Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and Schneiders have rebranded their products in answer to what consumers want and when they want it.
“We’ve got a unique opportunity to drive category growth across our entire prepared meats portfolio,” says Adam Grogan, Senior Vice-president, Marketing and Innovation for both companies.
The change follows extensive research on consumer behaviour and demand. It is grounded in the companies’ largest-ever research project which showed consumers are increasingly interested in their food and its production and are seeking responsible food options. Grogan says the research shows consumers opt for healthier foods at the beginning of the week, but that behaviour changes to more indulgent choices by Friday – to go with a glass of wine or entertaining.
The Maple Leaf brand will focus on consumers who are interested in healthier products, while its subsidiary, Schneiders, will target consumers who seek more pleasurable food experiences, like charcuteries they might want to offer friends on the weekend.
“The trend toward consumers expecting more from their food is pretty apparent,” says Grogan adding that consumers expect honesty, transparency and trustworthiness, and want food that’s real. The company has taken out all artificial preservatives, flavours, colours, and sweeteners from its protein products.
Maple Leaf’s new food manifesto underpins this shift to natural, simpler ingredients and takes it one step further, with a commitment to the environment, animal care and food security.
Grogan says this is the single biggest marketing initiative in the history of the Maple Leaf brand. It is expected to reach 99 per cent of all consumers in Canada, hitting them with at least 70 messages over the course of an aggressive multi-phased national campaign that runs to the end of this year and includes television, digital, print and billboards.
For its part, Schneiders is taking up the artisanal banner in its brand, drawing on the notions of “old world” methods – like traditional hardwood smoking – and the use of 128-year-old recipes and premium cuts of meat.
Schneiders conducted blind taste tests of more than 100 of its products with a culinary panel of 14 experts – respected Canadian restauranteurs, chefs and food critics – who looked at appearance, smell, texture and taste. The panel drew comparisons to other artisanal competitors and signed off on any product that went to market.
Both companies have introduced new packaging. Canadians will now find a refreshed Maple Leaf brand in grocery stores, including a new logo, packaging design, and more prominent, easy-to-read ingredient lists. Schneiders has started rolling out new packaging that features photos of enticing food next to its recently redesigned “Dutch girl” logo. Canadians will also find Schneiders at various community events across the country this summer and autumn.