Canadian consumer packaged food company Maple Leaf Foods is launching a line of hot dogs, hams, sliced meats and bacon made with natural ingredients, all under its Schneiders brand.
The product line, called Country Naturals, is made only with authentic and recognizable ingredients like lemon juice, sea salt celery extract and vinegar – all of which are clearly labeled on the front of each package instead of the on the back, as is custom.
Development of the new line was driven by a considerable amount of consumer insight research that showed consumers want good quality food and want to know what’s in their food, said Stephen Graham, Maple Leaf’s chief marketing officer.
“We said ‘Why don’t we take the ingredients off the back and put it right on the front?’… because it’s one thing to say you’re natural, it’s another one to prove it,” he said of the packaging.
Over the last 18 months, Maple Leaf has put a greater emphasis on the health and convenience aspects of products across many of its brands. At this time last year, the company launched Maple Leaf Natural Selections deli meats that are also filler- and preservative-free.
Graham said consumers could expect to see similar product launches and revamps in the coming months. “This is not the end, it’s the beginning,” he said.
As surveys show more Canadians wanting to eat healthier, companies are following suit by introducing or modifying product lines that incorporate natural ingredients.
In January 2010, McCain Foods relaunched products in its frozen food portfolio to include simpler ingredients that consumers can find at home as part of the company’s “It’s All Good” commitment.
“We’ve looked at what everybody has done, and there’s no question there’s a trend,” Maple Leaf’s Graham said.
Maple Leaf Foods is supporting the line with a 30-second television commercial from John St. that launches today, and focuses on the wholesome ingredients that go into the making of each product, while “What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield plays in the background (although ad features a version performed by Canadian musicians).
“It’s a grounded choice, it’s a back-to-basics good choice so we wanted the feel [of the ad] to have that importance to it and that’s why we used the music that has the emotional connection,” said Graham.
When it came time to pick a song for the commercial, Graham said there were several options, but they felt the line “there’s something’s happening here” helped “signal we’re moving significantly.”
“When you hear the chime of the guitar… it’s true to the brand. It’s rooted in tradition, but it’s also optimistic and forward looking,” said D’Arcy Finley, senior director, marketing strategy and corporate branding, Maple Leaf Foods.