The firm launched its first own-brand, Brainblasterz, in 2011 followed by space-themed Nanobytes the following year. It now hopes to grow the percentage of sales from branded goods from 4% to 15% by 2018 with the new Bon Bon Buddies brand.
The bulk of the company’s sales come from licensed items such as Disney-themed, Barbie and Spiderman candy products, while the firm is also a third party distributor for confectioners such as Ritter Sport, PEZ and the Jelly Bean Factory.
Umbrella brand for low-cost novelties
“It’s not a rebalancing act,” Chris Howarth, company MD told ConfectioneryNews at ISM, where the firm launched the range.
“The Bon Bon Buddies range of novelties was really to create an umbrella brand where we could put a number of low-cost novelties in and a range of 20-30 items, which we would change 30% every 12 months, so we’re constantly refreshing.”
“Bon Bon Buddies is a cute name for kids and when we did focus groups this was something our team thought would work very well.”
The firm hopes the range will be available across Europe and the Middle East from March onwards
There are currently six items in the first phase and the company plans to add another 10 by mid-2014. Products include a ball catcher toy with strawberry flavored candy and a confectionery-filled water pump.
“At the show, one of the items that’s been very well received is the squeezy marshmallow, which is a completely new concept. It’s a compressed marshmallow inside the tube. Once it comes out of the tube, air comes to it and it expands,” said Howarth.
The company has also created five Bon Bon Buddies characters and a dedicated website for childrento play games and interact on social media.
Chasing the pocket-money dollar
All Bon Bon Buddies branded products are priced below £1 ($1.66) and are aimed at kids aged from 4-10. “This range is very much about children purchasing for children with their pocket money,” said Howarth.
“In the UK, it will be going into all channels. Then majority of sales will be through the impulse channel to independent and convenience stores,” he said.
“The children’s novelty confectionary market is highly competitive, but there is a definite gap there for our new range. We think that the combination of toys and sweets at pocket money prices, together with the new characters and bright, attractive packaging, will help us to establish a strong market share,” said Howarth in a statement.
The range will be manufactured across facilities in the UK and the Far East. “From a capacity perspective we are well covered. We are comfortable that we can supply whatever the demand is,” said Howarth.