FEATURE1 August 2018

Changing perceptions of Iceland

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Frozen-food retailer Iceland is investing in quality products and pushing new messaging to move on from the ‘Mum’s gone to Iceland’ era. Jane Simms talks to the company about how market research has identified shoppers’ needs.


Argentinian, wild-caught red shrimp, Canadian lobster tails, scallops wrapped in bacon, venison burgers – it sounds like a barbecue made in heaven. Particularly if it’s washed down with a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut – a snip at £18.99. It sounds exotic, but this is increasingly standard fare in the aisles at Iceland, as the frozen-food retailer continues its steady migration from the ‘cheap and cheerful’ image popularised by advertising featuring Kerry Katona – and the long-standing ‘Mum’s gone to Iceland’ tagline – toward a more ‘upmarket’ positioning. 

Iceland’s challenge is that those in the know are real fans of the brand, but – for most people – old habits (and attitudes) die hard. A raft of research is informing a brand and communications strategy relaunch, planned for later this year, which will position Iceland as ‘more relevant’ in people’s lives.

When former Asda and Sainsbury’s marketer Mel Matson arrived as marketing director in March 2017, Iceland ...