The better-for-you brand launched in August of 2020 in the familiar gummy bear format with lychee, passion fruit and raspberry flavors. Its “low-sugar candy that’s good so you don’t have to be” targeted a generation of consumers looking for healthier and guilt-free ways to satisfy their sweet tooths.
An online appetite for candy
A few months after launch, Behave came up against largely demand-driven stockouts, but Founder and CEO Mayssa Chehata says that the unexpected consumer response allowed Behave to stay focused on its direct-to-consumer model before venturing into third party retail.
“We were not sure how consumers would respond to purchasing candy online given it’s traditionally an ‘impulse’ purchase made at the check-out stand in retail, but since we’ve launched, we’ve seen that there’s an appetite for a product like ours in e-comm,” Chehata told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We think that being a ‘better for you’ indulgence makes us a purchase people can plan ahead and stock up with, versus a ‘sneak purchase’ made on the way out of the store.”
The company leaned heavily into influencer marketing to build its consumer base, harnessing Chehata’s previous brand and business development experience at Uber, Daily Harvest and SoulCycle.
Back into the kitchen
“The blessing in disguise of selling out soon after we launched and having almost two-month lead time to restock from our manufacturer was that it gave us the opportunity to talk to our community, collect feedback and improve our product,” Chehata said.
“With that extra waiting time we had before our next scheduled production, we went back into the kitchen - having heard from our consumers that they wanted even stronger macros.”
Behave worked with its Head of Candy, celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner, to lower sugar from 3 grams to 1 gram and calories from 90 to 60 per 1.8 gummy pouch. It added allulose, a sweetener derived from figs and raisins, to its clean ingredient deck.
Consumers also requested“never before seen flavors from us”, Chehata said, leading the brand to introduce Pink Pineapple Sour Stars in November. Several new flavors are slated for 2022.
And into the candy aisle
In Summer 2021, Behave took the leap into retail, launching across 300 stores including trendy markets Erewhon and Foxtrot, as well as Urban Outfitters.
“On the back of our success and proving we can achieve high velocities in these stores, we’ve expanded into a number of other retail and wholesale partnerships,” Chehata said. These include the Ace Hotel, Neuehouse coworking and a recent nationwide listing in Sprouts grocery stores.
“We are constantly monitoring the market, and the data shows that low-sugar is the fastest-growing segment in confectionery, and gummy is the fastest growing product type,” she added, confirming that other exciting launches in the digital and physical space are coming soon.