The strategy behind the overhaul is to get consumers thinking of M&M as a destination for convenient, frozen, but still high quality meals during the week rather than just the place to buy boxes of burgers and Nanaimo bars for birthday parties and picnics. The mission is spelled out in the new brand promise: Helping you make real food for real life.
“It is a brand promise that we are using as our north star for everything we do as far as bringing our brand to life,” said Allan Lindsay, vice-president marketing and technical services. “It’s really to articulate that first and foremost we are here to help [customers] put meals on the table that they can feel good about serving.”
People are much more aware of what they are eating and what goes into their food, said Lindsay. Working with retail consultants Sklar Wilton, M&M wanted to find new space to position the brand in that context.
“We did a lot of research over the last year, understanding our consumers, how they were viewing meals, what they were looking for, how they view us, where we fit in,” he said.
The big takeaway was that preparing healthy weeknight meals remains a big challenge for many people: more than 70% of households are making meals at home four or more times a week and about 66% of those meals contain something that is frozen, but M&M often wasn’t top of mind.
At the same time, people feel like their already busy lives are speeding up even more and are looking for help to serve good food for themselves and their families.
“Part of this rebranding exercise is about making consumers more aware of what we have to offer, that we can help with that weeknight meal.”
M&M carries more than 400 products, a quarter of which are either new or improved—from simplifying and improving ingredients in some cases to reformulating how the food is made in others.
“We have more than doubled our vegetable portfolio in the past year and we improved the quality standard on some of our vegetable mixes,” he said. New product lines include flat breads and sushi.
Aside from the expanded product offering, M&M has been updating all aspects of the brand including a subtle tweak to the logo, redesigned stores and packaging for the food, which has been rolling out for a while now.
“When we did our research we found that with our existing stores, the format wasn’t as conducive to what people were looking for,” said Lindsay.
Until now, most M&M products were in the back of store and sales associates retrieved the plain white boxes for customers. Now the products will be out front and the packaging more representative of what’s inside. Rather than just tracking down and handing over products requested by customers, staff—“meal advisors,” as M&M calls them—will provide more value-added assistance for customers in store. An updated website emphasizes M&M’s online ordering option with in-store pick up.
Shikatani Lacroix worked on packaging, store design and the revamped website. An ad campaign from recently hired agency Cossette is in the works for summer, Cossette’s new-ish PR agency cousin The Colony Project (spun off from Citizen)
has public relations, while OMD handles media for the brand.