Burke Raine, SVP and CMO at Hostess, told BakeryandSnacks at the NACS Show - held in Chicago from October 17 to 20 - the company will continue to bring new items and accelerate growth with “bullish prospects” next year.
“C-store is an important channel for Hostess and a big part of our growth will come from there moving forward,” he said.
What’s in the playbook?
One page out of Hostess’ playbook is expanding product formulations, said Raine.
"When we talk about younger consumers and Millennials, variety is the routine.”
Next year, Hostess will introduce frosted strawberry mini donuts and carrot cake mini donuts under the Donettes brand; dark chocolate raspberry cupcakes, as well as golden sponge cake with strawberry filling under Twinkies. These products will be available across all channels.
“We also upgraded our pies so our cherry and apple pies have new crusts and fruit fillings that are much more appealing to our consumers,” he said.
Additionally, Hostess continues to “push the envelope with peanut butter,” added Raine.
“We've got chocolate peanut butter Twinkies ... [and] we’re also introducing chocolate peanut butter Ding Dongs. Ding Dongs is our fastest growing brand and we’re going to ‘double down while we have a hot hand’.”
On the cake side, Hostess will roll out two new varieties – ice lemon and cream cheese cakes – in c-stores across the US later this year.
Raine said c-store is not just a channel for mass-produced sweet bakery products, as many premium brands are going above and beyond the specialty aisle to mass and convenience as well.
“There is space for both indulgent and better-for-you products in a convenience store environment,” he said. “Our hardcore portfolio is indulgent, and our consumers come to us for great taste… but when we have the opportunity, we’re also looking to add health and wellness benefits [to our baked goods].”
“Our recently launched Bakery Petite line, for example, utilizes cleaner, high quality ingredients,” he said. “There are no high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or colors and the line is made with real cocoa and vanilla.”
Raine declined to comment on the target growth for Hostess in 2018, but said the company is expected to continue to be the “share leader” in the sweet baked goods category in c-stores.