By Lucy Frodsham, Product Developer in the Delicious Food Team
What can we expect to be eating from Co-op this Christmas?
Everything! We have a fantastic range of products this year, from exciting first-to-market concepts like our ClemenThyme Profiteroles and some incredible new party food including Coconut Chilli Prawns and Asian Style Chicken Lollipops.
We also have quality classics and customer favourites back by popular demand. Our Baking Camembert and Irresistible White Forest Meringue are returning after doing really well last year. Our Irresistible Pigs in Blankets Crisps outsold our Irresistible Cheese & Onion crisps when we launched them last year – so they’re returning to the range too.
What has been the key focus in creating the range?
It’s all about ‘Making the Everyday Christmassy’, whatever the festive mission. By getting closer to customer missions, we’ve delivered a range that excites and tempts, while still meeting customer needs.
For our core range, it’s about honest simplicity – a classic cosy Christmas, inspired by family gatherings and the hygge trend. For Irresistible we have Jewelled Luxe – which is all about the finer things in life.
What are the key flavours this year?
As well as classic Christmas flavours, we have two key flavours this year, which bring our ranges together and give us a unique offer in the market. In core, our signature flavour is Gingerbread – inspired by the popularity of German markets and interest in more traditional Christmas flavours. In Irresistible it’s Spiced Salted Caramel – with our own signature spice blend added to the hugely popular salted caramel to create a new Christmassy twist.
What do we have for specialist diets?
We have lots more gluten free and vegan options this year. We have a new-to-market vegan turkey-style roast and our entire frozen party food range is gluten free. We have also made our range more convenient than ever with our chilled party food all cooking at the same temperature in less than 25 minutes.
What are your personal favourites?
My personal favourites this year have to be our Irresistible Three Cheese Fondue Sharing Bread – the ultimate in gooey cheese indulgence with three cheeses, Italian white wine and caramelised onions. It’s divine and will definitely feature at my Christmas party. Also, I love our Irresistible Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Marshmallows which are made by hand and have the perfect balance of bittersweet dark chocolate and tart raspberry – perfect with a warm mulled wine on Christmas Eve.
What’s been the best thing about creating the Christmas range?
It’s so hard to pick one thing! It was amazing to present our range to the press at our Christmas Press Show in July down in London. We had a giant gingerbread tree (8 ft tall), an Irish cream fountain and samples of all our amazing Christmas lines. It was fantastic to hear great feedback on the day and we’re seeing amazing press coverage of our range due to this.
When do you start planning Christmas?
Christmas is definitely a full time job! We start planning more than 18 months ahead which means we are working on next year before the current year launches.
Do you ever get sick of Christmas?
Never! I still love a mince pie at Christmas time. I have even more appreciation for Christmas now I’ve seen the hard work all the different teams put in to make the big day happen. It’s truly a team effort and fantastic to be part of.
How do you come up with new Christmas ideas?
In Product Development we really do take inspiration for everywhere. This year our Winter Eve’s Pudding Tarts are inspired by a Victorian recipe and our non-food range takes inspiration from fashion trends. We work really closely with our Foodology team to focus on trends for Christmas which inspire our ranges. We also benchmark the other retailer’s ranges to make sure we have the best in class quality.
You can find out even more by watching our Christmas Product Range 2019 video on the new Foodology hub! You’ll need to sign up or log in to Foodology first using your employee ID and Co-op password (the one you use to log in). There are detailed instructions here.