Beanitos is expanding into Europe earlier than planned following positive consumer testing in the market.
“We only signed up for ISM a month or two ago. A big part of us being here is really nailing down those learnings and finding out exactly how we’re going to proceed. We’re looking for distributors and co-packers,” John Serieka, executive vice president of marketing at Beanitos, told BakeryandSnacks.com at ISM/ProSweets 2015 in Cologne this week.
“We’re basically focusing on most of central EU – we’re getting set up right now to distribute into all EU countries, so which ones we find distribution in first is still to be determined,” he said.
Learning with clever partnerships
Serieka said strong partnerships would be vital, particularly given the differences in snacking compared to the US.
“We’re looking and truly counting on learning a lot from our partners here… We know enough to know what we don’t know and so we’re finding help here in the European market to make sure we do this correct,” he said.
Beanitos has already secured a partnership with a European flavor specialist to tweak seasonings to European tastes.
Flavor preferences in Europe, he said, differed slightly to the US - “it’s a little bit lighter; what we call truer, very Mediterranean-type flavors.”
However, Beanitos will initially bring over US salted varieties of its black bean, pinto and white navy bean chips. There are also no short-term plans to bring its puffed line over – launched in the US in May, last year.
Serieka said Beanitos may also have to adapt how it communicates product benefits such as gluten-free, all-natural and non-GMO to appeal to Europeans.
“The communication of those benefits will be different, but the features and benefits will be the same."
International expansion the long-term goal
Serieka said the move into Europe was a “very, very important part” of Beanitos’ long-term business plan.
“We are looking at other international markets too in parallel with Europe, but other multinational large markets - we’re going to go to the larger markets first,” he said.