Sweets & Snacks Expo 2022
How US consumers are falling in love with Katjes vegan gummies
Under a banner that states plant-based gummies ‘you don’t have to kill for’, Germany’s second-largest gummy candy brand has launched its 100% plant-based portfolio in the US.
The German heritage company has focussed on replacing animal gelatine with plant-based alternatives for the past decade, making it an expert in its field and the largest plant-based gummy brand in Europe.
Essentially this means we are not putting slaughterhouse waste into our sweets -- Eliza G Jahn, Head of Marketing at Katjes USA
What makes Katjes’s products inherently different from other plant-based gummies is their chewy texture, despite not using gelatine as a gelling agent.
“Essentially this means we are not putting slaughterhouse waste into our sweets. We like to proudly say, these are sweets ‘you don’t have to kill for’,” Eliza Jahn, the company’s US Head of Marketing, says.
Katjes gummies are also carbon neutral, palm oil-free and contain no high fructose corn syrup.
Since launching in 2021, Katjes USA has secured a nationwide listing at Walgreens with a distribution increase and further retail listings set for 2022.
In our podcast chat, Jahn says Katjes identified plant-based as the future back in 2010 in Germany and the company is seen as a pioneer in that respect because no one was offering a vegan alternative in the gummy segment at the time.
She said Katjes gummies will be of interest to consumers who are conscious about what their impact is on the planet – but they still want a great candy. “They want to treat themselves – and it’s a very modern time mindset,” she says.
She describes Katjes as a ‘love brand’. “One of our products for example is Rainbow, which is our top seller currently. It's got these beautiful multi-coloured rainbows, with several flavours in them – and we have the word’ love’.
“So we are kind of just spreading the love message – and people associate something positive with it right away.”
The US portfolio includes three SKUs that stand out from the category in their bright pink, resealable 4.9OZ stand up pouches: Rainbow, a multi coloured celebration of love and diversity, and Sour, a tart adventure with unicorns, fairies and hearts, are both among the brand’s bestsellers in multiple countries and have a proven history of success.
The third SKU, Love & Stars, tells the story of the brand’s newest chapter: a red, white and blue patriotic nod to Katjes’s new American home.
A fourth innovation focussing on celebrating female empowerment is in the pipeline, to be launched later in the year in the US.
The brand’s direct-to-consumer online shop is live, with targeted social media campaigns increasing brand and product awareness in the US throughout the year.
- Listen to our latest podcast for more on Katjes’s US operation.