Talking Shop with… Kyle Stenzel

Kyle Stenzel, vice president of marketing for Signature Brands, says more consumers are showing interest in food decoration. 

As a leader in the edible food-decoration category, what do you see happening within the category?
Kyle Stenzel: Consumers are so engaged in social media and continually looking for kyle_stenzelinspiration. They are also looking for opportunities to share what they have created—not just for the holidays but every day. Continuing to drive those tech-savvy consumers to take their game further is key, so having a robust decorating assortment at grocery is really a necessity in this category.

Retailers always want to maximize profits. What promotion and display recommendations would you make to help them succeed?
Decorating provides a unique opportunity for promotion and display. Baking mixes and frostings are heavily promoted. Decorating, basically a margin driver in the category, is not. So, retailers supplementing their baking mix promotions and displays with decorating are bound to build the basket ring and margin in the category.

How important are the changing seasons to your category, specifically, Easter and Christmas time frames?
It goes beyond Christmas, Easter and Halloween. They, along with Valentine’s, would be considered our four key seasons, and they continue to drive the bulk of sales in the category. However, our consumer insights tell us consumers are engaging in the category more regularly, and we need to be there for the consumer. Whether it is reminding them online or at the shelf through merchandising, we need to offer more inspiration. Because of this, Signature Brands is offering up many seasonal displays and promotions, such as back-to-school, graduations, Super Bowl and even birthday customized displays and promotional offerings to help the retailer drive growth in the category.

Talk about co-branding relationships and their importance?
As far as our Signature Brands licensing relationships—which is what they are rather than co-branding relationships—they allow us to leverage partnerships with big companies like General Mills and Unilever, which we also license the Breyers brand from, to provide a solution to the consumer. The consumer really sees the brand as one and does not understand that there are different companies marketing to them. So, providing a cohesive marketing approach with our licensors is really key. It drives category growth, both in baking and ice cream decorating as well.

What new products has Signature recently marketed?
Our big product launch in 2013 was our Breyers ice cream toppings. We partnered with Unilever to develop the licensing relationship and launched the Breyers ice cream toppings. All of our flavors are developed without the use of high-fructose corn syrup and were consumer tested and approved in tasting panels. Part of our success in the launch was offering them in convenient, easy-to-use microwavable pouches. Specifically in the baking space, we focused on some line extensions in 2013 to capitalize on existing baking trends. However, for 2014, we have some exciting new products launching that have been researched and validated. They are sure to generate increased usage occasions for the consumer and the retailer. We have not shown these to the trade yet, so unfortunately I am not privy to sharing that information quite yet.

What does the future look like for both the company and the category?
Signature is going to continue to invest in understanding our consumer better than anyone else to drive that increased household penetration. Our research shows us that of the 70% of households that bake desserts, only approximately 44% of those households decorate. That leaves us a lot of opportunities with the consumers that are allowing their baked desserts to go out what we would say “naked.” We’re focusing our efforts on closing that gap, driving category growth. The future is bright, and decorating is as relevant as ever.

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