Why the Iceland cookery series could work so well…

Iceland has gently been challenging its own position over the last couple of years. With the increasingly discerning household budgets and the rise of the budget supermarket, all the regular high street food shops are having to look in the mirror and ask some difficult questions.

Iceland has traditionally been the food destination for the uninspired; the very limited budget and the time limited mum. This is a position which has served Iceland well, but with the simultaneous rise in celebrity chef leadership; the ‘you-can-do-this-at-home’ value system; supermarkets moving towards featuring more ‘real’ people in their advertising and more and more people spending their money in budget supermarkets, Iceland has had to move with the times. Stores are being refurbished, provenance is more transparent and the sourcing of food more discerning, plus the target market is being extended with wider and more luxurious product lines, including lobster tails, a wider seafood and fish selection, plus more fruit and veg than ever before.

TV Chef and Restaurateur Simon Rimmer is currently helping a family Eat the Week on Channel 4, sponsored by Iceland. But this is more than just a casual sponsorship by Iceland. Here, they are completely repositioning themselves by aligning the brand with inspiration, healthy eating, convenience, ‘you can do it at home’ – and with the limited family budget still central to its message.

This is a brilliant strategic move for them as long as they continue to underpin this positioning through all their other activity; advertising, website with recipe suggestions and nutritional information, recipe cards in store, plus a forum for busy or budget-driven mums (and others!) who need peer support in the kitchen. At grass roots level, Iceland should also be present at key food festivals, with a Lidl-style market stall (remember the Lidl Surprises TV campaign 2 years ago?) offering tasters made from their freezers, with speakers on sourcing food at food shows and on talk shows, plus an omnipresent PR presence in the foodie mags.

A brilliant marketing drive to change and then reinforce Iceland’s positioning – as long as they can maintain this for another couple of years. M&S gave us the ultimate positioning in expectation and food quality. Let’s see if Iceland can do the same with inspiration and budget and achieve more than Jamie managed for Sainsbury’s…

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