“We were planning to shoot new ads that we had to cancel, the message shifted from kids on a school bus to family moments with kids playing with their siblings.
“We had influencers send our social media agency their content and we were able to showcase how people were able to have good moments together with family, with GoGo squeeZ as the perfect snack for any family adventure. We also have a partnership with Scholastic about reading books as a family.
“We’ve been supporting the community with social media and different messages to the ones we had planned; we’ve just had to adapt to what is happening week by week.”
Fun Comes First: Promoting youth sport
While some sporting activities have been curtailed due to coronavirus, the brand has also teamed up with soccer star Alex Morgan to promote safe youth sports through an initiative called Fun Comes First to address the steady decline in youth sport participation across the country (something that started long before COVID-19, with participation in sports by kids aged 6-12 dropping significantly between 2008 and 2018, according to The Aspen Institute's 2019 State of Play report).
‘The top thing we hear from parents is, don’t give me something that looks like it’s healthy but it’s not’
Like many shelf-stable brands, GoGo squeeZ experienced a sharp spike in sales in March and April, with promotional plans ditched as the focus switched to producing enough product to meet customer orders. Encouragingly, said Caillate, it has also experienced a sustained uplift post the pantry-loading period as parents have continued to seek out convenient snacks that they know their kids will eat that serve as a better-for-you alternative to chips and cookies.
“Parents want something clean and wholesome with fruits and veggies, without added sugar. The top thing we hear is, don’t give me something that looks like it’s healthy but it’s not,” added Caillate, who said GoGo squeeZ had seen particularly strong sales through e-commerce platforms this year, from Amazon to Walmart and Target.
“In terms of functional nutrition, as we learn about what kids need for their development, there are opportunities to make our snacks more functional. We know that kids need a healthy gut to feel better, which is why we picked prebiotic fiber for our new Happy TummieZ line. We’ve seen very strong adoption out of the gate so we are very excited."
Navigating the difficult tween years
One nut that’s been tougher to crack has been extending the brand’s reach beyond its core audience of 3-8 year olds and reaching tweens (aged 9-12), said Caillate, who acknowledged that the company has “reduced the distribution in the market” of GoGo BlastZ fruit pouches, which were designed to reach this older demographic and developed in conjunction with kids in their early teens.
“We had them come and create journals, talking about what they care about, who they are as people, what quotes inspired them. But it has been more of a stretch for the brand, it’s a difficult area to navigate, and so we feel it’s a better strategy to try and reach 8-10 year olds [with the core brand, rather than trying to appeal to older children with BlastZ].”
Once kids reach about eight you start to see a drop-off in interest, “which we think may be more about the format [the pouch] than the brand,” said Caillate.
“To expand into new product formats is definitely one way to go.”
New product platform to launch in spring/summer 2021
She added: “What we’ve learned is that our brand could extend in many different ways, but I think we’ll stay focused on snacking.
“We’re working on a new platform coming out next year in the spring/summer time frame, still in the healthy kids snacking space. I can’t provide any more details, but we’re going after a slightly broader age group.”
GoGo squeeZ to transition to 100% recyclable pouches by 2022: ‘This is a critical step in the evolution of our brand’
Fruit pouches are light, convenient, and fun. Right now, however, despite the best efforts of organizations such as TerraCycle, most of the them end up in landfill, says the firm behind GoGo squeeZ, which is promising to bring a recyclable version onto the market by 2022.
Developed in France in the late 1990s, GoGo squeeZ fruit pouches entered the US market in 2008. Today the brand makes a range of no-added-sugar shelf-stable pouches containing fruits, veggies, and yogurt.
Its latest offering - Happy TummieZ (right) - contains fruits and Jerusalem artichoke, a source of prebiotic fiber.