01 Oct Insider View: September 2015
…but perhaps is less fun and somewhat selective in approach
TV programmes like ‘It was alright in the 80’s and 90’s’ are a stunning reminder of how radically things have changed – how much more PC we are in our attitudes and almost puritanical in our approach on social and behavioural issues. Inevitably what we buy and eat reflects this. Take foods for children. A dive into our archive illustrates just how far attitudes to foods for children have shifted in the last 15 years. Back in the late 90’s the marketing of foods like breaded chicken and turkey was typified by brands that included Jetters, Dinosaurs, Chick‘n Teddies, etc. Or they were linked to strong character merchandising, such as Power Rangers, Super Mario (remember him?), Basil Brush, Dennis the Menace, etc. This was the era of the legendary Turkey Twizzlers, shamed out of existence by the blessed Jamie Oliver, like others they have now passed into history. Health and food quality for children was behind the success of food brands like Little Dish, Ella’s and Annabel Karmel, but they failed to establish their brand much beyond first stage foods, with mums acknowledging they lost control once their children started school. Retailers have tried hard too – and on numerous occasions. M&S with Simply Kids; Sainsbury with Blue Parrot; Waitrose with Food Explorers, Asda with Chosen by Kids, Kids Crew from Iceland… but few survived. This month we tested two new frozen meals from Kiddyum aimed at 1-4 year olds. Fish & Veg Pie (32) was the more successful of the two, being perceived as healthier as it contained “lots of healthy fish”, while adults were more cautious about the “slightly sweet” Chicken Curry & Rice (27). Many new sweet products for kids also highlighted their health credentials including Cola Breeze from Goody Good Stuff (35) being ‘free from’ gluten, lactose and gelatine – a key purchase driver for parents even though glucose syrup and sugar were the first two ingredients listed. But despite their best efforts all failed to achieve the positive ratings of those naughty foods from the nineties – those were the days!
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TWO THIRDS OF OWN LABEL PRODUCTS TESTED THIS MONTH BEAT THE CATEGORY AVERAGE COMPARED WITH LESS THAN HALF OF THE BRANDS:
- Success for Asda’s Butcher’s Selection Mini Pork Ribs, 45 – a choice of Sticky Plum or Salt & Chilli –‘ideal’ for sharing (Showcase Product of the month Review 150917)
- Eat Natural brings Gluten Free cereal into the mainstream with their “crunchy” Toasted Muesli Buckwheat, 39, (Review 150925)
- But raw carrot in muesli proved a step too far for many in the morning: Primrose’s Kitchen Raw Carrot, Apple & Cinnamon Muesli, 33, Review 150901
- .. while for Artisan Grain’s “crunchy” Country Veg & Cashew Nut Roast it was a case of the more vegetables the better (Review 150905).
- M&S brings a Taste of Japan with their “very interesting” Crispy Katsu Chicken, 37 (Review 150930), but it was their “moreish” All Butter Battenburg biscuits that were even harder to resist (44) (Review 150935)