‘We give the responsibility of children’s sugar consumption back to the parents’

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Moomin, Sugar

BakeryandSnacks spoke to Gustav Melin, global licensing director for Bulls Licensing, about the Moomin brand and its stance on collaborating with food producers.

Melin is responsible for a number of brands in the Scandinavian licencing agency’s portfolio, but his biggest client is Moomin Characters, which has become “an enormously successful licensing property over the past 20 years.”

The Moomin publishing business has grown 30% year-on-year since 2010, and had an estimated retail value of €750m in 2018.

Moomins were created by Finish-Swedish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson. Between 1945 and 1977, she wrote nine novels, four picture books and hundreds of comic strips, which were translated into more than 50 languages.

“What’s unique about Moomins is that the book was originally aimed at kids, but was quickly taken up as adult fiction,”​ said Melin.

Japan is the biggest devotees of Moomins, accounting for 45% of its revenue. In fact, in March next year, a Moomin-theme park will open in Saitama on the outskirts of Tokyo, complete with recreations of Moomin homes, the Moomin boat Oshun Oxtra (Ocean Orchestra) and Theatre Emma.

High quality licensing program

“The Moomin licensing program began in 1990 and today, we have tried to build a very high quality artist licensing program,”​ said Melin.

Melin says the brand usually partners with homeware goods; however, it has forayed into the food and beverage area.

“We try to make the Moomins product as collectible as possible,”​ pointing to a collectible tin that could be filled with biscuits.

Sugar alert

However, he emphasized, following the ‘heavy’ discussions about sugar content, the company has to be careful with whom they partner.

He said many brand licensors shied away from collaborating with sugar-related products aimed at kids as they afraid of the repercussions.

“Being responsible for the Moomin brand, we’re looking into where [food producers] stand, as well as looking into the future strategies of the whole industry. Maybe, we can reduce [sugar] a little bit to be the best product on the market. However, we also give the responsibility back to the parents.

“I think the success of a licensed product is that you have a good character, but also that the kids or the parents really love the content of the product. You won’t have a consumer buying it again if they don’t like the content.

“If there are companies and suppliers who are interested in using our fantastic brands, we would love to speak to them,”​ said Melin.

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