Thursday 22 February 2018

Bord Bia Awards: Recognising success in Ireland’s food and drink industry

Bord Bia has announced the shortlist for its Food and Drink Awards that will take place on Wednesday, 29th November in the RDS Concert Hall.

Some 24 companies have been shortlisted for these awards which recognise excellence and celebrate success in Ireland’s largest indigenous industry. The companies, which represent the most progressive, ambitious and forward-looking in Ireland’s thriving food and drink industry, have been shortlisted across seven categories including Branding; Consumer Insight; Digital Marketing; Entrepreneurial; Export; Innovation; and Sustainability. A record number of submissions were received by Bord Bia which were then adjudicated by a team of seven independent judges with extensive experience in business, global markets, media, marketing, and sustainability. Below are some of those companies on this year’s shortlist.

Consumer Insight Award

This award recognises businesses who have demonstrated how research and the identification of consumer insight has led to an improved or new understanding of the consumer in a particular market, leading to commercial growth.

Glenisk

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Emma Walls, Commercial Director, Glenisk
 

Established in 1987, Glenisk is a family-run producer of organic dairy and goats’ milk products in Killeigh, Co Offaly. The largest manufacturer of branded yogurt in Ireland, it has more than 15pc of the total market and is the No 2 brand according to AC Nielsen. Ireland has seen a decline in yogurt sales which the company believes was driven in part by the focus on growing obesity levels and sugar content in foods. In order to fully understand this decline, the company turned to research methods. These included direct contact with consumers in supermarkets, surveys, and discussion groups with #TeamGlenisk, a database of 750 core customers. In addition, the brand conducted qualitative research with Qualtrics, surveying 1,000 adults. It also scheduled a week of consumer focus groups with parents and children. The results showed that sugar was the top concern, but simplicity reassures. This led to Glenisk removing all added sugar from baby yogurts, allowing the simplest message possible: No Added Sugar; Nothing Artificial. According to Glenisk, the insights gained were invaluable and the company has seen revenue for the baby yogurt range up 30pc and share of kids and baby yoghurts up to 20pc.

Glanbia Ireland

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Sandra Downey, Brand Manager, Glanbia Ireland
 

Established in July 2017, Glanbia Ireland owns leading brands such as Avonmore, Kilmeaden Cheese, Premier Milk, Wexford, mymilkman.ie and GAIN Animal Nutrition. Mymilkman.ie launched in 2013, delivering a platform where consumers could find their local milkman, see products, price details, manage and pay for orders online. The website grew steadily but in early 2016 the company realised that a more strategic approach could increase its reach. A research strategy confirmed that awareness among potential customers was very low, presenting a real opportunity for new customers. The research identified that convenience, local and fresh quality Irish products delivered to the door were the aspects of the service most valued. These key insights formed the basis for an advertising strategy focusing on busy working parents who frequently order online. The results included a 47pc increase in traffic to the site during the month of the campaign and sales enquiries up 120pc versus the month prior to the ad campaign. The Net Promoter Score, which gauges customer’s overall likelihood to recommend a service and loyalty to a brand, was 63, which is considered world class.

Butlers Chocolates

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Aisling Walsh, Marketing Director, Butlers Chocolates
 

Established in 1932, Butlers Chocolates is Ireland’s leading family-owned producer of premium luxury chocolates and confectionery. The brand is available in over 40 countries and 60 airports worldwide as well as online on its relaunched website www.butlerschocolates.com. Butlers Chocolates is an international premium brand to be considered alongside eminent international players; typical retailers include premium airport shops and department stores such as Selfridges. Through feedback from trade and consumers, the brand identified that premium buyers were looking to dial up their purchases with increased demand for ultra-premium chocolate assortments in deluxe packaging. A gap analysis carried showed an opportunity to develop new products at this super-premium level and so Butlers began developing the “Platinum Collection”. It decided to approach the product development in a very detailed manner and embarked on primary research in London and Dubai, key target markets. The overarching insight that emerged was that of ‘ritual’ relating to the customer journey from receiving the box through to opening it and enjoying the first bite. This informed every detail of the Platinum Collection, which was launched in November 2016 and has proven to be very successful since.

Britvic Ireland

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Claire Cogan, Head of Insight & Category Marketing, Britvic Ireland
 

With a brand portfolio dating back to the invention of soda water in 1773, Britvic Ireland is one of the oldest soft drinks companies in the world and remains the only large-scale soft drinks manufacturer in the Republic, employing 550. Its repertoire includes favourites such as Ballygowan, MiWadi, Club, Cidona and TK as well as international brands such as Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, 7-UP and Pepsi. Since 2012 as part of its Health Strategy, Britvic has been responding to demand for healthier soft drinks through the launch of new products, by improving recipes of old classics and by encouraging people to drink more water. It has also launched ‘Project Fizz’ – designed to ‘nudge’ shoppers towards drinks with no or low sugar, while still offering a full sugar choice. It focused on carbonated soft drinks, a category seen as a ‘treat’ and associated with sugar. It began by exploring how shoppers think. It then evaluated the shopping experience through research techniques. It then redesigned the soft drinks fixture to make it easier for shoppers to find and choose what they wanted. Working with retail partners it was able to evaluate the impact. The results were impressive: sales of healthier options rose significantly, and consumers had a much better shopping experience.

