By John Saulnier, FFB Editorial Director
As the “Pancake Bell” rang March 5 on Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom, the last day for observant Anglo-Saxon Christians to consume eggs and meat before the beginning of solemn 40-day Lenten fasting period, Birds Eye marked “Pancake Day” by promoting the relaunch of Findus Crispy Pancakes under its own iconic brand name. Very soon the familiar red and white Findus flag will be lowered from the range that, with the exception of a relatively brief hiatus in historic terms, has been a staple in British frozen food cabinets for the better part of six decades. Nomad Foods, which acquired the brand several years ago, has decided to market the nostalgic snack and teatime treat exclusively under the Birds Eye banner.
The expected “new and improved” campaign is now underway, as the marketing mavens of Feltham present the product line as “The New & Tasty Crispy Pancakes” that are a “modern spin on a timeless classic.” What’s more, they point out that the 266-gram four-packs containing a choice of three fillings – mozzarella, tomato and mozzarella, and ham and mozzarella – boast 45% more filling. The price at Sainsbury’s is £1.75, compared with £1 for the soon to disappear 220-gram pack at Asda.
“Findus Crispy Pancakes were an unforgettable part of childhood for many people living in the 70s, 80s, and even early 90s. We want modern families to enjoy the same memorable mealtime moments,” said Alessandro Solazzi, marketing manager at Birds Eye. "The new Birds Eye Crispy Pancakes still have the iconic crunch of the breadcrumb coating, but thanks to new recipes and extra filling they are oozing with delicious flavor.”
Gone forever are the old favorites that Findus was famous for when it was a Nestlé brand during its 1962-2000 heyday. This writer remembers well 1990s-era General Manager Richard Webb in Croydon singing the praises of the hardy range of savory Findus Crispy Pancakes filled with minced beef, sausage and baked beans, and even a pepperoni pizza style offering. Back then six-packs were typically selling for £1.79.
Not to worry, today’s flavor to savor remains robust, assures Birds Eye’s Solazzi, and the product is ready to serve after just 10 minutes of post-freezer oven preparation at 210°C.
"We’re so confident in the new taste that we are putting our money where our mouth is and allowing customers to claim their money back if they disagree," stated the marketing manager.
We will await the verdict from British frozen food consumers in due course.