Bimbo: The not-so-global brand

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Bimbo is the fifth most chosen food brand but global penetration is low, find Kantar World Panel
Bimbo is the fifth most chosen food brand but global penetration is low, find Kantar World Panel

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Bimbo is a popular bakery brand that is in growth but global penetration remains fairly low outside Latin America, an expert says.

In 2012 the Bimbo brand (not including sister brands like Sara Lee or Marinela) was chosen 900 million times across the globe, making it the eighteenth most chosen fast-moving-consumer-good (FMCG) brand, according to Kantar World Panel’s Brand Footprint report. 

It was one of the fastest growing brands in the report, with a growth of 6%, and also had a very high frequency of purchase - an average of 14 times a year.

Within the food category the brand placed even higher­ - in fifth place behind Maggi, Knorr, Lay’s and Oreo.

But in terms of global penetration, the brand still lags significantly behind, said Virginia Garavaglia, marketing director for Asia at Kantar World Panel and project manager for the report.

“One of the brand’s peculiarities is that its global penetration is only 7.6%. The four brands above Bimbo all have global brand penetration of more than 20%,”​ Garavaglia told

“Bimbo’s geographies are not too strong – they are not in many countries outside Latin America,”​ she said.

However, Bimbo is the only Latin American FMCG brand that made it into the global ranking, she added, and this is likely because of its reach, albeit small, beyond Latin America.

The Bimbo brand can be found in the US, where market penetration is 11%. In Asia, the brand is only present in China and in Europe it is just present in two markets - Spain and Portugal. Its core market Latin America represents 85% of the brand’s reach points.

The next big push is the US, but Asia should be next…

Bimbo’s next investment will be the US over this year and next, Garavaglia said, but Asia should be the company’s target after.

“In China they are still fairly small, but growth is healthy. Asian consumers are not big bread eaters, but in China already 4% are purchasing the Bimbo brand,”​ she said.

The marketing director said growth would likely be driven if Bimbo focused on sweeter variants in China – to fall in line with consumer preferences.

“Asian consumers appreciate Western flavors and products like croissants and madeleines – they are open to that. But offering something with more of a local flavour as well would work too,”​ she said.

Brazil is a ‘white space’

Within Bimbo’s core Latin America market, there are some countries where reach is declining – one of which is Brazil.

“In Brazil the Bimbo brand is almost inexistent. They are present in the country, but it’s tiny. They have never really actively entered the market,”​ she said.

Grupo Bimbo does operate in the market, but with different brands such as Pulmann, Plus Vita and Nutrella.

“Brazil is definitely a market that Bimbo should work on. It’s a white space.”

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The Real Significance

Posted by Jorge,

'Bimbo' is a sobriquet that in Italia some of the people say to their children. like 'bambino' thats means kid.

And i think that the name isn't a big factor because in English speaking countries have brands with names so 'empty' and they have so much succes,but the fact is that the quality and the flavor of their products are crucial to the succes of the brand.

Personally i like the flavor and quality of Bimbo's products.

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What's in a name...?

Posted by Simone,

The word "bimbo" having the connotation of "pretty but brainless female" in English speaking countries, and being a racist slur referring to dark skinned people akin to the English term "Sambo" in German speaking countries sure can't be helping much in establishing it as a global brand...

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