Scroll Top

Competitor Analysis Template for the Food Industry

Competitor Analysis Template for the Food Industry

McCain Foodservice Competitor Analysis Case Study

The $659 billion foodservice industry is transforming all aspects of operations. This competitor analysis template shows how the industry is changing everything in response to consumer demand.

One significant demand change is having an outsized effect on the food industry: the rise of takeout. Compared to dining-in and delivery, takeout now ranks as the most frequent choice for consumers, according to Morning Consult. Per week, 39% of diners order takeout at least once, compared with 28%  who dine-in and 28% who order delivery.

Another demand change, according to Nestle Professional, is an interest in “World’s Fare” food choices.

Competitor Analysis Template: How 11 Competitors Stack Up

In the face of these demand changes, suppliers like McCain Foodservice are continuously innovating to deliver appetizer and potato products that foodservice customers and end consumers prefer.   The competitor analysis template provides a case study for a strategic approach to understanding the competitive landscape in a major new market.

The frame of reference meal occasions were breakfast, snacks and lunch entrée, as the category was portable, frozen-dough-based brands.

Competitor Analysis Template for the Food Industry

As a starting point, 26 frozen dough-based competitors were identified, and their offerings were mapped. 

In foodservice, 16 organizations were considered for competitor analysis: Albie’s, Bridgford, Chudleigh’s, ConAgra, Excelline, Farm Rich, Golden Country Foods, General Mills, J&J Snack Foods, Kellogg’s, Lettieri’s, Nestle, Ruiz Foods, Sara Lee, Schwan’s, and Tyson. 

In the large CPG space (primarily retail), 10 organizations were examined, including: Farm Rich, General Mills, Heinz, J&J Snack, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Sara Lee, Schwan’s and Tyson.

The first-cut competitor analysis template examined 11 of these competitors on six measures focused on frozen dough. These were:

  1. Size: Retail Frozen Sales – The source used was Nielsen RMS past 52 weeks total.  Even though the focus was primarily foodservice, the retail platform delivers considerable scale for the business. –*Example Finding: Nestle, General Mills and Schwan’s were the largest retail players.
  2. Growth: Past 4 Year Retail Sales Trend – Again, the source used was Nielsen RMS data. – * Example Finding: At the time, Farm Rich (+12%), Sara Lee (+20%), General Mills (+5%) and J&J Snack Foods (+4%) were showing the most growth.
  3. Strategy: Commitment to Portable Frozen Dough – For this measure, we considered a number of sources, including annual reports and company websites, articles and industry interviews.  – * Example Finding: Schwan’s, J&J Snack Foods, Nestle and General Mills had higher commitment to portable frozen dough. 
  4. Customer Strength: Primary Frozen Dough Customer Focus – Similar sources were used, including industry interviews, articles, websites and reports. – * Example Finding: J&J Snack Foods focused on Schools and QSR, Lettieri’s focused on Foodservice and C-Stores, Farm Rich focused on Retail and Foodservice, Schwan’s focused on Schools and Direct-to-Consumer, Tyson focused on Foodservice and Retail.
  5. Manufacturing Capabilities: Former employees, along with public sources such as annual reports were used. – * Example Finding: At the time, ConAgra The Max products were manufactured in a single facility in Ohio, while J&J Snack Foods operated two plants in North Carolina and Oregon.
  6. Major Frozen Dough Brands: The major frozen dough brands were readily available in annual reports and company websites. – *Example Finding: ConAgra’s Major Frozen Dough Brand was The Max; Schwan’s has a portfolio including Tony’s, Red Baron and more; Tyson had Anytizer and Tyson, Nestle had a portfolio including Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s.

As can be gleaned from the example findings, there were varying levels of intensity and commitment to frozen dough products among these 11 studied competitors.   This competitor analysis was a first step before a more in-depth examination of capabilities in the selected market spaces.

When summarized across these measures, the greatest competitive threats were Schwan’s, Sara Lee, Nestle, Kellogg’s and General Mills.  This is seen from the green shading on the historical competitor analysis frozen dough summary chart.  

Competitor Analysis Template for the Food Industry

Of the organizations who weren’t studied in the initial work, a quick review finds many are still participating in market growth in 2022:

  1. Albie’s.  Major customer sectors for this Michigan-based company are foodservice and K-12 schools. Products including: breakfast products, EZ jammers (with Wowbutter), calzones and Pieper’s proteins.
  2. Bridgford.  One of the major product business segments for Bridgford is foodservice.  Within foodservice, products include: cinnamon monkey bread, cinnamon monkey bites, cinnamon roll doughs, breadsticks, demi-loaf doughs and fully-baked buttermilk biscuit, fully-baked rolls and breadsticks, gourmet bun doughs and bakers’ doughs, individually wrapped items, ready-dough sheets, roll doughs and sopapilla dough. School foodservice is highlighted as a major customer. From other work we’ve done in other parts of foodservice, individually wrapped has been a major growth area for the past few years in foodservice channels like healthcare.
  3. Chudleigh’s.  With a definite focus on desserts, Chudleigh’s product line for foodservice includes: molten chocolate lava cake 4 oz., crumble crunch apple blossom, double filled apple blossom 5.6 oz., apple berry blossoms, butter toffee sticky cake, molten chocolate 3.8 oz., molten white chocolate lava cake 3.8 oz., pineapple upside down cake, chocolate chip ‘Fillookie,’ apple caramel blossoms and key lime tart.    This Canadian-based company boasts a 110,000 square-foot bakery making products for customers across North America.  Some of the products are available at retail, for instance, at  H.E.B. in San Antonio.
  4. Golden Country.   With its US headquarters in Chicago, Golden Country boasts a large line of “4000 frozen and dry” products, imported from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Jamaica and the Philippines.  Customers include “foodservice, restaurant and institutions throughout…Chicagoland, the Midwestern portion of the United States, and…North America.”  Frozen dough products appear to fall into the following categories:  frozen pastries and meat (e.g., mini wontons, gyoza and dumplings, pork buns,  Caribbean delight baked patty,  eggroll) and frozen pastry wrappers.
  5. Ruiz Foods.  Ruiz has a strong lineup of Mexican products under the El Monterrey and Tornado’s brands.  K-12 offerings featured on their website include breakfast rolled tacos, Smart Snack Tornado’s and taquitos.  “Hot to Go” snacks include Not Your Nonna’s stuffed pizza wedges, empanadas, tamales and cheesecake chimis.  Burrito, wrap and chimichanga singles include El Monterrey signature 8 oz. burritos, XXL burritos, simply breakfast burrito singles, XXL breakfast wraps and classic singles Channels noted include c-store and foodservice.  There are also family and multi-pack offerings.
  6. In the ethnic frozen foods categories, Ajinomoto Foods is another important competitor across foodservice and retail.

Another example of a comprehensive competitor analysis template comes from the cruise industry, where we used 11 measures to examine six leading competitors.  For more on examples and frameworks, visit our competitor analysis resources page.  Or join us at an upcoming office hours.