” Sustainable farming producing food for their customers now
and for future generations to come “
Country Crest is family business, steeped in farming heritage and expertise, that has been growing vegetables for over 100 years in North County Dublin. Today it’s an award winning business run by Michael & Gabriel Hoey who are both passionate about producing good, wholesome food in an environmentally friendly way. They are still growing and selling vegetables together with a newer, ever expanding business which produces prepared meals and meal accompaniments. Indeed they are now the largest prepared meal producer in Ireland but predominantly for other brands and private label to date.
Country Crest is now actively developing it’s own consumer brand in vegetables, prepared meals and meal accompaniments with the intent of becoming the household name of preferred choice in these sectors. The prepared meal category is extremely competitive and never more so then in the current commercial environment. It is also typified by a formulaic sameness with little character or genuine differentiation i.e. brand name, product descriptor, serving suggestion image, colour coding printed on a sleeve, slid over a tray etc.
In developing this new Country Crest Recipes From the Orient range we had to look at:
a) developing the brand more strongly
b) creating genuinely memorable brand packaging
c) product distinction with significant differentiation within the category
to achieve national listings in all multiple groups, independent and symbol group stores and ensure strong “fly off the shelf” exposure and consistently profitable sales.
What We Did
New Product Development
New Packaging Design
In looking at the Country Crest brand and product offering we had to distill the core brand message more strongly: honesty, heritage, sustainability and dynamism. We also had to really look at how to make what was essentially another ready meal brand, all be it of genuinely better quality, more distinctive, different and memorable. It had to have really strong shelf stand out in a very competitive retail category.
Although an Irish product offering produced locally in North County Dublin using only the best of ingredients, the recipes chosen are drawn From the Orient to offer consumers something more then just the more commonly available main stream family meal assortments. This meant we needed to communicate the ethnic origins of the recipes and their rich flavours very clearly.
The Country Crest “Irish prepared and sourced, in harmony with nature” message was also a very important part of the pack design and brand story. It was essential to reassure on quality, food origins, traceability and the brand’s environmental ethos.
At Country Crest a clean and healthy environment is central to their food philosophy and the way they do business. They operate within a designated nature sanctuary where wild life thrives uninhibited. They generate their own energy from their own 850 kilowatt wind turbine. 70% of their water, all sourced from one source, is recycled and reused. All biodegradable waste is composted and reused in the farming process. This environmental message had to be an integral part of the brand offering and pack design. It was deliberately given it’s own dedicated pack side for undiluted impact. Country Crest are farming and producing food for their customers now and for future generations to come.
The target market for Country Crest Recipes From the Orient prepared meal range is singles and couples with an age profile of mid 20s to early 40s. This target group are largely cosmopolitan in lifestyle and relatively image conscious. They are well educated, well travelled and discerning. A group who likes to think they notice and look for something a little bit different.
The typical ready meal formulas have been avoided. The functionality and structure of the pack is different. It’s not a tray with a sleeve. It became a NY style deli box in which the meal could be heated in 3 minutes and directly eaten from. This deli box solution meant it became an offering which could be merchandised in both the convenient lunch purchase “grab and go” sector and main meal retail space. Each pack comes with it’s own spork (spoon & fork) so the consumer only has to heat and eat from the box.
We decided very quickly the range needed to be developed as an edgey, unconventional, quirky range of “collectibles” i.e. each pack would have it’s own distinct and different look on the front face using strong graphics and illustration without a serving suggestion photo. The only common elements are the brand identity, product descriptor style, brand story and pack mandatories like the cooking instructions etc.
We used contemporized ethic cues through illustration and graphics and unashamedly drew on visual references easily understood and recognised by consumers e.g. China – red – dragons or India – purple – Taj Mahal. Countries in the Orient (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Korea) are culturally extremely diverse and visually rich whether you think of textiles, pattern, traditional dress, architecture, deity symbolism, festive occasions, landscapes, cityscapes or colour.
The Country Crest Recipes From the Orient range needed to suggest an exotic “taste” of this cultural complexity and opulence in the detail of each design, of each “collectible” pack in the range. This is a “collectors” or “collectibles” range in which each pack has stand alone individuality and strength coupled with range cohesiveness.
Interest within the grocery buying trade was consistently enthusiastic. The product range exceeded expectations on taste testing and the packaging was very warmly received. An unusual response in an industry notorious for its cut throat competitiveness and hard nosed cynicism, a success in itself to achieve national listings across all the trade so quickly.
Two new additional Country Crest From the Orient variants added within six months of the initial four pack range launch bringing the range to six.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you create, build, grow or re-launch your brand we’d be delighted to talk with you.
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Kelley SpillaneSenior Vice President | Castle Brands
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Tony Doyle Commercial Director | Country Crest
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