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Tegel’s Chicken Nugget earns Heart Tick


Media Statement
March 5 2003

Tegel’s Chicken Nugget earns Heart Tick in fight against
Child Obesity

Tegel has come out today saying chicken nuggets don’t have to contribute to the country’s child obesity problem.

It has “re-invented” the chicken nugget in response to consumer’s growing concern about the nutritional value of fast foods and the link to child obesity in New Zealand.

Now carrying the Heart Foundation Tick, Tegel’s new generation of battered Chicken Nugget aims to get ahead of competitors on its nutritional benefits – rather than price.

Tegel says improving the battered chicken nugget is part of the on-going initiatives New Zealand’s food industry is undertaking to address child obesity.

Tegel’s Managing Director Bruce Scott said last year New Zealand children ate their way through a dizzying 48 million chicken nuggets sold through supermarkets alone.

“Add to this the growing concern about child obesity, and you might think twice when grabbing your next bag of nuggets out of the freezer.

“But you don’t need to feel guilty about the convenience of feeding your children the chicken nugget because it’s come a long way since hitting the market 20 years ago.

Celebrating the Nugget’s 20th Birthday, Tegel has developed a recipe made with non-GE crops and ingredients, which has become the first chicken nugget to earn the Heart Foundation Tick in New Zealand or Australia.

“The popularity of the chicken nugget shows the strength in children’s purchasing power and how important this has become in leading the development of new added-value products.

“There is also a strong call for more healthier and balanced meals, which are convenient, quick, easy to prepare and taste good,” Mr Scott said.

“For Tegel, children are now its fastest growing consumer in the frozen food section, which generates an estimated $55 million in retail sales for the company”.


Children are interested and enjoy the growing range of frozen chicken added-value products because they are a good source of protein and taste great, and for parents, they are quick to cook because of the portion size.

Tegel Category Manager Melissa Butler said the rise of the chicken nugget has been overwhelming with Tegel experiencing 269% growth from producing 114T in 1995 to 421T (more than 20-million nuggets) last year.

“The nugget market is growing year on year and Tegel believes the household penetration for nuggets could be higher if we listen to consumers’ concerns”.

Early last year Tegel undertook consumer research on chicken nuggets that showed parents were concerned about “unhealthy” fast food connotations.

“While they felt it was okay to have some fat in a child’s diet, they felt guilty about serving nuggets regularly as part of a well-balanced healthy meal. Tegel saw this as a barrier to growth,” she said

“We worked on developing our recipe so we could earn the Heart Tick because it is a respected symbol and reassures consumers”.

All Tegel’s battered chicken nuggets and Spacies (nuggets in the shape of stars, moons and rockets) have the National Heart Foundation Tick – meeting strict fat and sodium levels.

The target age of consumers of chicken nuggets is between one and 14. There are 882,000 children living in New Zealand under the age of 15.


- Over 48 million chicken nuggets (132,000 a day) were sold throughout New Zealand retail outlets in 2002
- The National Heart Foundation has given Tegel’s chicken nugget the Heart Tick
- In 1995, about 312 tonnes (15.5 million) of chicken nuggets were sold in New Zealand supermarkets
- In 2002 supermarkets sold about 1002 tonnes of chicken nuggets (48 million).
- Over the last eight years there has been a 221% increase in overall consumption of chicken nuggets sold through retail.
- Quick service restaurant McDonald’s is understood to have sold the first chicken nugget in 1983

Ends

Footnote:

“Healthy eating and healthy physical activity are of major importance in the prevention of obesity in both children and adults. Healthy eating of a variety of foods is key to obtaining a balanced diet with the necessary balance of nutrients. Low fat chicken in a varied diet is an excellent source of protein and liked by children”. – New Zealand Nutritional Foundation – March 2003.


ENDS

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