McCain foods, a global company that started in Canada, became a household name with their well known chip products. In the past few years, McCain has expanded their flavor varieties while adapting to consumers’ want for more choices and convenient options. Now, this mission to create a wider variety of products has expanded into slow-cooked style meals that are ready in minutes.
This new range mimics classic dinners that typically take all day to cook. Launched in the Australian market, and based on the results of market research, McCain believes these new products will be successful with their customers.
These slow cooked meals offer a home-style preparation and healthier way of enjoying a quick meal than fast food and other ready-made meals, such as pizza, that customers are used to. Each product pairs a classic sauce and slow cooked meat with a vegetable side dish, such as green beans, carrots and mash. There are three flavors to start: slow cooked pork in apple sauce, beef in red wine sauce, and lamb in rosemary gravy. These meals will be available across Australia at many Woolworths and Metcash grocers to start. It is likely that McCain will expand into more retail locations that carry their other frozen products if they get a good response from consumers.
McCain seems to be capitalizing upon several of today’s top food trends with their new slow cooked products. First, consumers are showing a strong desire to eat foods that are minimally processed. While these products are found in the frozen aisle, they are clearly aimed at people who want to eat “real” food without hours of prep time. That’s why each dish has a gourmet style, and includes the kinds of vegetable sides we associate with healthier options. They also indicate how many hours each meat was cooked right on the front of the box to make people understand these were made with the same effort and care that you would put into a home-cooked meal.
“Dining out, in” is another top food trend in 2018. Consumers want a restaurant style experience in the comfort of their own home, without the expense and inconvenience of eating out. McCain clearly understands the need to offer this with their line of prepared meals.
This direction is a departure from their chip range, which relies on unique flavor profiles to attract people who are already in love with their well-known and equally inventive “Shake Shake” chip range, and frozen pizza products.
Other large food companies should pay attention to McCain as they roll out their new slow cook products. They are an example of how brands can expand and adapt to new consumer tastes and preferences without losing their core identity. Consumers will always want quick meals and snacks that satisfy their cravings. While today’s buyers may be more health-conscious and want less processed options, McCain proves there are ways you can create products that fit this mold while still offering a convenient experience at home. If these products are a success, we are likely to see more of these items appearing in more stores, along with new products from competitors that take aim in the same direction.