2011 sees The Value Engineers celebrate its 25th anniversary. As an homage to the branding world which has been our life for the last quarter of a century, we will be posting a blog on the 25th of every month, discussing everything ’25′.
This month, Peter Osborne, ex Sales and Marketing Manager at Marlow Foods, thinks back to 1986: to the launch of Quorn and to his very first experiences working with The Value Engineers.
If offered fungal biomass with albumen binder on a menu most would opt for the rack of lamb or vegetable curry. This was, effectively, the challenge posed by the discovery of myco-protein by RHM. – probably the first really new food since the potato with a remarkably unappetising name and scientific pedigree. As the Marketing Manager handed this ‘exciting challenge’ I knew I needed help and turned to The Creative Business, a London agency brimming with intellect and originality. I was lucky! The enthusiastic and very persuasive Planning Director was Paul Walton. Only weeks later Paul left TCB to found The Value Engineers and, showing amazing judgement, I followed with my ‘exciting challenge’.
We had to find a way to excite people about this new food in an appetising way whilst remaining true to the science and origins of myco-protein. We had to overcome the natural reluctance of most to try anything totally alien. And above all we had to make myco-protein special and memorable. As an alternative to meat, it would have been all too easy to drift into the cheap soya substitute cul-de-sac. The good news was that myco-protein tasted great and was really healthy.
The entire team at The Value Engineers, Paul, Elaine and Helly expended endless perspiration and inspiration on the positioning, the branding and the strategies to break through the natural consumer and trade resistance.
Myco-protein become one of only very few branded ingredients, Quorn. Sainsbury’s were persuaded to bake it in a pie and Tesco in ready meals.
Are you sure it’s not meat? One of the first adverts for Sainsbury’s Quorn Pies:
Marketing Week takes an interest in the rise and rise of Quorn:
Now, over 25 years later, Quorn is a household name and an international £200m brand. The strategic thinking and creativity provided by Paul and his colleagues at The Value Engineers were the solid foundation for this unique success story.