Wayne Greensmith Head of Category Marketing, Adelie Foods

Urban Eat, Britain’s number one sandwich brand, has unveiled four new ranges and a fresh look. The new line-up offers consumers ‘Food with Attitude,’ tapping into the latest food trends and broadening its appeal with innovative recipes and flavours including all-new Street Food and Deli Ranges.

Wayne Greensmith, Head of Category Marketing at Adelie Foods spoke to Wholesale Manager.

How important are wholesalers and independent retailers to Urban Eat sales?

Given food to go’s exponential growth, it’s a hugely important channel and set to continue growing. Alongside core sandwiches, retailers can boost food to go sales by focusing on hot food, wraps, salads and meat free.

How are you helping wholesalers and independent retailers?

Our mission is to change retailer and consumer perceptions, so food to go is viewed as a quality option. Ultimately our aim is to be the number one food to go provider. Our products stand out on their own, but our category team can advise on merchandising and POS. We also support retailers by educating them on dietary trends and ensuring our on-pack message is clear.

When was the Urban Eat range launched? What is their shelf life?

The brand will be 10 years old in 2020. Our rebrand went live in August of this year and we are delighted with the feedback received so far. We’ve extended over 95% of our sandwich range’s shelf life to four days, without compromising quality.

Which wholesalers are Urban Eat stocked in? Which is your biggest SKU’s?

We sell Urban Eat through major wholesalers. Our products are also available in McColl’s and independent stores. Our Roots range has seen massive success with meat reducers, but our top sellers remain the classic combinations.

You’ve launched four new ranges. What’s in them?

Our new Urban Eat portfolio addresses changing consumer missions, appealing to a wider demographic and reflecting food trends. Urban Eat Core includes the Urban Eat favourites and classic flavours, plus a new premium range and a CQUIN-compliant light range with healthy options under 400 calories. The range also includes more salads and vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and halal.

Urban Eat Deli is a broad mix of coffee shop-inspired hot and cold deli products, including toasties and paninis, new additions like the Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel and a range of hot boxes, cold eat sandwiches and salads. Urban Eat Street is a new collection of innovative, flavoursome products including Bacon naan, Vegan Bean Burrito and Mozzarella & Tomato topped Flatbread. Urban Eat Roots is a popular range of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and wraps with punchy flavours and quirky names.

What are the big trends in shop-bought sandwiches?

Consumers want choice and are willing to pay for it. They are dissuaded from purchasing cheaper food to go; a 99p sandwich is a huge turn off. Sandwiches delivering taste and quality, from brands they know and trust, perform much better.

Vegan and vegetarian food is particularly popular with younger consumers, although more and more people want to reduce meat. With so many food to go opportunities, consumers are looking for something a little different, hence our new Street range, incorporating flavours from around the world.

As demand increases for hot eats, our Deli range incorporates more options than ever, including toasties and hot boxes. Snacking remains a key trend with more people eating little and often, hence our new snack pots.

How big in value are plant-based sandwiches?

Veganism is now a mainstream choice and some of our bestsellers are from our Roots vegan range. Not having a vegan offering is no longer an option for brands wanting to remain relevant. We also offer products for other dietary requirements including gluten-free and halal.

How have you made your sandwiches healthier?

We’ve worked incredibly hard on our Light Choice sandwiches, all under 400 calories and with no ‘red’ nutritionals. According to various data sources 47% of people are trying to reduce their fat intake and 30% look to cut sugar.

How big is the breakfast opportunity for Urban Eat?

Thanks to a sharp rise in out of home, café and retail outlets offering breakfast options, competition is fierce and consumers less loyal. For independent retailers, it’s more important than ever to offer breakfast offerings to eat immediately, or heat in-store or at work.

Customers are willing to pay more for lunchtime meal deals so there’s no reason retailers can’t introduce a breakfast equivalent, combining hot drinks or smoothies with a breakfast choice. Consumers don’t have time for lunch breaks, so get your breakfast offer right and they’re likely to buy lunch then too.

How sustainable is your packaging?

We’re continually striving to reduce our environmental impact. Our board comes from managed forests and our cartons are widely recycled.

What above the line support are you giving your products?

We’ve recently had a big social media push, increasing awareness and introducing our new collection.

Any ‘Christmas specials’ on the way?

Last year our first vegan version was a huge success. This year we’re offering a mix of traditional and new formats including Turkey Feast, Vegan Feast and Turkey Bacon & Stuffing Sandwich, Brie & Caramelised Onion Wrap and Pigs Under Blanket Panini, in fresh-look festive packaging, available from November.