In the aisles

McCain Foods' defined, aggressive growth strategy was one reason Darryl Rowe says he left behind a 10-year sales career with Coca-Cola where he was most recently VP/GM, retail business unit, to join the Florenceville, N.B.-based frozen food giant as VP, retail sales.

McCain Foods’ defined, aggressive growth strategy was one reason Darryl Rowe says he left behind a 10-year sales career with Coca-Cola where he was most recently VP/GM, retail business unit, to join the Florenceville, N.B.-based frozen food giant as VP, retail sales.

Another reason? The opp to develop the CPG’s burgeoning category management and consumer insight initiative. ‘The industry is very good at knowing [how a consumer thinks] once he scans through the till,’ he says, but lesser known is ‘how they behave in stores.’

McCain is building the capacity internally to offer enhanced insight to its retail clients, says Rowe who will also manage the company’s 70 sales staff and oversee its relationship with its retail clients. ‘Today, retailers are very focused on how to better understand how shoppers function in their outlets,’ he says.

To go deeper, McCain is working with Loblaw, for example, to understand the consumer decision tree in its frozen pizza aisles. Rowe says the retailer and the brand are exploring how a store’s unique neighbourhood as well as its ethnic make-up impact purchase.

Also new to McCain is Tracy Clinch, ex of Moosehead Breweries, who has just joined McCain International as marketing manager food service. The company’s export arm is now headed up by Andrew Young, formerly director of marketing, who just got the VP marketing nod.

McCain is in ‘a very good place,’ says Rowe, pointing to its innovation in product development, which includes the recent launch of Smooth-eez and Cool Quenchers, which was a winner at the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards in May. In June 2005, the company reported consolidated sales of $5.68 billion.