‘Brand licensing will distinguish your snack or bakery product from every other product out there’

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Brand Licensing Europe brand licensing Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association UBM Global Licensing Group

BakeryandSnacks chat with Steven Ekstract, brand director of global licensing group UBM, of the benefits that brand licensing offers a food producer.

According to Ekstract, brand licensing does not take away from the producer’s core business but only adds value to their brand.

“People will see the product in the grocery store, and their trust in the brand will be reinforced when they go out and see it elsewhere,” ​he said.

“Bringing in a brand name that makes you recognizable to a consumer will also help you sell into retail more easily and it certainly helps you stand out on the shelf.

“It’s really a way to distinguish your product from every other product out there,”​ he added.

Billion-dollar business

Brand licensing is a billion dollar business globally, with retail and related revenue rising by 3.3% to $271.6bn last year, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA). Royalty revenue generated by licensed merchandise and services rose 2.6% to $14.5bn.

The States is the largest market, generating $157,662bn in revenue in 2017, 58% of the global income.

“You have 350 million people in the US who are extremely brand centric. It’s also a wealthy country, so the disposable income to buy brands is there,” ​said Ekstract.

Global Licensing Group hosts its largest show on its annual calendar in Las Vegas.

“It’s actually a global show, attracting visitors from around the world,”​ he added, noting Licensing Expo Las Vegas is now 38 years old.

According to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the UK is the number one market for retail sales of licensed goods in Europe, reaching a record $14.04bn in 2017.

UBM hosts Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) in London annually, which, this year, celebrated its 20th​ anniversary. The show has been held at Olympia for the past 15 years, however, it has now outgrown the venue and will be moved to ExCel next year.

The relocation is part of UBM’s ambitious strategy to evolve the show, attract even more European licensees, retailers and licensors, and improve the customer experience for both visitors and exhibitors.

Explosive growth within F&B

This year’s theme of food and beverage was selected due to its rapid growth and constant reinvention within licensing.

Next year’s trade show calendar

Licensing Expo Japan 2019, in Tokyo from March 13-15

Licensing Expo Las Vegas 2019, from June 4-6

Licensing Expo China 2019, in Shanghai from July 24-26

BLE 2019, in London from November 1-4

“Consumers are much more aware of nutrition and what they are putting into their bodies, while the whole celebrity chef thing has really compelled F&B’s entry into brand licensing – prompting a whole new array of licensed products using celeb chefs and name brands, as well as brands from other areas that are co-branding with food products,”​ said Ekstract.

Two years ago, the group opened two shows in Asia, including Licensing Expo Japan in Tokyo – the third largest market for brand licensing – and Licensing Expo China in Shanghai, the fastest growing market for brand licensing in the world.

“The Chinese have a hugely developed middle class, which has pent-up demand for Western brands. They are now eager to embrace brands, so brand licensing has exploded in China. They’re also the number one travelled country in the world right now, and as they are exposed to Western brands, the desire for those brands in their own country is even stronger.”

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