Jacobs said the creation of his position was to place continued emphasis on launching new products and packaging, grow distribution and build on consumer engagement.
New retail categories
Hostess recently expanded into several new channels since the brand returned to the US market in 2013, including in the frozen food aisles, food service and instore bakery sections.
The acquisition of Superior last year laid the foundation for the company’s instore bakery footprint, Jacobs said. For example, earlier this year, Hostess combined Superior’s black and white cookie with its Squiggle cupcakes, creating a new format.
Hostess has reported 7% organic growth year-over-year, including the Superior in-store bakery acquisition.
However, according to Jacobs, the company's retail expansion will not stop there and Hostess has been looking at different product categories to integrate into its business through new product ranges.
“We need to decide if we’re going to do it ourselves or if we’re going to find a partner,” he said. “For example, we recently launched bagels in a partnership with Walgreens. We also launched ice cream with Nestlé. There are dozens of opportunities we’re focused on.”
Hostess is also launching a microwavable Ding Dong Lava Cake in July as its next entry into frozen snacks to complement its Deep Fried Twinkies.
FDA labeling law
The FDA recently announced it will extend the compliance date for the nutrition facts label rule, which was originally set at July 2018 for larger companies, and July 2019 for smaller ones.
“Hostess has not [as yet] evolved its packaging graphics to be in compliance with the FDA nutritional labeling act,” Jacobs told BakeryandSnacks.
“We’re evaluating the [FDA’s] decision… and no deadline, at this time, has been provided. We will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
Partnership with Amazon upon Whole Foods acquisition
The Amazon impact
Last week, Amazon announced it is purchasing Whole Foods for $13.7bn, a move that many industry experts believe will benefit the confectionery and snack product categories, as they can easily migrate from brick & mortar stores to online space to reach a mass audience.
According to Jacobs, Hostess is actually one of the few US snack cake brands available on amazon.com.
When asked what impact the acquisition might have, Jacobs said Hostess is “well-positioned” to continue collaborating with the e-commerce giant.
“I don’t think the acquisition of Whole Foods will, in any way, impede our partnership with Amazon,” he added. “In fact, our partnership is growing.
“Today, if you go to Amazon Prime Pantry, depending on where you are in the US, you can access to 25 different Hostess products. We would like to continue to work with Amazon in every way that they want.”