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Insider View: November 2014

Insider View: November 2014

Christmas is the time when consumers splash out on tasty treats. Now is the time for the big 4 to challenge the discounters with top quality innovations.

Many of this month’s new products are clearly aimed at this year’s party season.  This is the moment for frozen party snacks and other infrequently shopped categories such as chutney, table sauces, nuts, crackers and soft drinks.  With our recent Shopper Behaviour Survey revealing a third of Aldi shoppers specifically visiting the store at Christmas time*,  all of the Big 4 retailers face an ever increasing challenge from the discounters, especially as their festive advertising packs a punch. Affordable party food and imported products that look novel and exciting continue to attract new and occasional shoppers into Aldi and Lidl, building their growing reputation for quality meat and cheese imports, perfect for special occasions.  M&S and Waitrose and the Big 4 cannot afford to sit back as the quality of Discounter’s own label party food continues to improve.  A case in point is Tesco’s top performer this month: their Sweet Chilli Chicken Basket (49), an attractive affordable canapé that capitalised on the mainstream popularity of this familiar flavour combination. Iceland continues to innovate, with this month’s Chicken Crouton Lollipops (42) offering consumers a fun talking point that was perfect for the party season. Equally popular at this time of the year are lesser known brands and speciality products – ideal to impress visiting friends and family.  Many have limited listings, often in farm shops, delis, or selected retailers and the most successful are those which offer something truly new and different that match their appetising product descriptions.  For example, Bundaberg’s Lemon, Lime & Bitters (40) (part of an innovative range of adult oriented soft drinks from Australia), proved to be as tangy and refreshing as their name suggests.

*source: Fast Foodfax Shopper Behaviour Survey September 2014: Sample size: 248

Keep in touch with competitor’s innovations – a Fast Foodfax subscription is a small price to pay for competitive advantage. Contact Ann Moore on 01223 492050 for details – we offer appetising deals to new subscribers.


  •  Who says Christmas needs to be traditional? Tesco’s Pad Thai Christmas Parcels offered an innovative take on a familiar concept. (Product of the month Review 141105)
  •  Vanilla Bean Chai Pod – dairy and gluten free breakfast option, but a step too far for the mainstream (Review 141113)
  • Whitworth’s Berry & White Chocolate Shot shot to the top of its category with 50%+ definite buyers (Review 141107)
  • Event lines such as M&S’s Bonfire Toffee Apple Parkin may have limited longevity, but definitely hit the spot (Review 141033)
  • Iceland turns to Poland for a great value Caramel Dairy Ice Cream – which wowed our testers. (Review 141133)
  • Asda Fresh Tastes Roast Chicken Dinner for One in it’s clear pack ‘tasted like homemade’ – is clearly going to put Birds Eye in the shade. (Review 141118)

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