Leão worked as a market execution coordinator for Coca-Cola Andina Brazil, a group from Chile, for 11 years, focusing on marketing strategy positioning and distribution. He joined Santa Helena three months ago as marketing, product coordinator.
Six peanut brands
He told BakeryandSnacks he now wants to take that knowledge and expertise from CCC (The Coca-Cola Company) and use it to promote Santa Helena’s products, implementing market strategies to gain wider publicity for the brand.
He will be focusing on six products: Japanese-Mendorato peanuts, soya sauce, Crokìssimo crunch peanut, Amindus roasted peanut, Nutclass nuts, Grelhaditos, and Troféu, wheat snack.
Leão said Santa Helena has a great reputation but it wants to gain recognition worldwide.
Mirella Figueirdeo, export manager, Santa Helena, agreed and said the company wants to expand in the US and reach out to more consumers aside from its ‘home from home’ customers (Brazilian expats that live abroad but remain loyal to local brands such as Paçoquita).
It also wants to expand into new markets and recently launched Cuida Bem with 0% added sugars including an acai creamy spread and First, a whey protein peanut tablet to appeal to health conscious consumers targeting the ‘natural trend’.
“People are more concerned about their health. They are living longer and they are concerned about their weight, looking for alternative health-styles. Consumers are not just concerned about appearances but what they put into their body,” said Figueirdeo.
She said the busiest time of year for the company is in June when there are a lot of fiestas in Brazil, (Festa Junina) similar to Christmas time, and this is the main period for Santa Helena sales.
Festa Junina - from mid-June until the end of July celebrates the Catholic Saints; Anthony, John the Baptist and Peter. It is also a month to honor rain, the harvest season and marriage.
Guests are treated to delicious and typical food, will dress up like farmers, enjoy bonfires and dance the quadrilha. After Carnival, it is the second most important popular celebration in Brazilian culture.
Festa Junina’s origins date back to Portuguese colonization, and the holiday has developed over time to incorporate Brazilian cultural elements. The culture of indigenous populations, Afro-Brazilians and European immigrants has all influenced how the festivities are held in different regions in Brazil. Every region has its own way of celebrating, but the most impressive festivities and dances take place in the North East.
“It is a very traditional time of the year for Brazilians. But we want to find more opportunities like this to sell our products, similar to Coca-Cola at Christmas time,” added Figueirdeo.
“Santa Helena is also investing a lot in the market here in Brazil and we have an in-house Innovation Center with approximately 10 people working in conjunction with the marketing team.
“In September we will increase our shift patterns at our factory in Ribeirão Preto from two to three. We are also expanding the peanut roasting floor with manufacturing equipment for peanut cream spreads. Our top three export continents are Latin America, Europe and Asia and we are working on the US to increase sales there and working on product innovation to achieve that.
“We are focusing on Latin American first but we are not willing to change our packaging just yet. The idea is to export the ‘Brazil-ness’ of our products across Europe and Asia. Some of our more traditional products which are popular in Brazil are more difficult to sell overseas that’s why it’s easier to focus on Latin America first because those markets are familiar with our brands.
“The Innovation Center is focused on bringing new ideas to the table, identifying new trends and looking at consumer behavior and what our competitors are doing, so we can do something new and better.
“When we launched the ‘First’ protein bar, that was a big innovation for us, putting protein together with peanuts, targeting the on-the-go consumer, gym goers and families. We like to try putting different ingredients together with peanuts such as cinnamon and quinoa, and Cuida Bem (take care well) was launched as a sugar free bar with 4.4 grams of protein which is a high differential when you compare it to other players in the market as its more health conscious.”
Santa Helena has 1,400 employees, with about 800 people working on the factory floor production line. It has two factories, one in Ribeirão Preto where it produces its peanut based products such as its number one bestseller Paçoquita and peanut brittle Crokatto as well as other traditional sweets, and another factory in Dumont, called Terra Nuts, a peanut processing unit.
BakeryandSnacks travelled to Santa Helena in Ribeirão Preto with ABICAB (Brazilian Association of confectionery & peanuts industry) and ApexBrasil.