The company, set up 22 years ago by former ICI man Tony Craske, has turned its attention towards a new avenue to add to the company's £7.4m annual turnover. The company, which employs 65 workers at its Abergavenny factory, settled on the Rodeo Joe's concept after researching the frozen foods market.
"We identified through focus groups and market research that there was a gap in the market for a premium offering of Tex Mex American-style hot snacks," says Bryson Craske, Tony's son and commercial director. "We also did a lot of work researching the market in the US and looked at our manufacturing capabilities to start pulling together a range."
The company has come up with three products it is producing itself ­ Pepperoni Bites (rsp: £1.99, 230g), Mozzarella Melts (£1.99, 270g) and Jalapeno Flamers (£2.29, 250g). And it has tied up with other manufacturers to offer Buffalo Wings, Onion Rings and Southern Skins, all of which will retail for around £1.99 (230g-275g).
Abergavenny says its target market is 18 to 35-year-old consumers looking for a staying-in snack or after-the-pub filler.
As well as setting up distribution agreements in six foreign markets, Abergavenny is also set to start feeding Rodeo Joe's into about 500 Co-op stores, Nisa, AF Blakemore Spar outlets, Morrisons, Safeway, frozen food wholesalers and has secured a four-week trial in seven Londis stores.
However, it is under no illusion about the difficulty of the task ahead. "Frozen food is a very difficult market and there is a perception of £1.99 being the maximum price point in frozen," says Craske. "But we believe the perception is retailer driven rather than consumer driven."
A marketing programme worth around £450,000 will include a two-packs-for-£3 offer, point of sale material, an on-pack promotion to win a trip to Texas, local radio and consumer magazine advertising.
As for predictions, the company is confident of achieving sales of around £500,000 between August and December, growing to £3.5m next year.