Old El Paso sales surge 25% in 2020 riding on lockdown trends

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General Mills said sales of its Old El Paso Mexican meal ingredients went up by a quarter in the past year to £123 million.

The brand benefited from the increase in at-home consumption occasions caused by the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions on pubs and restaurants.

Jose Alves, senior brand manager, said sales increased by 50 per cent between April and July, during the first lockdown, and by 36 per cent in November.

Total sales for the 52 weeks to November 21 are up 24.4 per cent to £123m, according to Nielsen data.

“Whenever people have been unable to eat out, we have seen a big spike in sales of Old El Paso as people looked for something different to cook,” Alves said.

“Mexican is easy to make, especially with Old El Paso meal kits, and can be fun as people can give it a bit of a personal twist by adding more or less of key ingredients.”

The jump in Old El Paso sales has been driven by product innovation, new packaging, and increased advertising, the company added.

The brand invested over £6m in a new ad campaign called “Make Some Noise”, in a move designed to highlight how Mexican cuisine “brings friends and family together to connect and create ‘good noise’”.

In September Old El Paso teamed up with tennis star Andy Murray to launch its new innovation – Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets. Three years in the development, pockets, which have a sealed bottom, provide a mess-free Mexican experience anytime, anywhere.

“For us, Mexican is all about connecting over food – using your hands, sharing the experience, and making good noise while you’re doing it. Tortilla Pockets will allow people to do just that – minus the mess,” Alves said.

General Mills estimates consumers have cooked more than 21 million Mexican meals with Old El Paso in the UK in the past year, equivalent to one in three of the population.