Over the last four years, Ferrero’s Kinder brand has cemented its status as a top-performing confectionery brand in the United States.

The launch of the egg-shaped Kinder Joy in 2017 has brought millions of dollars in sales and recognition as a 2018 IRI New Product Pacesetter and a 2019 Product of the Year. 

Kinder Bueno, which launched in the U.S. two years later, is following in Kinder Joy’s footsteps, generating more than $100 million and earning a spot as an IRI 2020 New Product Pacesetter.

Catherine Bertrac, senior VP, marketing, Kinder North America, recently spoke to Candy Industry about the Kinder brand’s growth and some of its latest innovations and partnerships.

CI: Why bring Kinder Joy to the U.S. market? What about that product made Ferrero think it would work in the U.S.?

CB: Before launching in the U.S. in 2017, Kinder had been helping families around the world create special moments together for 50 years with high-quality chocolates filled with surprises. With global success, we knew it was time to introduce Kinder to North American families. 

CI: How would you describe the performance of Kinder Joy since its launch? 

CB: Kinder Joy is bringing families back to the chocolate category. Kinder Joy eggs are in 1 out of 4 households with kids 3- to 7-years-old2, and they are the fastest moving item in checkout in four of the Top 10 retailers3

We’re already a $200 million brand1 in the United States, with steady double-digit growth in revenue and distribution year over year.  

As the brand continues to increase visibility in the United States, we anticipate that Kinder Joy’s footprint will continue to grow rapidly, as 7 out of 10 households with kids that try Kinder Joy, repeat the purchase4.

  • 1Source: IRI, MULO+C, $ Sales & $ Sales % Chg, 52 WE 4/18/21
  • 2Source: IRI Panel, HHP, 52 WE 4/18/21, All outlets
  • 3IRI, MULO+C, $/$MM ACV, 12 WE 4/18/21, Ranked on $/SMM ACV Mainstream Chocolate Singles >20% ACV
  • 4IRI Panel, 52 WE 4/18/21, All outlets

CI: How has Ferrero leveraged licensing and seasonal themes to drive the growth of Kinder Joy?

CB: Kinder Joy has had multiple licensing partnerships throughout the years that have been a hit with consumers, including Avengers, Frozen, and Minions. Later this year we will be releasing a new licensed product that features toys designed in partnership with Mattel’s Barbie “You Can Be Anything Line,” designed to help parents teach their children to imagine all that they can be. 

Additionally, we will be unveiling limited-edition eggs in partnership with the National Park Foundation that will help parents and kids learn about U.S. wild animals and explore their natural habitats together.

Moments such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and the winter holiday season are priority moments for the brand, in which we are constantly unveiling new products and refreshing packaging. 

Easter is particularly a big moment for Kinder Joy and has proven to be highly successful for us. This year we unveiled the Kinder Kalendar, an online destination featuring daily activities to spark moments of happiness and help families create memories together with activities ranging from seasonal crafts and games to recipes, exclusive offers, and more.

CI: Why bring Kinder Bueno to the U.S. after Kinder Joy? How would you describe its performance here? 

CB: With Kinder Joy becoming an immediate success in the United States, we knew we had to unveil Kinder Bueno to consumers. Kinder Bueno is such a unique and upscale offering with a distinctive crispy-creamy, elevated taste experience, and it has been growing in popularity ever since it launched in the United States almost two years ago. 

In fact, Kinder Bueno recently landed in the top 10 of IRI's 2020 Food and Beverage New Product Pacesetters report, proving that consumers in North America are gravitating towards this brand. 

Already established as an over $100 million brand in the United States after just the first year, Kinder Bueno is just getting started. We recently launched Kinder Bueno Mini and are driving incremental growth by expanding the brand’s footprint at stores, while also meeting the consumer demand for confectionary products that are great for sharing.

1IRI, MULO+C, $ Sales, 52 WE 4/18/21

CI: Why develop Kinder Bueno Mini? What has the response been to that product? Is it exclusive to the U.S. or is Kinder Bueno Mini also available globally?

CB: As a brand that focused on experiences, it only made sense for us to expand our offerings with an innovation that is perfect for shareable moments, which is a nice contrast to our Kinder Bueno bar, which is great for on-the-go self-indulgence. 

Kinder Bueno Mini features the same texture and taste of Kinder Bueno, just smaller and individually wrapped. Kinder Bueno Mini is available in other markets, including Canada. The response has been overwhelmingly positive thus far, and in Canada, Kinder Bueno Mini was actually named a 2021 Product of the Year in the Mini Chocolate category by Kantar.

CI: Why develop Applaydu? How has the response been?

CB: With Applaydu, we wanted to provide parents with new and exciting ways to connect with their children. Kinder Joy has always aimed to help families create memorable moments, and through this new app, families can bring the toys in their Kinder joy eggs to life through augmented reality in a fun world of discovery and imagination. 

In terms of the response, Applaydu has had 400,000 downloads in the United States and has received very positive feedback from users with an average rating of 4.6 stars. Families are scanning, on average, more than three toys and have access to fun and educational games in a 100 percent safe and ad-free environment. 

CI: How have advertising campaigns supported the growth of the Kinder brand in the U.S.? What about social media?

CB: Since launching in the United States, for both Kinder Joy and Kinder Bueno, advertising campaigns and social media platforms have been instrumental in supporting our growth. We invest consistently behind our brands.

For Kinder Joy, we have executed multiple television advertising campaigns and are currently running a campaign for Applaydu. Additionally, we also recently launched "Go Wild Safari Series," a content series on YouTube that features episodes dedicated to each of the different animals that are part of the Kinder Joy Go Wild collection that is currently in the market. The series was developed for parents to help engage their children through exploration and the joy of learning.

For Kinder Bueno, we have also produced multiple television advertising and social media campaigns. Just a few days ago we launched the ‘buenobot,’ a new red-carpet inspired Instagram filter to help fans stop and savor their “Life Gets Bueno” moments. As part of our campaign, we are teaming up with influencers, including celebrity videographer expert Cole Walliser, who helped inspire our new filter.

CI: Has Ferrero expanded its manufacturing and distribution capacity to support the growth of Kinder in the U.S.? If so, how?

CB: Stay tuned! Our teams work hard to make sure retailers have all the product they need and will do what it takes to keep up with demand.

CI: Has the evolution of the Kinder brand changed or strengthened Ferrero’s relationship with retail partners? If so, how?

CB: Most definitely. Ferrero has always had strong relationships with retail partners in the United States, and with the addition of our Kinder brands in the United States, we are providing them with additional innovations that excite consumers of all ages and bring incremental revenue to the category.

CI: What’s next for the Kinder brand in the U.S.? Are there plans to introduce any other Kinder products here? Or are there plans to develop Kinder products exclusive to the U.S.?

CB: We’re very excited for our Barbie and National Parks offerings for Kinder Joy as well as new seasonal innovations. As for other news, stay tuned!

CI: What would you like to see happen with the Kinder brand?

CB: We’re working to drive continued growth for Kinder permanent offerings and seasonal products for Halloween, Holiday, Valentine’s Day and Easter. We have a lot in store over the next few years, and we are looking forward to sharing even more delicious treats and activations to help consumers experience all the Kinder brands have to offer.