Chocolate Industry

Cookies come to the fore

Tower Treats is passionate about gifts. “We believe even a single cookie can change someone’s day, so why not half a pound?” says Kerry Anna Lemasters, founder of Atlanta-based Tower Treats, which has a very creative distribution system.

Individually wrapped for maximum sharing, Tower Treats are large, irresistibly addictive peanut butter chocolate chip cookies hollowed out like ice cream. This local treat is shipped nationwide.

“I started Tower Treats while living in New York during the pandemic. I was inspired by New York’s cookie culture,” says Lemasters. “Our cookies are 3″ wide and I’m 6’2”.

New York plays a key role in its history. The cookie culture inspired the love for oversized treats, while the energy and vibrancy of the city provided the ambition. With a background in food and beverage PR, a love for all things chocolate/peanut butter, and an entrepreneurial dream, Lemasters brought all his favorite tunes from New York to Atlanta to create Tower Treats.

And as the effects of the global pandemic began to wane, its cookie sales grew thanks to the popularity of unique sweet treats and an efficient new business model. For one, Tower Treats works with Roam, an Atlanta-based corporate client similar to WeWork. Roam assists clients in meetings and delivers to their cafes.

His next question was how to get cookies into more hands — and mouths — of customers nationwide. “We’ve been very successful with corporate gifts,” she explains. “We work in a commercial kitchen in Atlanta and have hired Laura Cunningham as COO. Once she joined, we fell in love with selling. We do a lot of business-to-consumer sales now. We sell a variety of cookies now, and I would love to diversify. But we’ve learned that we need to be streamlined, and one of our main focus now is new cookie packaging. »

return trail

The Original Crumbs is launching a comeback under the direction of the company’s original owners. Mia and Jason Bauer, original founders of Crumbs Bakeshop, are back to relaunch the iconic brand that launched the gourmet cupcake nearly 20 years ago in 2003, and later helped spawn the cupcake craze that has grown. has spread across the world.

But a plan for rapid growth under different management as a publicly traded company turned sour for Crumbs Bakeshop, which in 2014 announced it was closing its nearly 50 remaining stores nationwide, according to published reports. Crumbs Bakeshop, which opened its first location in 2003, had grown to dozens of stores, and analysts noted that the speed of growth was proving too much to manage profitably.

Mia and Jason Bauer, original founders of Crumbs Bakeshop

When an opportunity presented itself to take over and relaunch the brand, Mia and Jason Bauer did not hesitate. They knew Crumbs fans would rejoice to be able to sample these beloved cupcakes, along with a delicious new line of cookies inspired by Crumbs cupcakes.

Starting in late 2022, Crumbs fans will be able to purchase signature Crumbs products at supermarkets and grocery stores across the country.

“It’s a much better model now,” Mia Bauer commented at the IDDBA convention, where Crumbs exhibited. “We want to keep this feeling of freshness, with a product shipped frozen. Now that we’re rapidly freezing our product, it’s pretty phenomenal. »

Ingredients of success

Famous Amos, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), announces the second cycle of the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs initiative, a grants and mentorship program that aims to provide the tools and resources needed to help black business owners to thrive.

The program includes a pitch competition, in which potential recipients submit an entry that includes a video-recorded elevator pitch and a written statement sharing the nature of their business, why it has the makings of a successful business, and how they plan to use the funds to build a sustainable operation. In sum, three business owners will receive $50,000 in unrestricted capital from Famous Amos, totaling $150,000 in cash rewards. Additionally, a full suite of mentoring and coaching resources will be provided by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

“We created the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs initiative to support Black businesses and honor the legacy of the brand’s founder, Mr. Wally Amos,” said Rachna Patel, Senior Director of Marketing for Famous Amos. “In addition to the Famous Amos awards grants, we believe it is equally important to offer resources such as mentoring, coaching and networking, which are provided by our community partner, the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “

The challenges facing black businesses on the road to sustainability are significant and many. According to a Brookings Institution report, black people make up about 14% of the US population, but only 2.3% of business owners. Results from the Federal Reserve System’s 2021 Small Business Credit Survey showed that most small business owners said they experienced financial hardship at the start of the pandemic, but the highest rate was reported by black business owners: 92%. The same survey also highlighted the difficulties black businesses faced in obtaining the capital they needed to survive the pandemic, with only 43% of black businesses receiving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that they asked, compared to 79% of white-owned businesses.

