A Strong Differentiation Strategy Can Increase Ice Cream Sales
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
- BUSINESS TALKS -
The ice cream and frozen dessert industry is vast and has an array of different innovations emerging each month. You only have to take a quick look through any of our What’s New articles to see just how many new global launches and innovations have been released in the category this year alone.
With both large and small brands consistently emerging and innovating in this space at a high rate, ice cream and frozen dessert businesses need to establish their true point of differentiation early on in order to drive sales at a sustainable rate.
There are a few ways a company can differentiate themselves to their customers, for instance through price, quality of ingredients, or brand promise. Ultimately however, in order for your business or brand to be top of mind when your customer is searching for a solution, you need to be able to solve a real pain point that saves them either time or money, or both.
We spoke recently with Scott Cuppari, President and CEO of Wonder Natural Foods, the company behind the Better’n Peanut Butter brand to learn more about their product’s unique point of difference and how focusing on that has helped them increase their revenue by double-digits in 2021 alone. Their goal is to help ice cream and frozen dessert partners achieve equally impressive sales results by offering a peanut butter product with a uniquely beneficial attribute.
If you missed our first introductory article on Better’n Peanut Butter, read that first and come back here to continue once you’re done.
Tell us more about your brand’s unique point of difference and how it has helped you build success in your business.
Better ‘n Peanut Butter® is one of Wonder Natural Foods flagship brands that gives its customers the opportunity to consume great-tasting, creamy peanut butter, but with fewer calories, lower fat and an overall higher nutritional value.
The peanut butter shelf-set is full of unique labels, but what’s in the jar matters too.
The calorie content per serving of our Better ‘n Peanut Butter is only 100 calories in comparison to traditional peanut butter which usually contain around 200 calories per serving. In addition, we have also been able to significantly lower the fat content from approximately 16g of fat in most regular peanut butter brands to just 2.5g.
These nutritional benefits are currently in high demand as many of our partners sell to end-consumers who strongly value better-for-you products that don’t compromise on taste. We soon realised that our recipe had the potential to solve two problems at the same time.
Firstly, ice cream brands are looking for ingredients that allow them to share better-for-you products with their consumers - this is something we provide with our offering.
Secondly, traditional peanut butter is oil-based which is difficult to mix with dairy products, therefore ice cream manufacturers tend to use powder-based or peanut butter flavorings instead of the real thing. Our solution is water-based. That means that our peanut butter can be fully emulsified in ice cream and dairy products. This is hugely important for the category as peanut butter continues to be a popular ingredient with consumers and it means that dairy brands can include real peanut butter in their products instead of powders or flavors.
Our recent presence at an Ice Cream & Dairy show where we presented a new peanut butter variegate confirmed that peanut butter as an ingredient is still in high demand. The requests for samples we received on a new peanut butter variegate we presented there were exceptional and we are excited to be able to work further on its development and present it to US customers in Q3 of this year.
We believe that the key to a successful business is having a strong point of difference that fulfils a real need for your customers. We put a lot of work into better understanding our own customers and their ingredient needs. For example, our retail partners are looking to attract the health conscious consumer that wants a lower fat and/or lower calorie product which is what we provide. For our foodservice and ingredient partners, the same applies but the product has to work well operationally too - our water-based recipe meets that need.
What are the primary challenges you face in an increasingly competitive industry and what learnings did you discover from facing them?
Ingredient sourcing and delivery delays were a struggle for every food manufacturer in 2021 but noticing this happening early on meant that our team were able to become more flexible and plan around longer lead-times.
Our agility has been our biggest strength throughout the whole pandemic and has allowed us to work through these challenges along the way. We have been able to remain agile enough to ensure that we never missed a production deadline nor did we experience any sell outs for our customers and distributors.
We now know that maintaining our agile nature will better serve the needs of our customers and distributors and we are working to ensure this is the case in everything we do. Applying this same agility to our innovation processes is also important. For instance, we already offer flexibility in flavors but we will also look to introduce more options in our retail product assortment as well in terms of our ability to offer different sizes, formats, and packs as per customer requirements.
What’s next for Wonder Natural Foods?
We plan to further drive penetration throughout the frozen dessert and dairy ice cream category while increasing our presence in the foodservice segment as hospitality reopens post-pandemic. We have the production capacity to best serve the needs of the foodservice segment and as traffic begins to return to pre-pandemic levels, we would like to help drive innovation that meets the nutritional and operational needs of partners in the ice cream and frozen dessert industry as a whole.
We are therefore open to connecting with retailers and manufacturers interested in incorporating better-for-you ingredients into their lines. We would also welcome conversations with interested foodservice brokers in the US to discuss potential partnership opportunities in that space.
If you are interested in connecting or partnering with Wonder Natural Foods, you can find more information on how to do that here.
Alternatively, if you have a business solution or brand story that you would like to share with the ecosystem, reach out here.
Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Andrea MONTREUIL (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.innodelice.com.