Me and My Brand: Stuart Jeffrey on Pot Noodle

Stuart Jeffrey, Pot Brand and Snacking Brands Lead Unilever UK&I tells us about the Pot Noodle family, an iconic brand that has been with us for decades but is constantly innovating and gaining new devotees to its time-saving and tasty instant noodle range

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Stuart Jeffrey

Can you please give an overview of your brand?  

Pot Noodle has been a British icon since the 1970s, and we’ve been helping the nation save time by cooking less for over 40 years. We believe that life is for living, which is why we’re here with our delicious, quick and convenient snacks, that give our shoppers time to do more of what they love.

In recent years we’ve diversified our Pot Noodle range, moving beyond the classic noodle offering and into a completely different realm with mouth-watering additions including Pot Pasta and most recently, Lost the Pot Noodle block noodles.

How is your brand currently performing?  

Whilst the nation’s eating habits have changed over the past few months,one thing that hasn’t altered is the need for a quick, easy and satisfying snack, which is why our loyal fans have continued to reach for our noodly deliciousness.

Our portfolio has gone from strength to strength in recent years, making us the biggest contributor to the category[1]and the nation’s favourite mini-meal brand[2], proudly offering shoppers a variety of tasty options inspired by the world’s most popular flavours.

How is the instant noodle market currently performing?  

The category as a whole has performed well this year, proving that noodles are a reliable favourite when juggling work with home life pressures. To satisfy cravings for a speedy snack, shoppers have been grabbing 258 million mini meal pots off the shelves in the past year[3].

We’ve seen the strongest growth coming from our newly added block noodles[4]. This popular format is now taking centre stage, out-performing the traditional pot[5].

Do you have any new product development?  

Last month we launched our popular Lost the Pot block noodles into the convenience and independent channels so retailers can get in on the action. We’ve designed the range to offer families a simple and speedy dinner option, that canbe enjoyed onits own or pimped up using one of the three flavours – Roast Chicken, Curry and Sweet Chilli,for even more taste.

We know that price marked packs (PMPs) are important in this channel, so we’ve added these to our Roast Chicken and Curry variants, giving retailers even more opportunity to profit. And we’re not stopping there, we’re also launching price marked pack versions of our Pot Pasta Creamy Carbonara and Tomatoey Mozzarella variants.

How are you supporting your brand & NPD?  

We’re committed to supporting our products to build demand and help retailers with sell-through. We have committed £3.5million media and marketing spend to support the launch of Lost the Pot Noodle, which included TV, video and digital.

How important are independent retailers to your brand?  

People typically pick up a Pot Noodle at their local corner-store, making independent retailers hugely important to us. We’re committed to supporting our retail partners, providing them with a wide range of products and flavours that appeal to a diverse audience, allowing them to boost sales and take advantage of the opportunity our top-selling products present.

Our continued support for retailers includes offering PMPs across our range, which delivers a strong on-shelf message to shoppers, helping retailers build trust and communicating that they are offering them the best value possible.

What trends are occurring in the sector?  

We’ve recently seen people move away from cooking meals entirely from scratch and opting for assisted cooking instead. There has been a 103 per cent[6]rise compared to pre-lockdown with people choosing products that help speed up the cooking process. Our products are perfect for supporting this new way of cooking.

Likewise, health has been a priority for many recently as people search for snacking and meal options that not only taste delicious but address their health concerns too. Our Lost the Pot range is a great example of this, with over 30 per cent less saturated fat compared to competitors[7], the trio of popular flavours also has no artificial preservatives, colours or added MSG.

Flavour will always be important to consumers. With many missing out on travelling, flavours from around the world have never been so popular, they want spice, they want zest, and they want to tantalise their taste buds. Our selection of flavours range from Thai Green Curry and Jamaican Jerk to Italian favourite Creamy Carbonara to help satisfy these cravings.

Describe your brand in three words… 

Cleverly-convenient, super-speedy and delightfully-delicious.


 

[1] Nielsen 2020

[2]Nielsen Retail Measurement Service for the Mini Meals – Pots segment for the 52-week period ending 28/12/2019

[3]Nielsen Retail Measurement Service for the Mini Meals – Pots segment for the 52-week period ending 16/05/2020

[4] Nielsen Market Share: GB Total Coverage, Product Share: Mini, 2020

[5] Nielsen MAT end 16 May 2020

[6] Kantar Usage panel, in home & carried out, consumption, total food&drink, lunch occasion, 4 w/e 19 April 2020 vs. April 2019

[7] Low in saturated fat – over 30% less sat fat vs competitors (compared to 44 similar products currently sold in the UK, January 2020)