Digital Marketing Award

The companies shortlisted for this award have shown how the imaginative use of digital platforms, either on their own or in conjunction with traditional media, can strengthen brand performance and enhance the profitability of the company.

Glanbia Ireland

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Stuart Scott, Senior Brand Manager, Glanbia Ireland
 

In 2012 Glanbia Ireland launched fresh-flavoured milk offering Mooju and fostered engagement with the core audience of 16 to 24-year-old males across social media platforms. This led to a number of consecutive years of growth and it now holds the No 1 position in the category with 67pc market share. Mooju’s almost cult status among the target group led to increased demand for new flavours to complement its chocolate milk. When transitioning its ‘limited edition’ range from chocolate mint to a new banana flavour, the marketing team recognised that a fun digital approach was needed with insights indicating that the audience responded best to experiences. A highly engaged social campaign was launched around the ‘Death of Mint Chocolate Mooju’ which included activation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter telling the story of a crime which needed to be solved. Online activities led up to the ‘arrest’ when it was revealed that ‘Banana had done it’ to coincide with the arrival of Mooju Banana on shelves. The results of the campaign included a significant sales increase for the Mooju Limited Edition range following the launch of Mooju Banana.

The Happy Pear

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David and Stephen Flynn of the Happy Pear
 

The Happy Pear started in 2004 and employs around 170 in wholefood cafes/shops, a sprout farm, a food manufacturing and distribution business, a coffee roastery and a fermentation kitchen. The marketing strategy has been built on the concept of storytelling and the creation of a movement, rooted in family and community using healthy food to bring people together. The business is ‘always on’ with social media, operating across five platforms, the most successful of which is YouTube, which recently saw David and Stephen receive The Silver Play Button for surpassing 100,000 subscribers. Others include Snapchat which features a daily Vlog; Instagram, featuring regular posts such as recipes; Facebook, featuring up to four posts a day, Facebook Live cook-along videos and a commitment that every comment receives a response; and regular posting and engagement on Twitter. Other digital activity includes newsletters and The Happy Pear Blog which won the Best Organic Blog at the Irish Beauty Awards 2017 and was a finalist for the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland. The following on social media has grown from almost 600,000 to over 800,000. The Happy Pear has embraced digital channels to grow a loyal following which has resulted in successes including the recent launch of 15 new products; experiencing an average revenue growth for its wholesale business of over 113pc year to date; opening a new 14,000 sq ft production facility in Kilcoole; and securing €1.5m in funding to expand its café and food store footprint.

The Little Milk Company

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Conor Mulhall, The Big Cheese, The Little Milk Co.
 

The Little Milk Company was established in March 2008 to act as the product development and marketing body for 10 organic milk producers throughout Ireland. In recent years, the group started producing premium cheddars and soft cheeses made with local organic ingredients. It now boasts award-winning cheeses and sells to 14 countries. The group realised that a bigger marketing effort was required to grow market share in Germany, which was limited to 58 stores at a value of €125,000. The first step was to invite German buyers for a farm and cheese tour in Ireland in order to experience the story of the brand. Following feedback from a buyer who wished all of his customers could experience the same trip, the idea for a marketing communications video was borne. The company set about capturing a 360-degree video encompassing the story of the brand. and invested in 360 VR viewers for the Irish, German, French and US markets. The company has increased its listing in Germany to 300 stores and a value of €375,000. The communication has also been used to secure new listings in the US, Holland and France. Since the development of the materials the company has seen a rise in overall sales of 15pc.

Flahavan’s

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John Noonan, Sales & Marketing Director, E Flahavan & Sons Ltd
 

Flahavan’s has been milling Irish oats in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, for over 230 years. The brand operates in the competitive Irish breakfast cereal market, which has seen a lot of new entrants into the porridge category. Flahavan’s was aware of a high level of loyalty to its brand and believed there was an opportunity to engage consumers and to remind them about the quality and range of Flahavan’s products, flavours and formats. The company established a partnership with RTE’s Operation Transformation, a huge champion for the health benefits of oats. Flahavan’s teamed up with the show to create Ireland’s first ever ‘National Free Porridge Day’ to offer Ireland’s 200,000 households a limited edition, complimentary Operation Transformation Flahavan’s Oats pack. As the partnership was linked to a TV programme with radio support, traditional media was an obvious part of the marketing mix, but for Flahavan’s, the opportunity to engage directly with consumers was driven through social media. The results in one week were outstanding: the twitter hashtag #operationoats reached 1,021,698 users with 1,580,376 impressions, Facebook page views rose by 2,220%, Posts reached 693,159 and videos were viewed 197,447 times.

