Case Study: Bird’s Eye Frozen Food

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The frozen food industry is a profitable market because it allows their customers convenience in its storage and product lifetime. The United Kingdom owns Bird’s Eye frozen foods and its products range from frozen vegetables to frozen meals. In order to regain a position of dominance, Bird’s Eye should continue to use their own resources for product, specialize in their bestselling products, and advertise to large retail chains and individual homes. 

Initially, in the early 50s, Bird’s Eye has problems with their production, materials, and distribution; however, by 1964, their sales increased from 150,000 pounds to 75 million pounds. Nevertheless, in spite of their progress, their capital and market return dwindled due to increased competition and added expenses due to the nature of the product (McClaren). Ultimately, cold storage was expensive. Because of the expensive storage, Bird’s Eye main concern was retail distribution. Eventually, supermarkets offered the frozen food industry the convenience of large storage facilities. Supermarkets allowed greater mechanization and increased labor, so Bird’s Eye provided them with greater discounts, but McClaren notes “the cost savings from a greater scale of production tended to be small” (5). Even so, Bird’s Eye accounted for over 60% of frozen food sales. Their success encouraged them to produce their own raw materials, so they effectively collaborated with organizations that provided them with raw materials, such as the companies within the broiler chicken industry, which allowed them to essentially reduce any outside production costs and add value to their goods. 

(Value Chain chart omitted for preview. Available via download) 

Along with innovative advertising, Bird’s Eye was the dominant force in the frozen food industry, but the majority of their success lay in small sales to individual grocers and few large supermarkets. Their power began to decline in the 1970s, so they revamped their advertising to include the larger scale food chains. 

Therefore, top management should continue to focus on their brand name. Bird’s Eye should focus its efforts on its brand growth. Subsequently, their growth from frozen vegetables to full frozen meals allowed them to specialize in frozen foods, yet offer a large variety to their consumers. With that in mind, Bird’s Eye should continue to focus on the frozen food industry because if they expanded to other items such as fresh produce, they would have to rely on costly advertising to adopt an alternative image. 

At the same time, they can increase their distribution with other means of advertising, use the Internet to their advantage, and perhaps collaborate with places such as Amazon in order to tap into the online shopping market. Their innovative advertising was one of the prevailing reasons behind their dominance because they correctly identified the woman as the main buyer of food products. 

In addition to marketing to the online shopper, Bird’s Eye can develop ways to market to the contemporary healthy shopper. According to their most popular products, Exhibit 11 shows that their most popular items include fish fingers and chicken, but if they were to include non-breaded items that have a universally healthy appeal to their product line, they could continue to appeal to both consumers who enjoy convenience, yet those who remain health conscious. 

On the other hand, adopting other trends such as frozen breakfasts or pastries would allow them to appeal to a younger shopping generation. As an example, frozen items such as pre-made peanut butter and jelly or fruit smoothies are well selling items. Bird’s Eye has the reputation of the dominant frozen food vendor, but they should adapt to meet the new consumer’s needs. 

Ultimately, Bird’s Eye has to take in account the future methods of advertising in order to remain dominant. While collaborating with super powers such as Amazon, Bird’s Eye would do well to promote their brand in superstores such as Wal-Mart. Because the super Wal-Mart stores provide one stop shopping, consumers have the convenience of a supermarket, hardware, clothing, and beauty supply products under one roof. 

In addition to location, Bird’s Eye can employ promotional discounts depending on the retailer. For example, location based retailers such as Wal-Mart can use traditional coupons or store sales. On the other hand, if Bird’s Eye equips online retailers such as Amazon, they can provide frequent Amazon customers with discount codes upon purchase or discounts for delivery.  

In sum, contemporary shoppers want convenience from familiar brands, but they also need the reassurance that their favorite brands will consider their customers’ needs in order to remain loyal. Using new technology for shopping and adding new frozen products will allow Bird’s Eye to appeal to new shoppers while keeping their loyal consumers.