'Licensing is at the heart of our business' says Bon Bon Buddies' Emily Howarth

After being awarded the licensing contract for The Secret Life of Pets earlier this year by Universal, Bon Bon buddies has revealed it is ‘thrilled’ to develop a line of confectionery based on the film. Here, the firm’s international licensing manager Emily Howarth, reveals what licensed confectionery has been most popular and the company’s excitement to be shortlisted for a LIMA international licensing award.
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How has the year been so far for you?

2016 has kicked off to a great start. We recently signed DC Comics, the home of the nation’s favourite superheroes such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, as a new license, which is fantastic news. Our first 2016 product, the collectable Crispy Choc Mini Tins featuring DC Comics, My Little Pony and Minions characters, also successfully launched in March 2016 across UK and Irish retailers, which included a nationwide in store display in Lidl.

You recently gained a licensing agreement for The Secret Life of Pets. Can you tell me a bit more about this deal?

We’re thrilled to have been awarded the contract to produce the official confectionery range for Universal Studio’s long-awaited summer motion picture, The Secret Life of Pets. We were awarded the licensing contract earlier this year by Universal, which previously awarded us with the license to produce our fantastic range of Minion’s products after the success of its animated comedy, Despicable Me.

What types of confectionery will be available in the line?

The Secret Life of Pets confectionery range consists of six themed products based on the film, featuring main characters Max, Duke, Chloe and Gidget. The range comprises Surprise Bags (small - RRP £1.09 and large - RRP £1.99), Surprise Eggs (RRP 89p), a six-pack of chocolate bars (RRP £1.00), individual chocolate bars (RRP £1.00) and Crispy Choc Mini Tins (RRP £1.00). Movie fans across the UK can now purchase the range from Wilkinson’s and other leading retailers nationwide.

How important is licensing to you?

Licensing is at the heart of our business, accounting for 80 per cent of our operations. Bon Bon Buddies started solely as a licensing business in 1993, but has since expanded into third party distribution, following our long-term relationship with major brands such as Pez and Zaini. Not only do we manufacture licensed products, but we also create our own brands, such as Brain Blasterz – a sour range of sweets.

Are there any other potential partnerships on the cards for you this year?

We can’t disclose this at present, but there are big things in the pipeline for Bon Bon Buddies – keep your eyes peeled.

What licensed confectionery has been the company’s most popular and most successful?

Our Surprise range of products have taken consumers by storm. We currently sell over nine million of our Surprise Eggs annually, featuring licensed characters such as Minions and Disney Princess.

We’ve also had incredible success with the Surprize Qube. Launching last year, we have already sold over three million units worldwide. In this case, we wanted to create an innovative piece of confectionery that children could enjoy as a sweet, but also to play and build with. The Minons Surprize Qube does just that – each Qube is sold as an individual building block containing a 10g pack of strawberry flavoured chewy candy with added fruit juice, three character stickers and two push out and build character standees. The building blocks can be used to build shapes in all directions and, by collecting the Qubes, children can create an imaginary world for their characters.

You have also been shortlisted for the LIMA International Licensing Excellence Award. What does that mean to you?

The success of our Minions Surprize Qube has led to our nomination in the Food and Beverage category in the International Licensing Excellence Award, and we couldn’t be happier.

The LIMA Awards are the industry’s highest global honour for licensing excellence, so to be nominated for an award of this calibre is exciting news for the company, and testimony to the widespread popularity of our Minion’s range.

We currently operate in all EMEA countries, China and South East Asia, as well as distributing our products across the US and Australia, so to be recognised in these international awards for product excellence means that our product and growth strategies are working, and that our continuous hard work over the past 23 years is paying off. It’s an honour to be shortlisted alongside so many respected global players in the food and beverage industry.

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