How defensible is the SMASHMALLOW brand?

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

The proposition is deceptively simple. Take marshmallows - a product Americans can typically find in large clear bags in the baking ingredients category – add some gourmet flavors and a cleaner label, put them in a re-sealable pack and create a new usage occasion. But now SMASHMALLOW has proved ‘snacking marshmallows’ have potential, what’s to stop everyone else raining on its parade?

Asked how defensible SMASHMALLOW is at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show, CEO David Lacy told FoodNavigator-USA that SMASHMALLOW was about more than a set of attributes that can be copied. 

Some of the most successful food brands of recent years had retained first mover advantage after introducing a new packaging format or culinary edge to an established category, even as rivals had rapidly come in with copycat products, because they connected emotionally with consumers and continued to innovate and stay fresh, he claimed.

You look at a lot of the more recent iconic brands barkThins, KRAVE, Plum Organics​ [which have all changed the way people think about established categories via new packaging formats and flavor innovations].

“They were truly iconic brands brands that really connected emotionally with consumers. SMASH is really the same story. We’re taking an old idea ​[marshmallows] but making it fun again…

“What sets us apart is really the flavor profile; the packaging is also whimsical and brings consumers back to when they were kids themselves…”

We think we can play in a number of categories

A recent $10m cash injection​ from Sonoma Brands and VNG Partners would help SMASHMALLOW to build out the team and increase distribution, but would also help it “continue to innovate​,” said Lacy, who took the helm in mid-January.

SMASHMALLOW – which launched in August 2016 and is already in 10,000 stores with a predicted run rate of $30m by the end of 2018 - has already launched a line extension (rice crispy treat SMASHCRISPY), and is planning a third product launch later this year, he said.

“When you look at the snackable confection category, there aren’t a lot of brands innovating and really being disruptive in this space… we think we can play in a number of categories – chocolate, gummies, sours, there are a number of different categories we are thinking about.”

In the US, marshmallows typically come in two colors - white and pink – and are typically displayed in large family-sized packs in the bakery ingredients section of the store or coated in chocolate and sold in boxes as a gift item alongside boxed chocolates. SMASHMALLOW marshmallow squares, by contrast - which feature gourmet flavors from Toasted Coconut Pineapple to Meyer Lemon Chia Seed - are sold in re-sealable bags and designed for everyday snacking.
smash crispy
The latest innovation under the SMASHMALLOW brand is SMASH Crispy

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