The company is targeting sales of £1M for the brand by August 2015 after introducing its range into Tesco outlets in partnership with brand builder Elephants Can’t Jump. Products include Banana Chips, Tempting Tropical Mix and Terrific Trail Mix, containing mixes of nuts and dried fruit.
“We have three products going into Morrisons on November 10,” Tracy Kane, brand manager of Community Foods, told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “The first thing was: get the core range established in Tesco and then up and running with other customers.”
The aim now was to roll the brand out to other retail channels and extend it into other categories, as well as to grow sales with Tesco, said Kane. “We are looking at smaller formats and other aisles.”
‘Migrating into more Metros’
Convenience formats and channels clearly offered considerable potential for growth, as Jumble Bee snack packs had been flying off the shelves of Tesco Metro stores in London, she said. “That hasn’t been the main focus of our distribution, but we will be talking about migrating into more Metros having seen those results.”
Community Foods also aimed to expand its overall business with Tesco, Kane added. “We have eight products in Tesco and are looking to expand on that with new flavours in original sizes and new formats in different places in store.”
In terms of overall product development, she said: “We are looking mainly at pack formats, smaller sizes for on-the-go snacking, and more interesting and unusual fruit varieties. We’re looking at launching more new lines in February next year and will offer them to the whole marketplace.”
It was also seeing a resurgence of interest in organic food as consumers started to become more affluent again and became more interested in the source of foods, said Kane. As result, it was looking at expanding that side of its business, she said.
Community Foods, which was set up in 1971, boasts annual sales of £65M, and, in addition to the Jumble Bee brand, sources ingredients such as dried fruit for other manufacturers, including muesli processors. The company has a manufacturing facility at Witham in Essex and also supplies a variety of own-label products and branded and non-branded organic lines.
Investing in packaging equipment
Tied into its aim to expand sales in convenience, the company was investing an undisclosed sum in new packaging equipment, said Kane. “We want to make things a bit easier for consumers to open and reseal.”
She added: “There will be new capacity and we will need another line at some point. At the moment we are running double shifts.”
In addition, she said: “We have just spent a lot of money strengthening our technical team. We are putting one or two more people on the ground at Witham.”