PARSIPPANY, NJ. — Even as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues on, a “good healthy portion” of B&G Foods, Inc.’s brands are gaining share, said Kenneth G. Romanzi, president and chief executive officer.
Presenting virtually as part of the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on Sept. 9, Mr. Romanzi said two-thirds of B&G Foods’ brands gained market share in the 12 weeks ended July 31.
“Many brands (are) just holding their own, and a small percentage of our brands (are) losing share,” he said. “A lot of that was, they were growing, they just weren't growing as fast. So we're gaining share in a good healthy portion of our brands.”
In a few cases, brands showing exceptionally strong sales growth have actually lost a bit of market share. But Mr. Romanzi said that is not a trend B&G is concerned about in the long term as things settle back down. Instead, he said the company is focused on doing everything it can to expand its supply chain.
“We have been stressing our supply chain quite some time,” he said. “It was on a 2.5-hour call just this morning. To look out over the next six months where we're still — out of 50 brands, we have three or four product categories that are still constrained. And so that's not good enough. We can't live with 85% customer service levels for the next six to nine months … Customers won't stand for it. We have to figure out supply solutions. Not as easy, right? We and the industry have stepped up every last ounce of excess supply.”
He said B&G Foods is focused on coming up with more creative solutions.
“Some of it's going to be repatriating product into reinvented sections of some of our own facilities,” he said. “Some of it will be (continuing) to search for co-manufacturing partners to supplement production on products we never produce outside, always produce inside. But if it's not enough, we need more. We want to meet our customer and consumers' needs.”
Mr. Romanzi said one of the silver linings in the dark cloud of the pandemic has been B&G Foods’ innovation pipeline. The company was set to roll out a full slate of innovation this year but the pandemic delayed those plans, a situation that hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing.
“We certainly didn't need the volume from that innovation,” he said. “So we just gave our R&D and our commercialization people a six- to nine-month breather, if you will. We did not stop development. So things that were supposed to be launched in the spring of 2020 got delayed to the fall of 2020, even the spring of 2021. Things that were supposed to launch in the fall of '20, now into '21. Things that are in '21, now into '22.”
In essence, the pandemic has made B&G Foods’ innovation pipeline “more robust with no extra effort,” Mr. Romanzi said.
“So we're feeling very good about the pipeline,” he said. “Our customers received our innovation very well. They're still very excited about it. They're just moving their resets for when they can handle it. We will be ready to ship it when they're ready. So we'll be even more ready to ship it when they're ready.”