“Exciting" is how CEO and co-founder Galit Laibow described the rapid business expansion of Foodstirs. “We’re definitely fulfilling our mission and having our products accessible to more people,” she said.
Foodstirs launched in US retail in late 2016, focused primarily on the natural channel, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts. Now, its product lines have extended into several major mass stores, including Kroger, Safeway and Target, as well as Amazon.
US actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (middle) created Foodstirs with Galit Laibow (left) and Greg Fleishman (right).
Laibow told BakeryandSnacks the demand from its growing retail partners is not the only benefit of the association with US actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, who created the brand with her and COO Greg Fleishman.
Gellar drives consumer awareness, especially on social media, but also "deals with the retailer directly ... she comes to meetings and the office every day and, of course, it’s fun to bring in new followers, too,” said Laibow.
Fleishman said Foodstir’s key retail strategy is accessibility.
“It’s not just about getting our products on the shelf, it's more about identifying retailers who are willing to reenergize the [baking mix] category.”
Once a partnership is established, the retailer designs a trade promotion plan that taps into their marketing program and enables Foodstirs to have the right discounting, added Fleishman.
The baking mix aisle
Fleishman had always been a “diehard natural foodie” before joining the company, but found that 80% of the baking mix category is owned by legacy brands made with unhealthy ingredients, which has contributed to the category’s decline over the years.
Euromonitor projected the sales of US baking category will hit a new low at $1.42m by the end of 2017, compared to $1.72m in 2012. Even worse, category sales are expected to plunge to $1.3m by 2022, representing a 8.3% decrease compared to 2017.
Fleishman contended retailers could revive its baking mix aisle by stocking Foodstirs products.
“Foodstirs has the cleanest, the most sustainable ingredients, using Fairtrade cocoa and identity-preserved flours. We are also affordable from a price standpoint,” he said.
Foodstirs does not intend to join "food fads" like gluten-free or paleo.
“We’re trying to turn the baking aisle into a healthy, functional section… You are not going to see us coming out with things like a collagen- or probiotics- added baking mix. If we were on a fad, we would go down quickly as the fad losses its steam,” he said.
Instead, Foodstirs collaborates with ingredient suppliers, such as organic sweetener provider Wholesome.
Ramping up for the holiday season
The holiday season at the end of the year traditionally makes up around 30% to 35% of revenue for the baking mix category, said Fleishman.
For 2017, Foodstirs has launched two pumpkin flavored varieties exclusively for Target: organic chocolate chippy pumpkin bread mix and organic pumpkin spice stacks pancake mix. Additionally, it has introduced “very merry” gingerbread cookie mix and snickerdoodle blondie mix, available through all its retail outlets.
Foodstirs anticipates its business to grow tenfold by the end of 2017 compared to a year ago, and will continue its growth momentum in 2018 by adding more stores and launching new items.