Leaders Forum: Patties Foods

Matthew Dodson

General Manager, Out of Home, Patties Foods

What do you most enjoy about convenience and what is one challenge you’d like to see addressed in the industry?

Convenience is a fast-moving channel where we have seen Food-on-the-Go achieve double digit growth over the last five years, making it the third largest category instore. The impulsive nature of the consumer means integrated sales and marketing activations are essential within the category and something we’re always pushing boundaries with.

Four’N Twenty is the number one brand in hot, on-the-go savoury within the convenience sector. Our products are well-loved by Australians and draw people into stores. The Four’N Twenty Traveller and King-Size Sausage Roll bundles have also been hot sellers on the new petrol and convenience delivery services.

The diversity of the channel accounts for the largest volume of outlets, on a smaller scale.  This enables tailored innovation to cater to the unmet needs of consumers, shoppers and trade partners, which has been key in driving the double-digit growth we’ve seen.

Innovation contributing to the growth of Patties Foods includes a range of products across our branded portfolio, delivering to Food for Now and Food for Later. 

With Food for Now, the morning breakfast rush remains alive and well, with 50% of consumers agreeing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Consumers are seeking portable on-the-go offers that are not only delicious, but filling enough to avoid mid-morning hunger pains. This is where Herbert Adams has delivered the Breakfast Collection, with strong results in its first few months in market.

Then with Food for Later, major convenience retailers have Ruffie Rustic Foods ready-made meals in the freezer catering to the current need for quick, delicious meals at home. The high-quality meals are made with real, fresh ingredients and are perfect for time-poor people.

The biggest challenge facing the industry is not only maintaining the double-digit growth in food-on-the-go, but continuing to deliver innovation that makes petrol and convenience outlets a destination of choice for food.

Highlight one company achievement you’re particularly proud of in the last 12 months.

It’s been a busy year at Patties, and we’re particularly proud of making history with Four’N Twenty’s first-ever Meat Free Pie. It was a bold reimagining of one of Australia’s most iconic foods, however there was a clear and growing demand for a plant-based alternative. And with 53% of consumers considering themselves to be vegans, vegetarians or meat reducers in an effort to be more health and environmentally conscious, the much-anticipated pie was definitely a hit!

Supported with a sensational online launch program that generated 357 million consumer conversations with a positive sentiment of 89%, Four’N Twenty Meat Free has been flying off the shelves across Australia.  

How has your company adapted to the evolving challenges of COVID-19?

Like all Australian businesses, we’ve felt the impact of COVID-19 and are operating on a reduced workforce, while still providing delicious, quality food to Australians via chilled and frozen categories. With less people eating out, we’ve experienced a greater demand for our products and we’re continuing research and development and have some exciting new projects in the pipeline.

How do you envision the next six months for convenience?

I am genuinely proud of how the convenience industry is working together. We’re all reaching out to each other to make sure everyone has the right support.

Food for Now and Food for Later will remain key drivers as people return to work and school with a renewed focus on convenience shopping.  We see Food for Later with Ruffie Rustic Foods and the need for petrol and convenience delivery services continuing to build.

Favourites such as the Four’N Twenty Traveller range will remain popular with consumers and exciting new flavours such as Philly Cheesesteak will assist in fuelling the double-digit growth.

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