Page 5: Product launch
Launching to chefs is very different from the launch of a product for the retail environment. This is because it is not easy to communicate directly with chefs, as this target market is made up of busy people who work unsociable hours.
Publicity in the press started 6-8 weeks before the launch. Selected trade media such as Catering Update and Caterer and Hotelkeeper carried advertising and promotional material. Eight page supplements were produced to get the message across. These appeared in the April and May editions of the magazines, along with ongoing features in the wider press. Direct mailing of informative literature to chefs and other users supported this. Promotions including providing opportunities at special events for chefs to sample new products were set up.
Maggi works closely with the main FoodServices wholesalers (3663 and Brakes) and Cash and Carry operators (e.g Booker). This ensures that distribution of Maggi 'A Natural Choice' to caterers and chefs is effective. These companies use a Product Listing Order Form (PLOF), which is updated by negotiation in April and September only. It is imperative to ensure distribution takes place to meet these critical timelines. Wholesalers, together with cash and carry operators, were therefore given supporting promotional material about the new products to coincide with the launch.
Other activities to develop young chefs run alongside Maggi 'A Natural Choice' advertising and promotional activity. Nestlé FoodServices sponsors two major prestigious events for chefs which involve using Maggi 'A Natural Choice' products. The Nestlé Toque d'Or competition is in its 18th year. Nearly every young chef dreams of running their own restaurant. The challenge set is the task of designing a restaurant concept and theme. This includes putting together an exciting menu. Teams of six students work on this challenge.
The other event is the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) School Chef of the Year award sponsored by Nestlé FoodServices. This was launched to applaud the skills of many unsung heroes - the school chefs who prepare the daily school dinners. Each entrant has one and a half hours to cook a healthy, balanced main course and dessert within a strict budget. The meal must appeal to 11 year old pupils.
This is an important competition since schools provide an estimated 30% of children's daily food and nutrient intake. The government's Healthy Living blueprint encourages school caterers to help pupils eat sensibly and adopt healthier lifestyles. The LACA School Chef of the Year award recognises the important work going on in school kitchens throughout the UK. These awards, together with the launch of Maggi 'A Natural Choice', are all part of Nestlé's commitment to providing healthier menus within a busy chef's time constraints.