Children's health and food Collaboration for Healthier Lives

Scaling up successful trial makes healthier choices available to more families

Our case study with McCain, as part of our CHL progress update.


Applying lessons learnt from a successful small-scale availability trial, McCain responded to changing customer demand during the pandemic by scaling up and implementing a national roll-out of a family-sized, healthier version of a popular product.  


In a 2019 trial, McCain introduced Home Chips Lighter, an oven chip containing less than 4% fat, alongside the standard variety in 35 Tesco Express stores in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Data indicated that customers were willing to switch to this healthier alternative, improving the health of families’ shopping baskets without impacting on sales. 

Over the last two years McCain has seen sales of its frozen potato products rise. During the pandemic, lockdowns led to more people eating at home and frozen staples like oven chips becoming a larger part of people’s diets. Growth in sales of bigger bags of chips reflected the need for convenient, cost-effective family teatime options. McCain has found this volume of sales was maintained even after COVID restrictions were lifted. 

In spring 2022, McCain took the natural next step and launched a bigger (1.6kg) pack of Home Chips Lighter in retail outlets nationwide. Making a reduced fat version of its best-selling pack size available and visible in store offers a practical, affordable and healthier alternative to McCain’s core family audience.  

Key learnings

The introduction of a bigger bag of a healthier product was a direct response to what customers were telling the business, both directly through ongoing conversations between McCain and their core audience and indirectly via their shopping baskets. A customer-led approach to making the product portfolio healthier is essential.  

McCain believes taking effective action on health starts and finishes with the customer. This means recognising the need to balance the taste of brands that customers love with the concerns they have about health, affordability and sustainability. By talking to its core audience, as well as to younger consumers to assess how attitudes are changing, the company will ensure interventions on health and sustainability are relevant, helpful and commercially successful.  

What’s next?

Data gathered about the performance of the larger size bag of Home Chips Lighter in the national market will be analysed and used to inform future strategy. 99% of McCain products are now HFSS compliant, so the reformulation agenda is not as relevant to the company as it is to some other manufacturers. However, the business will continue to explore how fat and salt can be reduced across its product portfolio.  

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