The lower personal wealth of black entrepreneurs is also holding back business start-ups, the report notes, underscoring the need for programs such as the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs initiative to provide the business capital black businesses need to boost their businesses. operations.

What’s more, according to a recent CNBC story, nearly 8 in 10 black-owned businesses typically don’t survive the first 18 months. Famous Amos strongly believes that pairing these entrepreneurs early on with financial resources and mentorship is a key ingredient to help lead a more positive direction.

Seasonal flavors

Pete Thomson, senior director of sales and strategy for Sugar Bowl Bakery, America’s largest minority-owned bakery, shares a key strategy for succeeding in today’s complex market, commenting on the future of freshly baked cookies and other fresh baked goods.

“We want to bring the flavor of the season to customers, rather than just the color of the season,” says Thomson.

A veteran of the food industry, Thomson exclaims that you need to be distinctive in your approach to every retail customer. After all, the purpose of the category is to please customers.

“The perimeter of the store is like a movie theater,” he says. “The biggest challenge for the bakery is for customers to pay for the experience. Get out of the mentality that the best price is the lowest price.

Notable food industry analysts agree.

“Having a moment of joy is critical to baking success,” says Ann-Marie Roarink of 210 Analytics. “Cookie kits are a perfect example. Hybrids are bigger in baking. I am convinced that there is still growth to come.

sugar-bowl-bakery-brownies-and-madeleines-in-plastic-boxSugar Bowl Bakery’s new packaging rolled out to stores nationwide this month.

IRI panelist Jonna Parker illustrates this point when she adds that in today’s marketplace, “the concept of saving time is important. That’s what we should be doing – but we’ve never educated the consumer to know that’s what we have.

Now that is changing.

Sugar Bowl Bakery recently announced the final step in a brand overhaul: new packaging. The new design is fresh and modern and pays homage to the happy personality of Sugar Bowl Bakery through fun illustrations and bright colors. The bakery, known for its madeleines and palm trees for more than 35 years, unveiled a new website last fall and its revamped packaging completes its design update.

“Sugar Bowl was founded in the mid-1980s, and since then the founders – five immigrant brothers from Vietnam – have remained focused on their mission to bring consumers the most delicious baked goods imaginable,” said Robyn Defina. , Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sugar Bowl Bakery. “While the brand’s core values ​​remained, it was time to give this beloved brand a fresh new look. The packaging now embodies everything we strive to be – a fun baked goods company, creative and inspired that pays attention to every detail – and every bite.

The new packaging is rolling out to stores nationwide and can already be spotted on the shelves of select Costco stores.

Sugar Bowl Bakery creates delicious, perfectly proportioned baked goods without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Its tasty, premium treats are available at an affordable price to the everyday consumer, and with ingredients you can pronounce, Sugar Bowl Bakery’s products are a sweet, guilt-free treat with less than 150 calories each and less of 10/g. sugar per serving. Its core offerings include madeleines, palms, brownie bites, Duet Bites® (half brownie bite, half madeleine) and donuts. In season, the company offers festive items like Pumpkin Madeleines, Gingerbread Bites, Tropical Pineapple Cake Bites and more.

Pop and sparkling

ICEE, a subsidiary of J&J Snack Foods Corp., recently announced its new sweet treat, ICEE Sandwich Cream Filled Cookies, showcasing fresh wrap options at IDDBA.

Fans can now enjoy the classic pop and fizz of their favorite soft drink in a delicious cream-filled cookie. Sandwiched between two vanilla wafers, the cookies feature ICEE cream flavored with cherry or blue raspberry – the same signature flavors fans have loved for over 53 years.

“We are continually innovating at ICEE and are excited to bring fans their beloved frozen drink flavors in a fun new cookie format,” said Natalie Peterson, Vice President of Marketing for The ICEE Company. “We have no doubt that these new Cream Filled Cookies will be a hit with fans. It’s a completely different experience – perfect for snacking on the go – with our beloved cherry and blue raspberry flavors that evoke nostalgia and make you feel like a kid all over again!”

Since 1967, ICEE has been a household name, forming its own category in the food and beverage market and becoming the number one brand in frozen beverages. The new cream-filled cookies join ICEE’s iconic portfolio, helping fans relive their childhood and create new memories with those they love. ICEE Sandwich Cream Filled Cookies are now available at Kroger stores nationwide, for an SRP of $3.29.