There have been some major game changes in the biscuit industry in the past few months and now Burton’s Biscuit Company, following a non-stop 2015 so far, has today announced ambitious plans to crack the US market.
Not content with the UK £2bn biscuit market, it has set its sights, as have many would-be celebrities, on America and has cited a projected $100m (£66.1m) business ambition in ‘the medium term’. Does it stand a chance?
I believe it does. It will mainly come down to product longevity and, in part, to campaigning for the initial splash. The product choice seems sound: the Cadbury Fingers range, which Burton’s is licensed to manufacture, has been adapted for the sweet-toothed American market.
Lucky US consumers will be privvy to the Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and just-launched Salted Peanut Crunch varieties, with plenty of consumer and trade marketing to really ram it home.
I’d also be tempted to say the estimate for the business’ worth ‘in the medium term’ (while that is quite vague) is conservative. Somewhat less scientifically, have you ever tasted American favourite Hershey’s chocolate? Cadbury’s could wipe the floor with it.
Setting its ever-hungry eyes on the US is just the latest in a very busy year so far for Burton’s, which has seen two sweet product launches and promises more of a savoury nature to come. January and March, respectively, saw Soft Baked cookies – an extension of the £47m Maryland brand, and Jammie Bakes – the second product variation of the “most famous” £20m Jammie Dodgers brand, which began its multiples roll-out last week.
Who knows, before long Burton’s could be chipping away at the market share currently firmly in the hands of arch-rival United Biscuits (UB).
UB has also been in the news – and of course, our magazine – this week as Martin Glenn has upped ship and stepped down as chief executive after just two years at the top. Some may speculate that the reshuffle is coming suspiciously soon after the not-unexpected purchase of the biscuit giant and McVitie’s owner by Yildiz Holdings, owner of the Godiva chocolate business, in November 2014.
But others may simply view Glenn’s move rather jealously, as the lifelong football fan assumes his new position as chief executive of the English Football Association. Can you say: ‘dream job’? And, let’s face it, at a certain age it may be wise to remove yourself from the vicinity of endless free biscuits.