CHECKOUT: Meet the Makers; Emma Gregory of Nomadic – Love Irish Food

CHECKOUT: Meet the Makers; Emma Gregory of Nomadic

Delivering nourishment and convenience for busy people

Nomadic Foods has been making great tasting, nourishing and convenient products in Killygordon, Co Donegal for over 25 years. Maev Martin talks to Emma Gregory, Ireland sales manager, and Bethan Miles, marketing manager for the UK and Ireland, about NPD, success in the UK, and future strategy in the Irish market

Nomadic has grown strongly in recent years and has enjoyed great success in the UK market, with nearly 60,000 stocking points. “We hold the number-one position in convenience [IRI, Chilled Yogurts, w/e 19.03.23], delivering value and volume growth with a focused range,” says Bethan. “We are also the number-one brand in the breakfast sub-category, and we have the top-two single serve skus in the total market. We look forward to continuing this great success story in the future. We have also had successful listings in Singapore and Hong Kong and we recently secured listings in Costco stores in Sweden and Iceland.”  

In Ireland, Nomadic’s  best-selling yogurt and oat clusters can be found in all supermarkets and independent retailers, as well as in forecourts and some speciality stores, with the best-selling variant being the double choc flavour. “In addition, our Protein+ products are available across the sector, although this product is being re-launched in May in a great new bowl,” says Emma. “Our Protein+ Granola immune support products are available with either natural yogurt, granola and red berries or vanilla yogurt, granola and chocolate, and they also contain 100% of your daily vitamin D, 18g of protein, and are full of gut healthy cultures. Our Breakfast Oats are a delicious mix of rolled oats, yogurt, and either vanilla, raspberry or blueberry. They are also a great  source of protein. And our recently launched Protein Puddings are packed with 20g of protein. Available in chocolate or vanilla, they are low in fat and have no added sugar, so watch out for these products across the trade!” 

A track record of innovation

Product and format innovation have characterised the brand’s presence in the Irish and overseas markets. “Our best-selling yogurt and oat clusters was the first piece of innovation that we brought to the market and it continues to be a unique format in the category,”  says Bethan. “The distinctive bowl format, with spoon included, allows consumers to combine our delicious pouring yogurt with crunchy oat clusters and inclusions for a super convenient on-the-go breakfast or snack. We are now taking this unique format and using it for our new Protein+ Granola products, offering consumers the same great tasting, convenient products that they expect from us, but with added immune supporting benefits.

“At Nomadic, we’re all about making food that delivers convenience and nourishment for busy people, particularly those on their feet and on the move, going from task to task. All our innovation ticks these boxes. For example, we have solutions for one-handed consumption for when you’re on the move, might have dirty hands or no cutlery and need something super convenient, or for when you can stop and grab cutlery but still need to eat quickly and move on.”

 New Product Development

With this in mind, Nomadic has a strong pipeline of NPD to suit different convenience occasions, whether you’ve got to keep moving or might have a little more time to enjoy. “Our breakfast-to-go product is launching in June and this will offer consumers breakfast with benefits,” says Emma.

 

“This is a range of great tasting yogurt drinks which contain gut-friendly cultures, are high in protein, and support the immune system with 100% daily Vitamin D. The 330ml drinks are available in three delicious flavours – strawberry, mango, and vanilla. In autumn, we have another exciting piece of NPD launching – our Good To Go pouches. These are our most convenient snack to date. Combining smooth oats, yogurt and fruit  for a filling and satisfying snack, Nomadic Good To Go is made with all-natural ingredients and is a great source of protein and fibre. This is also our first ambient product, allowing us to expand our brand into other spaces. Each pouch is 150g and is available in three flavours – Banana & Honey, Mango & Passionfruit, and Raspberry & Blueberry.” 

Communications campaign

Apart from the NPD that is being rolled out this year, Nomadic is also investing in communicating with its consumers by running extensive sampling campaigns, attending WellFest and Bloom, and engaging in OOH advertising. “We’re really excited about the journey we can bring the retailers and our consumers on, and we are just getting started with our strategic direction,” says Emma. “We are delighted to be attending Bord Bia Bloom for the first time. This gives us a great opportunity to showcase our new strategy, look, and great tasting products to so many consumers. We are exhibiting in the Love Irish Food area, and we are excited to spend the time getting up close and personal with our consumers.”

Nomadic also has a strong schedule of brand building activity planned for the remainder of this year. This includes a major sampling campaign, where they will be handing out products in train stations and at traffic stops. “We will also be sampling at WellFest, getting 10,000 products into consumers hands, and then in September, we are partnering with Love Irish Food for an OOH campaign, with 150 Adshels across Dublin and Cork,” says Bethan. “Throughout the year, we will be supporting the brand with PR, social media, competitions and in-store activation.”       

Sustainable packaging

Nomadic have made some big changes to their branding. The new look packs, which started hitting shelves in April, feature a bolder logo and simplified visual approach, with a variety of coloured chevrons to indicate flavour, but also to add a sense of momentum. “This new design now gives us maximum shelf stand-out,” she says. Over the last few years, Nomadic Foods have invested significantly in developing new packaging for its yogurt and oat clusters, which has allowed the company to remove 240 tonnes of plastic annually.

“We replaced the plastic spoon with a biodegradable, FSC-certified wooden spoon which has a natural food grade lacquer for a smoother finish,” says Bethan. “Our new foil also allowed for the entire pot to be 100% recyclable. In line with the launch of our new look packaging, we have gone a step further by removing the cardboard sleeve from our yogurt and oat cluster packs, making it even easier to recycle. We continue to make changes to reduce plastic and make our packaging 100% recyclable across our full product range. We are also very proud to be Origin Green certified and we are continuously making improvements across the entire business to support our sustainability goals.”

Emma Gregory, sales manager for Ireland with Nomadic Foods, and UK and Ireland marketing manager Bethan Miles are experienced FMCG professionals. Emma has been with Nomadic for 11 months, having joined the company from Killowen Farm where she worked as their sales and marketing manager. Emma worked as a senior channel manager and as the strategic groups manager at Unilever during a six-year stint with the FMCG giant.

Her time at Kelkin, as national account manager, saw her work as a category partner with retailers on their free-from sections. She has also worked as an account manager for Tennant and Ruttle and FA Wyatt, and her career in retail began at the Dunnes Stores head office. 

Bethan Miles joined the Nomadic team almost four years ago, looking after brand and marketing activity for Nomadic across the UK & Ireland. Before Nomadic, she spent four years at Johnson & Johnson, working across multiple well known consumer goods brands in the UK, Ireland, and the Nordic countries.

Love Irish Food

Emma believes that Love Irish Foods delivers excellent benefits for all member brands. “It is a fantastic resource for relevant market information and updates on all things Brexit, and the organisation undertakes research into relevant market areas, which produce excellent articles,” she says. 

“I believe that the real benefit of membership is the possibilities that it offers. If, for example, a brand is struggling on how to present to a potential new business or isn’t sure about how to introduce NPD to the trade, or is looking for a possible link up or cross promotion with another brand, Love Irish Food will provide whatever help they can.

“You just have to look at the list of member brands to see the possible wealth of experience that they can share. They tirelessly promote member brands via their social channels and through Checkout’s Brand of the Month, and they have highlighted the Love Irish Food brand mark on radio in the past, keeping it ever present in the consumers’ minds.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending the Love Irish Food brand to other food producers, especially smaller producers who feel like they could utilise some of the experience that is present in the other member brands.”