Unilever backs SteamFresh in frozen food revival

Unilever is putting its SteamFresh healthy-eating brand at the heart of its £60m strategy to reinvent Birds Eye frozen food.

The FMCG giant is backing the SteamFresh range with a £7m advertising spend. An autumn campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, is likely to emphasise the brand's health qualities and the fact that it takes just three minutes to prepare in the microwave.

Two variants, SteamFresh Ready Meals and SteamFresh Fish, are being introduced into supermarkets this month, to add to the existing SteamFresh Vegetables range launched in April. Television, press and radio activity supporting the new lines will break at the end of October

Sales of frozen food have been declining as consumers look for fresh alternatives. Global sales of Birds Eye branded frozen products fell from $405m (£227m) in 2001 to $341m (£191m) in 2003. Unilever announced plans to reinvent the brand, including a revamp of its logo, in April this year (Marketing, 12 February).

Separately, Unilever issued a surprise profits warning on Monday after poor weather in Northern Europe hit its ice-cream and iced-tea brands.

It plans to give extra marketing support to its leading brands in the final months of 2004.

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