The company, acquired by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in late 2013, has earmarked the U.S as a priority growth market and will launch Cadbury Fingers and Cadbury Creme Egg Biscuits to capitalize.
Priority market USA
"We've always had a presence here, largely through small opportunistic distributors. But we've decided to take a much more strategic approach to the U.S. market,” Burton’s CEO Ben Clark told ConfectioneryNews at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago last month.
“We did a big study last year to look around the world where Cadbury's Fingers could build a sustainable presence....we concluded that our number one priority would be the U.S. The Cadbury brand is well recognized even though Cadbury confectionery is not a big brand here.”
Burton’s has a license to produce Cadbury Fingers from Mondelēz International, which it has owned since 1986.
The company will bring milk chocolate, dark chocolate and salted peanut crunch Cadbury Fingers to the U.S. through new distribution partner International Food Associates (IFA) from September.
Untapped premium segment
The premium segment of the cookie market was much less developed in the U.S. than in Europe. “Cadbury Fingers is the number one premium chocolate biscuit in the UK, so we thought that this would be the right brand to drive that category,” he said.
The Burton’s chief said the U.S. biscuits market was evenly split between cookies and crackers with the premium segment accounting for around 12% of sales.
Cadbury Creme Egg biscuits coming to the U.S.
Burton's will also launch seasonal brand Cadbury Creme Egg biscuits in the U.S. for next Easter after a successful rollout in the UK two years ago. Hershey holds a US license to produce Cadbury Creme egg confectionery, but Burton's owns the rights for Creme Egg biscuits in the U.S.
"As most categories here and around the world are shifting to premium, we think now is the right time. We think the premium cookie segment is undeveloped and we think that's a great opportunity….When you look at the main brands in the category, they are very mainstream, Oreo in particular."
Mondelēz is among the largest confectioners in the world, but licenses production for its power brand Cadbury in the U.S., the world's largest confectionery market. Hershey for example has a license to produce Cadbury confectionery products.
Standard Cadbury chocolate recipe
Burton's has developed varying packaging formats for Cadbury Fingers so the product can be sold in multi retail channels.
"The formulations vary a little from market to market, but only very slightly. This is a standard Cadbury chocolate recipe. We're very proud of the Cadbury chocolate we make and want to make sure it is true to Cadbury,” said Clark.
New ownership & UB competition
The company CEO said he was optimistic about Burton’s new owners, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
"It's not just because they are North American they want to do more in North America...they are very keen for us to expand the Cadbury brand globally and it was our discretion to select the market. It so happened that the U.S and Canada were two of the four key markets we really wanted to develop."
Burton's also has plans to grow its presence in the Middle East (GCC countries) and in France.
Clark said he foresaw no major impact on the biscuit category after the UK's leading biscuits firm United Biscuits was sold to Ülker brand owner Yildiz Holding late last year.
"I think Yildiz Holding will be a very good earner for United Biscuits, but I don’t forsee it as having a material change to the dynamics of the category in Europe. United Biscuits are not targeting North America; they are targeting the Middle East so we have an overlap there, but we're focused on where our brands work best."