Unilever is aiming for some warming winter sales figures by throwing its SteamFresh range into two new areas.
The company, which this week shocked the City with a rare sales and profit warning, is extending the range, which had previously focused on easy-cook vegetables, into fish dishes and ready meals.
It said the move followed a successful year for the SteamFresh Vegetables, which it claimed had been the most successful frozen food launch of last year.
Rolling out to supermarkets this month, the new fish and ready meal offerings are set to be backed by a heavyweight £7m campaign, which is likely to focus on the brand’s health
qualities and the fact that the products can be cooked in the microwave in minutes from frozen.
Leading the extended new line-up will be three SteamFresh Ready Meals, including Tomato and Basil Chicken with Penne Pasta, Thai Chicken with Steamed Rice and Oriental Chicken with Noodles. Rsp for each 400g pack will be £1.99.
The same number of fish dishes (£2.99, 350g) will also be fighting for consumers’ attention in freezers. They will include Haddock fillet in cheese and leek sauce, Medley of Pink Salmon, Haddock and Pollock fish medallions in a butter sauce and Pink Salmon fillets in a dill sauce. A spokeswoman said: “People lack confidence, skill and time for preparing fish from scratch. We’re providing the help consumers want.”
The company is also adding two new variants to the Vegetables line-up. One features a mix of green beans, broccoli florets, peas and mint, while the other contains baby carrots, asparagus and green beans.
James Browne, product manager for SteamFresh, said the brand was tapping into the desire for a combination of taste, health and convenience.
Simon Mowbray