Layered packaged meals launch in supermarkets
Sandridge anticipates Layered Selections to re-define consumer perception of fresh prepared foods
Sandridge Food Corporation (SFC, sandridge.com) has recently launched a new line of products called Layered Selections, freshly prepared entrees and side dishes with an inventive “new to market” layering concept. The company plans to win over the food savvy, yet time-starved consumer who demands fresh, minimally processed, hand-made quality food, but does not have the time to shop for individual ingredients and prepare them.
“Recent studies have consistently reported consumers’ desire for fresh product when it comes to prepared foods, but we also found that prepared foods shoppers actually want the ownership of preparing it themselves and take care when selecting the food that they bring home,” states John Becker, Senior Director of Marketing at SFC.
The Marketing group, in collaboration with key retail partners, was compelled to address this strong consumer demand. In 2012, the team challenged the New Product Development group of nine culinary and food science experts at the company, which spawned the two-year long development of Layered Selections.
Each product is produced in small batches using a strategic and proprietary layering technique that preserves the integrity of the individual ingredients until the consumer is ready to use.
“Once the products are mixed, the individual components come to life, producing a superior texture and a 'just made' taste and appearance… consumers can use every recipe as is or add a star ingredient to express their creativity," says Dan Zakri, Director of New Product Development at SFC and graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. “It’s unparalleled to any refrigerated prepared side and entree on the market today,” he added.
SFC touts that all Layered Selections recipes contain the highest quality, well-sourced ingredients, with an increasing use of local producers and suppliers when possible. Merchandised in clear, stand up pouches, the products are a perfect meal for 1-2 people and preparation is quick and easy:
1. Open the BPA-free pouch
2. Pour into a bowl and stir
3. Heat in microwave or serve cold (depending on product)
During the two years in development, the concept and commercialization behind Layered Selections had to overcome a challenging execution process. The team was determined to master the method of layering ingredients, foster the optimal execution in production, and merchandise six Layered Selections recipes in select supermarkets.
The project started with several ideation meetings. The layering concept became the staple strategy for naturally preserving the integrity of the flavors on the shelf. Through trial and error and many modifications, the team had developed a proprietary layering technique that would translate from the kitchen into large-scale production.
“Packaging in a pouch was another strategy we decided was critical for this product. Pouches have been a growing trend for soup and baby food products and had promise for generating movement in prepared foods items. Along with supporting our sustainability practices, the BPA-free pouch offered a unique and differentiated merchandising approach and would showcase the textures, colors, and freshness of the ingredients,” says John Becker.
In 2013, after development and packaging had evolved, SFC’s operations team executed a 1.5 million dollar addition inside the facility, specifically designed for Layered Selections production. The area was outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment made exclusively for manufacturing and packaging product in layers with minimal processing and efficiency.
As of mid April 2014, six Layered Selections products have been on the shelves in select supermarkets and continue to gain headway. As distribution expands, the company anticipates strong sales growth from Layered Selections products beginning in Q4 of this year.