I love it when a brand really makes an effort when it comes to listening and responding to customers, and working with their core audience to help develop certain products or ranges further.
It’s this ‘power of the people’, this ‘blogger influence’ that is starting to be more and more recognised as a means of gaining crucial feedback and shared through their network, reaching a potentially huge audience which the brand may have previously missed out on.
Bravo to Morrisons for being one of the leaders in the supermarket world for making this happen. Back in August I was invited to the headquarters for an insight into the free-from range and how the team were working hard to bring this up to date. 2016 was about introducing more own-brand products to stores nationwide, increasing dedicated aisle spaces, bringing out new ranges, and offering a wider and more relevant choice while keeping the quality high but keeping the price down.
Today, I was joined by a handful of other free-from food bloggers in a Google Hangout led by Stef and Rosie from the Free-From department to discuss where Morrisons are at. We each received a surprise delivery to open during the session, containing a selection of their top products from the range.
So what’s new for 2017?
Looking ahead to this year, it’s about growing this category further and leading the way. After listening to customer feedback, it was clear that people wanted more savoury options as well as alternatives to traditional favourites, alongside more ‘grown up’ and fancy goodies. For parents and children seeking free-from products, they want accessibility, choice, affordability and products which fit in with childhood treats – for instance, dairy and gluten-free ice cream cones are now available in the frozen section.
This is reflected in the products we received – from gluten-free Cornflakes and Digestive Biscuits to Cheese Crackers and White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies, there is something for all tastes and requirements:
Oh, and did I mention, this gluten-free, dairy-free AND nut-free birthday cake too?!
More good news is that more offers and deals on free-from products will be available, as Morrisons are keen to make this a less ‘specialised’ market and instead be more inclusive, especially for families when products may be a bit more expensive.
Also introducing a new look for the Free From range, evolving from a bold orange to fresh, vibrant and on-trend green colour, Morrisons are making it easier to shop for these products and increasing the spaces on the the shelves and both the frozen and chilled aisles.
Something which got me REALLY excited was the concept of extending the brand’s unique Market Street to including a dedicated free-from counter which is credited by the Coeliac Society. At the moment this is being trialled in the Guiseley store – but it would be amazing to be able to pick up fresh gluten-free produce from this more personalised area.
Upping their game
Although I’m very health conscious and bake a lot of my own healthy treats, I wouldn’t usually buy gluten-free sweet alternatives. However, it’s positive to see that for the general free-from audience that the brand are pushing the boat out to bring customers what they want. I’m pleased to see more savoury options (plus chilled products like chicken sausages and pizza) as this is something I feel is lacking.
Thanks again to Morrisons for involving me in their blogger community and for sending all these free-from treats, be sure to look out for them yourself in your local store!