The private-label brand has reformulated approximately 15 of its entrées and introduced five new products. Kathlyne Ross, vice-president of product and innovation for Loblaw, says the entrées include both global favourites and “modern restaurant-style dishes” that can be eaten at home.
The new restaurant-style dishes include PC Blue Menu Coconut Lemon Grass Chicken, which Ross says would be time-consuming to make from scratch. PC also introduced a new mac and cheese product, PC Chorizo Mac & Cheese, which Ross says was inspired by a visit to a pop-up mac and cheese food truck in Toronto.
The reformulated products feature garnishes such as fresh herbs and peanuts.
Ross says consumers are increasingly seeking time-saving meal solutions, while also searching for global flavours and restaurant-style dishes that ordinarily require a lot of ingredients to prepare.
PC’s restaurant-style entrées are housed in three categories: Better for you, global flavours, and comfort food. Each frozen item requires nine minutes or less to prepare.
Its frozen food line-up also reflects growing consumer demand for ethnic foods, with its roster featuring items such as PC Blue Menu Chicken Tikka Masala, PC Blue Menu Chicken Korma and PC General Tao Chicken Bites.
A 2016 report by Technavio says the global frozen food market is poised to grow by 4% a year through 2019, driven by a rise in disposable income and growing consumer desire for convenience.
Frozen ready meals control more than one-third (34%) of the frozen foods market, according to Technavio, with older consumers and children who favour instant meals to a fully cooked meal among the key segment drivers. The report predicts the frozen ready meal segment will be a US$99 billion category by 2019.
The report also identifies a rise in product innovations as a key contributor to the segment’s growth. “Vendors… are innovating in terms of product formulations and packaging to keep the frozen food fresh,” says the report.