The Bournemouth-based business claimed existing toddler meals were little more than "baby purées with lumps in them", and said it had seen a gap in the market for ambient ready meals that looked and tasted better. "Our new range offers three times as much 'chunk' as one of the market leaders and the colour is varied and appetising not just a brown sludge," said MD Anna Rosier. Based on trials in Boots, £3m was a conservative estimate for sales, she added.
The all-organic Mighty Meals range comprises lamb hotpot, pork meatballs, chicken pasta, beef bolognese and spinach falafels (all rsp: £1.99/200g). The products are ambient, rather than chilled, which was both an advantage and a challenge, admitted marketing director Stephanie Hildon. "We must communicate how we can produce a product with a 12-month shelf life without preservatives. It uses the same ingredients as home-made but we've used technology to offer a longer shelf life."
The ready meals will hit Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda this month. A delayed range review means Tesco won't stock Mighty Meals until at least November. The range will be supported by a £650,000 marketing spend, exceeding the current total spend on the brand.
The toddler meals market has grown 21% year-on-year to £19.6m, compared with 5% growth in total babyfood [SymphonyIRI 52w/e 14 May 2011]. Organix currently holds a 44% share of the toddler food market, mainly through its Goodies snacks products.