Brill, a CSM Bakery Solutions company, says there is a huge emotional connection between consumers and the brands that matter to them.
Brands matter to consumers. Many shoppers build relationships with the brands and labels they have been grabbing off center-store shelves for years.

“We know from consumer packaged goods that brands matter to consumers, and come with enormous emotional connection,” says Sebastian Siethoff, senior vice president of corporate strategy for Brill, a CSM Bakery Solution company. “Consumers buy on impulse for different consumption occasions and that moment of recognition of a licensed product, with its recognizable brand, is a trigger for just such purchases.”

That’s what helps make branded baked goods such an integral part of an instore bakery program. And some data suggests that consumers have an even stronger tie to brands when it comes to desserts and other indulgent items.

A Datassential study, done in conjunction with MARS Foodservice in 2016, found that 80 percent of consumers say branded candies make for better-tasting desserts. That same study from a year earlier found that nearly 80 percent of consumers agree that branded inclusions make for more craveable desserts. MARS also says that its research has found that half of all consumers will pay more for MARS brands inclusions in desserts.

Numbers like that might not be that surprising when you consider the well-known names represented by companies like MARS and Brill. MARS, of course, can offer inclusions from the likes of M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Dove, Milky Way and more.  Brill’s licensed products include popular names like Hershey’s, Reese’s, Nutella, Oreo, Ghiradelli, Welch’s, Cadbury and more. 

Brill — which was rebranded in North America by CSM in February — began its licensing journey in the U.S. just over three years ago after establishing itself as a global leader in licensing with well-developed programs across several European markets. CSM is a global provider of bakery ingredients, products and services for retail and foodservice markets as well as artisan and industrial bakeries. The company — including Brill — services more than 45,000 customers in 100-plus countries.

Since joining the licensing game in the United States, Brill has seen double digit growth.

“Our experience is that branded bakery products will drive incremental sales and help to grow the category by expanding category appeal,” Siethoff says. “We have seen branded fresh bakery items sell twice as fast as non-branded items and at a premium price.”

A Datassential study says 78 percent of consumers think desserts are more craveable with branded inclusions, like M&M's.
Those well-known brand names provide consumers with a desirable dose of familiarity in products where they might not be expecting it.

“Bringing confectionary or indulgent brands like Hershey and Cinnabon to fresh bakeries can give consumers more access and opportunities to experience brands they know and love, with a twist of something new,” says Siethoff.

One example Siethoff points out is a Cinnabon-branded muffin, which brings the popular decadence of Cinnabon’s classic roll cream cheese icing to a moist Makara cinnamon muffin. Those well-known brand names can draw consumers into the bakery department, where they are willing to pay for them and, perhaps, other items.

“Branded bakery items help to attract consumers to fresh bakery, but at a premium that complements the retailer’s existing line,” he says.

MARS points out that formulating recipes with branded products like M&M’s, Twix or Snickers is a simple way to add complexity and refinement to desserts. The crunch of an M&M’s shell or, the sweet and salt balance of the Twix, or the combination of roasted peanuts, nougat, caramel and chocolate in Snickers are individual strengths and attributes that can be utilized. They can be chopped or even frozen and can provide a complex addition to a bakery item.

MARS also notes that highlighting brand names on menus allows consumers to have a better idea of what flavors they can expect.

Siethoff recommends merchandising branded baked goods in areas with high visibility.

“One key to success with licensed bakery programs is co-placement in high-traffic areas, such as the store entrance, dairy aisle, the front-end perimeter and by the checkout, as well as in the fresh bakery where impulse sales are likely,” he says.

Siethoff says success in the branding department is strongly impacted by partnering with brands that have easily-translatable equities in convenient formats for retailers to sell and consumers to purchase.

“At Brill, we’ve partnered with highly recognizable brands that are leaders within their category and that can reinforce the key drivers of the fresh bakery category — freshness, quality and taste,” he says. “Our current portfolio includes partnerships with The Hershey Company, FOCUS Brands and Mondelez. As we launch smaller formats that represent more individual or mini-indulgences, we expect the growth to continue.”