Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Grocerant Guru Takes a Look at Hamburger Helper's Refresh


Retailers take notice, it's the Grocerant Guru® here with some insights on a recent brand refresh that caught my eye. Let's talk Hamburger Helper! Regular readers of this blog know that consumers are dynamic not static.

Now we all know many legacy brands need a little sprucing up. Eagle Foods, based in Cleveland, Ohio, knows this well. They've been busy giving the 50-year-old Hamburger Helper a makeover, along with its animated mascot Lefty. They acquired the brand from General Mills in 2022 and have been working their magic.

Eagle Foods revamped the packaging, updated the recipe with tastier flavors, and even introduced new varieties. They understand that today's shoppers are all about convenience, affordability, and of course, deliciousness.

They hit the market with the refresh pretty quickly, in about 18 months. This speed reflects two things: first, the growing popularity of quick and easy one-pan meals, and second, Eagle Foods' focus on revitalizing their stable of legacy brands.

Another food reporter recently visited Eagle Foods' brand new innovation center near Chicago. Here is some of what she had to say, it's a hub for creativity! Mala Wiedemann, the company's EVP of marketing and R&D, filled her in on their approach.

Eagle Foods is young, but their brands are veterans. "We love finding brands with strong foundations and growth potential, especially those that might be underutilized," Wiedemann explained. They target brands that could benefit from a fresh perspective, whether they're family-owned businesses or lost in the shuffle of a larger company.

Eagle Foods focuses on the center store, an area they believe is often neglected by grocers but gets a lot of shopper traffic. "Convenience meals are timeless," Wiedemann said. "Hamburger Helper was a hit in 1970 because it was easy and tasty, and that's still true today. We're not changing its core identity; we're just making it modern and tastier."

This message is clear in their new marketing campaign that launched mid-February.

The innovation center was buzzing with activity. She saw Eagle's food scientists developing new flavors, from a natural caramel corn to a Green Goddess Suddenly Pasta Salad. They even showed me a sneak peek of a new single-serve, microwaveable Hamburger Helper cup coming later this year!

"We invested in this space to drive innovation," Wiedemann explained. "We know it's key to our growth and to the success of our retail partners."

Eagle Foods isn't just focused on the present, they're looking to the future too. "Legacy brands can resonate with younger generations," Wiedemann said. "Gen Z loves to cook and explore new things, and that creates a lot of opportunities."

So, there you have it folks. Hamburger Helper's refresh is a great example of how to revitalize a legacy brand for the modern shopper. Keep an eye on Eagle Foods, they're shaking things up in the center store, and that's good news for all of us!  Consumers are not static they are dynamic.  Brands need to be dynamic as well.

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

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