B&G branching out with innovation

by Monica Watrous
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B&G Foods is targeting millennial and Hispanic consumers with innovative new offerings.

BOSTON — The biggest brands in B&G Foods’ portfolio are expanding with products developed for new consumers and categories. Bob Cantwell, executive vice-president of finance, chief financial officer and director at the Parsippany, N.J.-based company, discussed recent launches during a Sept. 4 presentation at Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference in Boston.

“So we’re looking at products that are better-for-you products that are very important for us from an acquisition side and also internally on how we do things,” Mr. Cantwell said. “But also things that we can move toward the Hispanic population and move toward the younger generation.”

An example from the Ortega brand is Tacos for Two, a kit with six taco shells, a packet of seasoning mix and a pouch of taco sauce.

“Tacos for Two is really driven toward that new younger family, younger couple, single person, 30-year-old who doesn’t want to buy the whole taco kit…” Mr. Cantwell said. 

B&G Foods also has added new spices and skillet sauces to the Ortega lineup.

“The skillet sauces are connecting with that consumer who wants to do some minor cooking but doesn’t want to do a lot of things,” Mr. Cantwell said. “And this gives them the base to do something very quickly in a frying pan, in a skillet, etc.”

Another focus at B&G Foods is health and wellness. The company has extended its Mrs. Dash franchise to include more options, such as seasoning grinders for grilling and Table Blends as a sodium-free alternative to salt and pepper shakers on the dinner table. The products are available in four varieties: sweet southern barbecue, spicy pepper with garlic, savory lemon with herbs, and roasted garlic with herbs.

“And again, this is all driven to those who want good flavor but potentially also can’t have much salt in their diet,” Mr. Cantwell said. “But the products eat well, and it is also consumers who can eat salt who just want to eat better-for-you and are trying to avoid salt in their diet but don’t really have a salt issue, but they just think salt is something they shouldn’t be using as much. So we are getting a lot of that consumer coming into this brand also.”

In addition to reaching new consumers, the company seeks opportunities to extend its brands into new categories. B&G Foods recently entered the boxed macaroni and cheese market with a new line under its Pirates Booty banner.

“It is a better-for-you mac and cheese, as we are looking for better-for-you products,” Mr. Cantwell said. “It is similar to Annie’s, Horizon, we think it tastes better than all of them. We think Pirate’s Booty has a shot at this really working because this is a better-for-your kid’s brand.”

The company also has reshaped its Rickland Orchards business of Greek yogurt-enrobed snack bars and bites by adding trail mixes and salad toppings.

“Most of the product line was a bar and a bite business, but it was all about enrobing it with Greek yogurt,” Mr. Cantwell said. “That business honestly has been very challenged.”

And for its newly acquired Bear Creek brand of dry hearty soups, B&G envisions adjacencies into rice mixes, pasta sides and more.

“Bear Creek soup mixes have been growing for a number of years,” Mr. Cantwell said. “Very strong distribution. We need to fill out distribution, see if we can expand that brand into other categories. The brand is well known in the categories it sells. They have tried to expand the brand into some rice mixes and some pasta sides. We're seeing how that works, but we are looking at that opportunity to use the Bear Creek name potentially in other things.”
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