Aunt Bessie’s, the Frozen Food Company owned by the William Jackson Food Group, is investing £8 million in a new marketing campaign which promotes serving Yorkshire Puddings with roast chicken instead of the more traditional roast beef.

The aim of the new campaign is to open up new chicken meal occasions for Yorkshire Puddings and encourage those who haven’t thought to serve chicken and Yorkshire Puddings together to give it a try, presenting a growth opportunity for retailers as we head into the key roast dinner season.

The 360 degree campaign, which launches mid-October and comprises seven months of national TV advertising, bespoke sponsorship idents within the on-going sponsorship of The Chase on ITV1, a 17-week C4 Sunday Brunch link up, in-store and online activity and PR, is aimed at the brand’s target audience of busy mums who want to provide warming and homely family food.

To coincide with the big-spend campaign, Aunt Bessie’s is also revamping its Perfect for Chicken Yorkshire puddings recipe, which will see a flash appear on pack to communicate the change and create stand out on shelf.

Claire Glen, senior brand manager at Aunt Bessie’s, says: “The recession has changed the way we shop and eat. According to Kantar, 1.3 billion roast dinners are served throughout the year, but as it’s easy to cook and cheaper than some other meats, chicken has more universal appeal and appears at 38% of roast dinner occasions compared to only 16% for the more traditional roast beef.

“Combined with our own extensive research to understand what today’s family roast dinner looks like, we also know that Yorkshire puddings are already seen as an integral part of a chicken roast dinner for many, with 17% of households serving Yorkshires with chicken – a growth of 5.6% and totalling 45 million chicken dinners served this year alone. This represents a potential opportunity of 85 million more meal occasions for Yorkshire Puddings annually.

“Our campaign aims to help retailers build on this momentum by highlighting and reinforcing what consumers already believe - that Yorkshire Puddings are the “crowning glory” to a roast chicken dinner for adults and children alike, elevating an already good meal to an even better one and bringing even more joy to the mealtime, making it feel just that bit more special and enjoyable.”

She adds: “Of the 1.3 billion roasts consumed in the UK, 38% of Roast Beef meals feature a Yorkshire pudding. However, there’s a huge untapped opportunity to pair the largest roast occasion, roast chicken, with Yorkshire puddings. Over 550 million roast chicken dinners are consumed annually in the UK, and 19% of these are served with a Yorkshire pudding. It’s clear to see that people are becoming more receptive to pairing roast chicken with Yorkshire puddings. In line with the campaign, we’ve changed the design of our Hero Golden Originals pack so it no longer features beef on the plate, and the background shot is chicken. We’ve also revamped our recipe for Sage and Onion Yorkshires and updated that pack as well.”

The new TV ad features Professional Curtain Twitchers Margaret and Mabel staking out the neighbours with a series of antenna, telescopes and spying devices in their modified Morris Traveler van. They are so taken aback after watching the family enjoying a chicken roast chicken dinner with Aunt Bessie’s delicious Golden Yorkshires that Mabel leans back on the glaring pink ’upgrade’ button Margaret has warned her about and are fired into sky by the ejector seat, yelling, she’s taken roast chicken to new heiiiights!!!!