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March 18, 2013

IFE: GFT expands Patak’s, Blue Dragon into snacking category

GFT Retail is expanding world food brands Patak's and Blue Dragon into the UK snack category.

GFT Retail is expanding world food brands Patak’s and Blue Dragon into the UK snack category.

UK-based GFT Retail, which has a licencing deal with the brands’ owner, Associated British Foods, is launching a range of Blue Dragon oriental snacks, including crackers, nuts and mixes. The group has also developed a line of Patak’s branded Bombay and nut mixes.

The range is designed to enable the brands to offer a “total meal solution”, GFT Retail director Simon Roberts told just-food today (18 March).

Roberts said the brands will be able to guide consumers through the entire Oriental or Asian meal experience.

“AB want to concentrate on their core products. But they felt that through a partnership with ourselves they would be able to offer the complete meal experience, all the way from having your prawn crackers for the starter, to the dipping sauces then through to the meals and cooking sauces,” Roberts explains.

Speaking at this year’s IFE exhibition in London, Roberts said the expansion into the snacking category would also enable the brands to enter new areas in the retail arena.

“We can get the Patak’s and the Blue Dragon brands into areas where they don’t currently have any presence, such as vending and out-of-home and on premise, where the Patak’s and Blue Dragon brands will be very strong incentives for people to move into the market … The whole purpose of the launch for AB is to ensure that their brand is seen in much more places, so the visibility of the Patak’s and Blue Dragon brands will increase, which will hopefully have a good effect on their core products.”

In supermarkets, the snacking lines will be available in two areas: the worldfoods area – where the brands already sit – and the snacks fixture. “At the moment the snacking fixture is worth something like GBP2.3bn, just within the multiple grocers. We want to be the first non-potato brand within that fixture. There aren’t any other brands in the non-potato snack fixture that have a combined above-the-line spend of GBP8m. That spend is already part of AB and we are going to be catching the tail end of that.”

Significantly, Roberts suggests the company is spared the need to educate consumers because they are already familiar with the Blue Dragon messaging. “Having the strength of the AB brands behind us is a very, very strong incentive.”

GFT launched the products six weeks ago and IFE is the first time they have been shown outside the trade, Roberts says. The group has already secured listings in Tesco, Morrisons and Booker for its prawn crackers. GFT is also pursuing “some strong export leads” with distributors that have an existing relationship with ABF.

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