“Our food business is definitely up – we are signing new deals and moving beyond the traditional confectionary, salty snacks and ready meal business. However, what is more important is that we are seeing renewals and also licensees expanding category coverage.
Our most recent example is the renewal of the Looney Tunes Active programme with Ulker – Turkey’s leading food company – for their range of calcium enriched dairy products for kids, Smart Aktif.
In the wider industry, there is clearly a strong demand from manufacturers and retailers to rethink or rework their kids proposition in terms of product formulation and portion packaging, but also the development of more entertaining ways to promote and communicate their new propositions. Some create their own characters, some prefer to borrow equity from iconic brands such as ours. My perception currently is that most prefer to combine the best of the two worlds.
In terms of trends, the first is the promotion of a more active lifestyle in general and for kids in particular – this was the starting point of the Looney Tunes Active initiative. The second trend is going to be the development of direct to retail and the acceptance of private label products, while the third is the continued development of portability/on the move consumption and ease of use.
Also, the development of micro segmentation – targeting specific demographics with specific consumer propositions, either in the area of premium pricing or the area of ‘special treat’. Finally, I also think there will be a move back to trusted/heritage brands and as a result we expect to see an increased share of classic properties in the food business over the next few years.
For the rest of the year, from a WBCP EMEA standpoint we anticipate continued growth for the Looney Tunes Active programme, with further new deals and product launches in the pipeline. However, we also expect strong developments for other trusted classic brands which have similar strengths in terms of awareness, values and relevance – for example, Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo and our superhero portfolio.
There may also be some interesting developments in the more niche segments targeting girls, teens or even adults. I also expect that the vintage trend may soon hit the food business as well.”