So that’s who feels like Chicken Tonight. There had to be someone.
Leeds-based brand rejuvenator Symington’s has finally thrashed out a deal with Unilever to relieve the Anglo-Dutch giant of lacklustre sauce brands Chicken Tonight and Ragu.
Short of Premier Foods weighing in with a late bid (and you wouldn’t have put it past the group a few years ago), Symington’s is probably as natural a fit as was likely to be found. Certainly, Symington’s knows all about what it politely calls ‘heritage’ brands (that’s ones you assumed had disappeared years ago).
“Our aim is to redevelop the ranges to ensure they are real alternatives to the market leaders in the cooking sauce category,” said marketing director Henrik Pade, baing the drum today.
“We hope consumers will become loyal to the brands once again, with the sauces forming an integral part of a family’s weekly shop.”
If that seems ambitious, Symington’s will at least put its money where its mouth is. It has already revealed plans to overhaul the look and taste of Ragu, which it plans to move into a more premium space. Some much-needed NPD is on the agenda for Chicken Tonight, meanwhile.
“We have a proven track record of taking on heritage brands, rejuvenating them and introducing new product developments,” said Symington’s boss David Salkeld, pointing to the company’s efforts with Campbell’s and Golden Wonder – under whose name it makes the Nation’s Noodle range under licence from Tayto Group.
In terms of media interest, at least, the return of Campbell’s condensed soup has been well received. But then it’s easier to convince shoppers of a brand’s iconic status when it generates thoughts of Andy Warhol, not a fat bloke in a suit doing the ‘chicken wing’ dance.