- With managing director Matt Whelan at the helm, Fieldfare is offering solutions aplenty to retailers and consumers alike
The fine food industry has experienced quite the sea change over the past couple of years, with consumer needs and demands evolving almost overnight and businesses having to adapt swiftly to stay afloat.
One business which has not only done that but thrived is Fieldfare, helmed by managing director Matt Whelan and on course to satisfy the growing demand for high-quality frozen produce for years to come.
Founded over 40 years ago in Kent, the family-owned business originally provided its customers with high-quality, loose frozen fruit and vegetables and has evolved to supply pastries and meal solutions too.
Fieldfare is currently stocked across the UK in farm shops, garden centres, independent fine food retailers, and delis. “Its concept has never been more relevant than it is right now,” begins Matt.
As a supplier of delicious, high-quality frozen food, sold loose or with as little packaging as possible, the business’s offering is perfectly suited to the modern consumer who demands more choice and is sustainability savvy.
In the context of heightened awareness of the dangers of food waste, not to mention a cost-of-living crisis, Fieldfare’s simple yet effective concept allows shoppers to scoop as much or as little as they like – whether they are shopping for one, two or a lot more: the perfect solution to one of today’s most prevalent challenges.
A unique proposition
Whilst quality frozen fruit and vegetables are still the company’s heartland, the range has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of products including award-winning pastries and convenient pop-in-the-oven meal makers, as well as tempting deserts, frozen fish and meat lines.
“There is definitely something for everyone within our portfolio. Always looking at the market and what consumers want, our latest line of individually portioned desserts and party-pleaser bites are proving to be particularly popular with shoppers, as they look to spoil themselves and their families with small, everyday treats,” Matt explains.
As a pioneer in the loose frozen foods concept and an innovator in the fine frozen food category, Fieldfare is perfectly placed to support Speciality Food readers.
“Our carefully selected products and unique concept provides the fine food retailer with a desirable, destination frozen offering that is ideally suited to their environment.”
Popular frozen range aside, what really makes Fieldfare stand out is its bespoke service and freezer frames, boxes and pods – a genuinely unique display system. “Our experienced team knows what works best in a variety of fine food outlets and from the moment a retailer expresses interest in stocking Fieldfare, we work closely with them to tailor our service to their needs,” begins Matt.
“To ensure that retailers get the best out of stocking Fieldfare, we help to curate a bespoke range, plan, fit and install the freezers and eye-catching branding to make the most of the available space.
“It doesn’t stop there of course. Our after sales service and retailer support is extremely important to us. We maintain an ongoing dialogue with our stockists and offer quick and easy ordering, regular range reviews, POS and various marketing tools as part of our support programme.
“Furthermore, we actively and successfully promote our brand to consumers through social media channels, our ongoing advertising campaign, PR and influencer activity.”
A smart stocking decision
With competition for prime independent retail space tight – especially during peak seasons such as Easter and Christmas – indies must take a smart approach to filling their stores.
“The naturally longer shelf life of frozen means that, with proper stock management and care, there is no food waste, unlike fresh or chilled,” says Matt, meaning that over-ordering could be a thing of the past.
Another consideration, of course, is the energy consumption of freezers – unlike ambient items, the storage for Fieldfare products necessarily comes at a cost.
“Fieldfare’s chest freezers are more energy efficient than open chillers and 2.5 times more efficient than upright freezers. Typically using only 3.3 kwh of energy per day, they offer outlets a solution that, even at a time when energy bills are set to rise, helps to keep costs low and maximise profits.”
As well as ticking a lot of smart business boxes, Fieldfare boasts a loyal audience of 40-60-year-old ‘sophisticated foodies’, as well as a growing portion of younger, environmentally-savvy shoppers.
These consumers “are keen home cooks but appreciate the convenience that frozen foods offer and the consistent quality and great taste that they get from Fieldfare products,” Matt explains, as well as the food waste-free and convenient format of the range.
Once the ‘cheap’ reserve of supermarket aisles, the perception of frozen produce has truly evolved – with shoppers recognising its benefits and happy to invest.
According to Matt, “This will continue to evolve as shoppers discover premium frozen and the role the category has to play in their lives and how they can treat themselves with fine frozen foods.”
Having said that, “Frozen is better understood now than it was 10 years ago, but there is still work to be done, especially in the fine food sector.”Click here