M&M Meat Shops has changed its name to M&M Food Market as part of a major rebranding effort to convince consumers to buy more frozen food from all of its categories.
As well, the frozen food retailer will invest from $30 to $40 million over the next three years to redesign all 360 stores. It has also changed all of its packaging and plans its first TV advertising campaign this summer in eight years to communicate the rebrand.
When private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partner LP acquired the company in 2014 it conducted research that found Canadians trust the brand, but wanted it to be more contemporary, says M&M Food Market CEO Andy O’Brien (pictured below).
“They really wanted to talk about the fact we do carry more than just meat,” O’Brien says.
As part of the redesign, counters have been removed the counters, giving shoppers access to the freezers. Consumers “wanted the freedom to shop around the store on their own terms.”
The new store design has been incorporated in five stores with 50 to be renovated over the next six months. All stores should be renovated by 2019.
M&M plans to open 15-20 new stores each year, with a focus on the greater Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal markets, which O’Brien says are underrepresented.
Packaging, which used to be “pretty much a white box for everything,” has been made clearer with different colour graphics for each category. For example, green is for vegetables, purple is for butcher and prepared meals are red.
In addition, the 35-year-old retailer has launched more than 100 new products over the last 18 months. Aside from being the first national retailer to launch frozen sushi, O’Brien says, M&M has introduced 10 new vegetable SKUs, a number of seafood products, a new burger category, a relaunched fruit category and several new desserts.
The number of single-serve items has also been increased to reflect smaller Canadian households.
To make way for the new items, a number of others have been discontinued, including the “very confusing” Bear Paws line in the burger category and low-performing, seasonal items.
In-store employees have been retrained and are now dubbed meal advisors “meaning they can put together meals.”
The website has been redesigned with better functionality for its eOrder click and collect offering, which has been available for eight years.
“Frozen is the new fresh,” O’Brien says, noting that several studies show that when produce is flash frozen when harvested, it’s more nutritious than fresh vegetables that sit in trucks or on store shelves for days or weeks. “You lock in all of the nutritious value.”
He says other grocers can’t compete with M&M in terms of quality of its frozen fare, variety and service.
To promote the rebrand, a major media campaign, by ad agency Cossette, will launch during the Victoria Day long weekend in May.