I work a lot of frozen food cases in my store. Sometimes hundreds of cases each week. It is not a glamorous job and I don’t hang out and gossip in front of any water cooler. Many of the products I replenish on a daily basis consists of frozen vegetables, soy products, dinners, etc. It doesn’t pay great but it’s an honorable job. People need to eat and eat healthy.
Many of the cases consist of frozen food entries: low calorie meals, like Smart Ones a Heinz Company and Lean Cuisine, a Nestle Company And when I stock shelves I observe customers, and I know what they’re buying and how much. I don’t have a spreadsheet at my side or a tablet crunching the numbers, but here’s what I can tell you.
Lean Cuisine sells a ton more than Smart Ones.
Here’s my take and, by the way, you don’t have to be an astrophysicist to figure it out.
Reason #1: Better Packaging. Whether it’s Four Cheese Cannelloni or Orange Chicken the LC glossy boxes are more appealing to the eye of the consumer. The Smart One boxes have a rough texture and can peel open when prying them out of a case.
Reason #2: Simple Branding:In addition, the packaging also stands out in its simplicity. The food pics are appealing and the price is right. Both brands offer low calorie meals, but we just can’t keep Lean Cuisine boxes on the shelves. By every Sunday afternoon, their products are wiped out and in the homes of health conscious consumers. We put Smart Ones on our shelf and the frozen end cap and they just don’t move fast enough. I’m sure the food is good like their Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata, which only received 2 out of 5 stars on their product website, or Loaded Potato soup.
So here’s my suggestion to Smart Ones: Update your packaging using simplicity and gloss up the packaging. I can tell you that I bring back more boxes of Smart Ones because their boxes are ripped and open before I get them on the shelf. Plus they are challenging to stand up and merchandise because of their packaging texture. Their boxes feel a little like sand paper. And the boxes wedged in the back of the shelf miss the rotation shift and end up being damaged out.
I respect both companies immensely. I have never manufactured food. I just stock it, but I hope Smart Ones heeds my advice and considers updating their packaging. It may already be in the works.