Spicentice – Ethnic spice packs case study
Created in 2005, the Spicentice proposition consisted of a core product range of little packs of herbs/spices designed to give the customer everything they need to make a meal. The brief was to refresh the brand identity, enhance packaging and improve marketing communications. Commercial planning took place in parallel covering aspects such as distribution, marketing and selling. The agency also creatively critiqued and art-directed the new website and e-tail strategy.
The Spicentice proposition was created by Ketan Varu in 2005 and consisted of a core product range of little packs of 100% pure herbs and spices with an easy-to-follow recipe and a shopping list for all the fresh ingredients, all designed to give the customer everything they need to make a delicious meal for four very quickly.
The brief was to refresh the brand identity, enhance packaging and improve marketing communications. Commercial planning took place in parallel covering aspects such as distribution, marketing and selling. The agency also creatively critiqued and art-directed the new website and e-tail strategy.
Spicentice is one of the market-leaders in the emerging ‘kitchen cheats’ category, offering a compelling blend of authenticity, provenance and convenience, as well as nutritional benefits over the more established ethnic ‘cook-in-sauce’ category.
Overview of Market
In 2007, total demand for industrial seasonings, herbs and spices totalled 101,000 tonnes, having grown from a volume in 2002 of 94,400 tonnes with an annual average growth equivalent to 1.4%. Value in 2007 reached £197million. These figures make this ingredient sector one of the most important in UK food manufacturing (Source: Eurofood, 6 July 2000).
Reasons for market growth include the following factors:
• The ‘food porn’ trend triggered by the rise of ‘celebrity’ chefs and fuelled by numerous TV cooking shows
• The emergence of ‘cash-rich: time-poor’ lifestyles, where instant gratification is demanded for minimal effort
• Investments in home kitchens and the joint modern phenomena of ‘kitchen envy’ and ‘kitchen theatre’
• The popularity of ethnic dishes – particularly the spicier end of the spectrum
o triggering attempts to recreate ‘restaurant quality’ meals
• The emergence of a ‘kitchen cheats’ category, inspired by Delia Smith
• Changes in the supply side of the equation where supply chain and web efficiencies have combined to facilitate a number of ‘spice pack’ start-ups from different culinary regions
• And perhaps most importantly in light of the recession, the return to home-dining and scratch cooking:
“Herbs and spices are doing particularly well. With the economic downturn, we have seen the focus return to scratch cooking in a big way – this is evident in the volume of sales we have experienced in this category. Spicentice is a unique product that makes the scratch cooking experience easy and convenient for the customer.”(Rachel Kelly, Trading Assistant for Condiments and Cooking at Asda (The Grocer 6 June 2009)
The main players are: Kitchen Guru; SpiceofLife; Chimans
“In terms of purchasing power, the research shows sales of Indian cuisine surpassed Chinese by £189 million in the last year alone – suggesting Brits are favouring cooking Indian food at home in the kitchen. Indeed, as the current economic climate may be encouraging Brits to recreate their favourite restaurant experience at home, new research from Mintel suggests that while six in ten adults enjoy ethnic food, they are ditching the ready meals for their own healthier versions.
Four in ten adults who eat ethnic food enjoy it at home once a month and one in ten eat it twice or more in the week. Indeed, 62% of Brits said that cooking ethnic food at home is cheaper than getting a takeaway and, proving we are enjoying the fruits of our cooking labours, 36% said cooking ethnic food at home tastes just as good as having a takeaway (Mintel Oxygen ReportsEthnic Cuisine – UK – March 2009)
Project Launch Date
5 September, 2008 at Speciality Fine Food Fair London.
Outline of Design Solutions
Once the design strategy had been agreed, focus was on the creation of a range of packaging solutions that reflected an upgrade in product and packaging quality, reflecting the ‘premium ingredient’ proposition. Thesolution successfully met a broad range of strategic, creative, production and ‘Green’ criteria and provides a solution that:
• Presented the new brand, product architecture and hierarchy of information in a way that enabled the business to clearly communicate the offer in a unique and ownable way that differentiated the brand from its competitors and which achieved stand-out on shelf
• Incorporated black to reflect the premium positioning of the product and to contrast with the strong colour tags. The simplified logotype was foiled to provide a mark of excellence
• Integrated several components – e.g. shopping list, recipe, ingredient lists, brand stories
o in a way that was user-friendly and easy-to-use
• Engaged with the customer and instilled a sense of fun, e.g. the interior of the pack is printed with a recipe and tips for use as well as a brand story, all topped off with an illustration that if you join all the packs together make a mural
• Established a unique graphic language to reflect different culinary regions and flavour strengths e.g. creation of a simple but effective family of icons for: Indian; Thai; Moroccan; Jamaican; Cajun; Portuguese
• Those regions were expressed via a ‘luggage tag’ device which was indicative of the region the product was focused on, colour-coded with an icon to help speed up the purchase selection
o the reverse of the luggage label houses a promotion that enables Spicentice to collect customer details enabling them to build a database which provided the basis of a dialogue between consumer and brand
• ‘Green’ issues were addressed by using environmentally-friendly inks and by reducing packaging (costs and materials) as a result of removing the need for pack sides
• Design effectiveness has increased sales by 38% in first six months; an increase of 158% is forecasted for 2009/10
• Customer accounts up by 10.4%, with 107 new retailers signing up including:
• Asda’s sales forecasted to rise by 39%
o Harrods who approached Spicentice direct
• New export markets: Ireland Superquinn: and Dubai
• BBC Good Food Show 2008 delivered a sales uplift of 36%
• Redesigned architecture and new, clean design highlighted opportunities for NPD leading to a 16% increase in SKUs
• Website impressions are up by 25%, from 300 to 400 per day
• Average customer spend via the website has increased by 56%, from £10 to £18
• 22% increase in visitors to Spicentice stands at trade fairs specifically to place orders
• New ownable structural design has saved:
o 25% in material costs
o 50% in shelf-ready/transit packaging materials
o 79 man-working days per year (on assembly)
Case study adapted from: Design Business Association, Silver, Design Effectiveness Awards, 2009. WARCwww.warc.com
Spicentice now wish you to make recommendations for a new marketing communications campaign for their products in the UK. They would like a full report including justification of your chosen message appeals, media selection and measureable outcomes. The campaign will last for 3 months with a budget of £3 million. A full integrated campaign is envisaged using appropriate above, through and below the line tactics. You are required to identify an updated target audience(s) and thoroughly evidence your campaign tools and media for best reach.
Notes to help you
This company supplies businesses, distributers and retailers. They do not supply direct to consumers. However a B2B and B2C campaign is required to support distributor sales.
Provide a 2,500 word report to Spicentice’s Managing Director, recommending a thoroughly justified NEW communications campaign (using the SOSTAC model) which is appropriate for the British market. Provide visual solutions to demonstrate your ideas.
Analysis of your original findings and integration with recommendations: 35
Scope, detail and creativity of your recommended IMC strategy: 35
(Including quality of specific promotional tools proposed and visual solutions)
Application of relevant theory: 20