Branding Award

The companies shortlisted for this award have demonstrated that they have differentiated themselves from competitors by using creative marketing communications, consumer insight and understanding to develop brand strategies ensuring long term success.

Diageo - Baileys

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Grainne Wafer, Global Brand Director, Baileys
 

Since a successful launch in 1974, Bailey’s Original Irish Cream experienced rapid growth to become the world’s best-selling cream liquer. Global sales peaked in 2008, but when global recession hit in 2009 there was an immediate decline in sales and by the end of 2015 the brand faced a six-year rolling decline with revenue at a ten-year low. The brand had become constrained by the niche liqueur category which was stagnant. The problem was compounded by the emergence of competitors outspending Baileys in key markets. The marketing team, acting on behavioural research, started out by reframing the category in order to reposition Baileys in the dynamic and growing ‘premium treat’ category. The marketing campaign was underpinned by the end-line ‘Don’t Mind If I Bailey’s”. The activation included advertising; digital communications; below the line activity through in-store triggers; and a presence at cultural events. The campaign was hugely successful, seeing global revenue turned around in 2016 from a five-year rolling decline to 5pc volume growth uplift and 3pc sales value growth. Key brand health measures also improved. Baileys has reasserted itself as a star within the Diageo portfolio where 2016 final quarter sales performance was singled out as a key contributor to Diageo global performance.

The Happy Pear

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David and Stephen Flynn of the Happy Pear
 

The Happy Pear started in 2004 to inspire communities to create a healthier world and to encourage people to each more vegetables. The brand maintains a loyal following through the delivery of community events fronted by the founders, such as Swimrise at Greystones Beach as well as inspirational health and wellness educational courses and talks; widespread PR activity which has resulted in David and Stephen becoming established media personalities on topics relating to food, health and fitness on both the Irish and international market; e-marketing in the form of internal and external newsletters; and packaging which offers an insight into the brand story. To date, more than 150,000 copies of both of the Happy Pear Cookbooks have been sold with a third set to launch in 2018. The Happy Pear continues to grow its loyal following on social media, and David and Stephen continue to be in demand as brand ambassadors, currently working with SuperValu, Renault Ireland and Laya Healthcare.

The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney – Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin

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Patrick J Rigney, Managing Director, The Shed Distillery
 

The distillery opened in Co Leitrim on the winter solstice 2014 and is the first distillery in Connacht in over 101 years. The first brand is “Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin” which is slow distilled from “oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea” all from the ‘curious mind of PJ Rigney’. Launched in a period of unprecedented global growth for Gin, the brand faced the challenge of establishing a foothold in an increasingly busy market dominated by brands with large budgets. To stand out, PJ Rigney identified an opportunity to develop a compelling gin which could be benchmarked against the established super-premium brands. Guided by extensive consumer insight and innovation, set aside the tried and tested solutions and venture into uncharted territory; the mark of a truly “curious mind”. This philosophy guided the physical design of the distillery with its medieval copper pots on the edge of a lake where PJ Rigney began a quest to fuse oriental botanicals with local ones. Activation of the marketing strategy included innovative use of social media following PJ Rigney on his ‘curious journey’; intensive training of marketing teams to fully absorb the brand which has engaged directly with more than 80,000 individuals at trade shows and events in year one; and media relations, telling a positive local story. The gin is currently on sale in 15 countries and the company projects a rise of 75pc in export sales in 2017/18 with the addition of eight new markets. Brand awareness has quickly grown with 85pc of people sampled at events saying they have heard of the brand.

Britvic Ireland - Club Orange

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Stephen Cramp, Marketing Controller Carbonates, Energy & Adult, Britvic Ireland
 

Britvic Ireland’s Club brand was created in Dublin in the 1930s and remains the No 1 Irish soft drink on the market. The challenge is to remain relevant in a category dominated by global giants with large budgets such as Coca-Cola and newer entrants to the citrus category such as Orangina. Informed by ‘big data’ listening on social media, the brand devised a strategy to connect with consumer sentiment about Club being an iconic Irish brand which elicits fond memories of growing up. The key message was ‘celebrating the best bits in life’ which linked one of Club’s distinctive brand assets – the ‘bits’ of fruit in the drinks – with a moment of fun in consumers’ lives. It partnered with Paramount to celebrate one of the ‘best bits’ of movie culture – the release of Zoolander 2; an emotive campaign celebrating the ‘best bits’ of Ireland for St Patricks Day 2016; a campaign featuring football legend Paul McGrath to inspire fans ahead of the Euros in 2016; and a campaign celebrating the ‘best bits’ of Christmas. Listed among the successes of the campaign are a rise in brand share in the period to 11.4pc (up from 10pc); remaining the No 1 Irish soft drink and the No 1 Citrus Soft drink in the market (65pc share); moving from 25th to 16th position in the Checkout Top 100 Brand list in 2016; and being listed nine percentage points ahead of biggest competitor Fanta, in Millward Brown brand tracking.

For further information, visit www.bordbia.ie/awards #BordBiaAwards @BordBia

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