Rickland Orchards LLC, which was purchased for $57.5 million by B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS) in October, married consumer and customer insight to create its brand, according to co-founder Michael Sands, a panelist at ACG New York’s Consumer Brands Conference.
Rickland took consumer insight, the popularity of Greek yogurt, and married it with customer insight, Sands says. The company sells Greek yogurt covered granola bars and other snacks. Given the high sales of Greek yogurt, adding the product to the dry goods section of stores gave dry goods grocery buyers a way to compete with the people stocking the Greek yogurt.
Sands was a panelist at the conference, held at the JWT building in New York on Oct. 17, along with Marco de Ceglie, CEO of DeCecco pasta, Julien Mininberg, CEO of Kaz Inc., and Steve Van Tassel, CEO of Weetabix North America.
The panelists agreed that when it comes to creating or sustaining a breakthrough brand, consumer insight is paramount.
Kaz, which went through a turnaround about six years ago, has since focused on getting in touch with consumers, and has trained employees to have discussions with them, says Mininberg.
The company, which makes health care devices and home products for various companies, including Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) and Braun, also increased technology staff and got in touch with outside innovators, Mininberg says. Kaz also makes Vicks branded products, including humidifiers.
To hold its spot as a breakthrough brand, DeCecco pasta, remains loyal to the old manufacturing process, developed in 1886, Ceglie said. The company, instead of using technology that would dry the pasta in a few hours, takes between 18 and 36 hours for the drying process, which Ceglie says improves the quality of the pasta.
Companies looking to create break through brands should put their money into wherever the customer is making their decision to buy. For example, Rickland Orchards changed its packaging five times in 18 months for just that reason, Sands explains, adding that if a customer is making that decision at the shelf, that’s where a company’s money should go.