Unconventional retailers present distribution opportunities for high-end sweets and snacks
“Fashion retailers and design retailers are jumping on the all-natural, healthy food bandwagon and really trying to capitalize on consumer preferences and trends” toward more snacking, said Adeena Cohen, director of marketing and business development for Simply Gum – an all-natural chewing gum that recently landed distribution at Urban Outfitters and Cost Plus World Market.
She explained that this trend can help brands, like Simply Gum, cut through the competitive clutter and exponentially boost their visibility because there is such limited space for food and beverages in fashion and design outlets.
The brands most likely to catch fashion and design retailers’ attention – and that of their consumers – are products that can be consumed on-the-go, are healthy, contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and are made with clean, transparent ingredients, Cohen said. Fashion and design retailers also likely will seek products that double as status symbols or represent the high-end lifestyle choices and values of their shoppers.
Simply Gum checks all these boxes with its all natural ingredients, and its clean, sophisticated packaging, Cohen said.
She explained that when Simply Gum created its sleek, white packaging with crisp, simple images that represented the gum’s flavor, it did so with an eye towards creating a fashion accessory.
“We are really different as a brand from conventional gum, much of which is kind of childish because it is bright pink and purple and has stripes and swirls,” whereas simply gum does not have artificial colors and comes in a white, flip top carton that is “chic and sophisticated … and will not clash with someone’s outfit,” Cohen said.
She added that Simply Gum wants consumers to be proud to show off and share the gum at parties, on a date or at work, rather than furtively trying to pop a piece of brightly colored and wrapped conventional gum in their mouths without being caught.
Not all fashion retailers are created equally
Brands eager to capitalize on this trend, should be conscientious of how fashion and design stores display sweets and snacks to ensure that their products are well-positioned and displayed with respectfully, cautions Cohen.
She explains that some fashion stores that stock snacks are not as discerning about the quality of food they stock and relegate them to out-of-the-way spots in the store, which can damage a brand’s image in consumers’ eyes.
“When you are a small brand and just growing, you want to make sure you are in a store that is going to position your brand well,” Cohen said. “If it is going to be a store that just throws your product on the bottom shelf in a back aisle with tons of other brands that are offering their worst selling SKU and almost expired product, that is probably not the best first-encounter for a consumer with a brand because they might associated with” less desirable products.
With that in mind, she advises brands to “make sure that the retailer is going to respect the brand and give it good exposure by making sure the packages are stacked nicely and not just thrown carelessly in some sort of container.”
Ecommerce gains traction
Another less conventional confection and food outlet where Simply Gum is gaining traction is through e-commerce, Cohen said.
She explained that the brand recently began selling online through its website and Amazon because consumers – especially millennials – increasingly are buying shelf stable items and staples online to ensure they always have them.
Ecommerce also helps brands be everywhere consumers are through their mobile phones and computers.
With this in mind, Cohen added that while expanding into new channels creates new opportunities, the tried and true conventional and natural food retail channels are still must-haves for successful and continued growth.