy with a wagging tail, a metaphor for “the excitement felt for Birds Eye tea”, with Captain Birdseye as a fisherman.

It follows a new deal with Channel 4 for Birds Eye to sponsor The Simpsons from 1 April.

Sales of Birds Eye’s Fish Fingers were up 4% to £125.3m last year, but the brand’s total sales slipped 4.9% to £490.2m as units sold fell 3.5% [Nielsen 52 w/e 2 January 2016].