· The ready-meal market offers food for busy consumers that sometimes eat at home or “on the go”. Now, we are in a new stage of post-pandemic life, where we spend more time at home cooking more real food meals. Do you think it will affect the market or will the market evolve?
The ready-meal market has been one of the fastest growing categories in the Finnish wholesale market during the past few years and this trend has continued also during the pandemic with some changes in the mix. Over 80% of the Finns feel very positive about ready-made meals and almost half of the population uses them at least once a week. Convenience and a way to same time and effort are the major reasons for use. However, consumption routines may vary a lot during the week – the same family may be a heavy user of our meals during the week and then turn into cooking mode on weekends.
· Covid-19 has changed our lives drastically. As a social brand, has Saarioinen planned something in order to give support or help Finnish institutions?
We have done our best to follow our purpose also during the pandemic. Saarioinen prepares your favourite, daily meals so that you can be unstoppable where you feel best at. This means Saarioinen is here to support them in their daily lives. We have donated meals to those in need – eg. nurses and doctors working 24/7 in hospitals. Also, Saarioinen meals were part of lunch boxes delivered to students who worked from home. We also featured a way for our customers to contribute to a favourite meal -contest and received hundreds of recipes from consumers. The winner will be launched in the market next year.
· The ready-meal market is highly consolidated with worldwide top companies. As Saarioinen’s Chief Consumer Officer, what do you think Saarioinen do to differentiate itself and be relevant in Finland?
Saarioinen Is Food made by Mothers since 1957 – a strong market leader, first choice and most trusted and preferred brand in the category. Our role is to prevail Finnish food traditions but at the same time be the frontrunner of the field. We believe that our purpose can drive innovation and this way ensure that our brand remains trusted and loved, from one generation to another. In Saarioinen, we believe that the best results are delivered by innovating the future meals together with consumers. This means, we need to place people at the center of everything.
· A good design could be a game-changer for a product. Do Saarionen’s consumers have a good response with the brand’s packaging?
Packaging is one of the most powerful tools in communicating with consumers. As competition is fierce, this brand loyalty needs to be earned every day. It is important that the design agency understands profoundly the brand and its core values. Our role is to give Pointbleu the best tools to achieve this goal. We use a lot of consumer data together with co-creation via our digital consumer platform. This enables us to look a little bit further in the horizon, together.
· Finnish people are very committed to the environment. How Saarionen is responding to this insight and providing – at the same time – indulgence packaging wise?
Packaging is necessary for food safety and quality, protecting food in transportation, extending its shelf life and reducing food waste. We work constantly on solutions that reduce packaging volume and impact without compromising on protection. These innovations need to be relevant and appealing to consumers. We continue to optimize our packaging portfolio and have set our sights for achieving sustainability objectives for 2025.