Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Adam Kobren, president, BobbySue’s Nuts, about its Branded Program, as well as why packaging design matters.

Liz Parker: What is Branded Program?

Adam Kobren: The Branded Program is a cost-share funding program that provides financial assistance to help U.S. food and agricultural exporters promote their products in international markets. Participants in this program receive 50 percent cost reimbursement for a variety of approved overseas marketing and promotional expenses, including:

  • Marketing and point of sales materials
  • PR and advertising
  • Tradeshow related expenses
  • Part-time contractors
  • Freight costs for samples
  • Seminars and educational training
  • Giveaway items
  • Website costs
  • Social media advertising
  • Podcast, radio, and TV marketing
  • Foreign market compliant packaging/labeling
  • Pre-approved international trade missions
  • Demos and merchandising

These services are made possible through funding from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA. For more information, check out this helpful pamphlet.

LP: How did BobbySue’s Nuts utilize Branded Program to redesign their product packaging?

AK: After years of attending Branded Program seminars through Food Export–Northeast, BobbySue’s Nuts has taken knowledge gained along the way with financial backing to design country specific packaging. Through the process, the company learned about the different types of statements and claims that are allowed/necessary on packaging and how that varies from country to country.


LP: What sorts of audiences were they specifically targeting?

AK: BobbySue’s Nuts targets audiences/customers that are looking for a great tasting, better-for-you snack. They do their best to partner with distributors and retailers (like Costco) that have the capability to introduce the products to these ideal customers. 


LP: What other programs did the companies use to help with trade show support, etc.?

AK: They sought export assistance early on through the Food Export Helpline and have also participated in Buyers Missions to help with maximizing international buyer leads at trade shows.


LP: Why does packaging design matter?

AK: As an emerging company without the resources to do heavy advertising in a new country, BobbySue’s Nuts believes that your packaging (on the shelf) is the best way to market your brand/product. Basically, it is your billboard in a grocery store and gives you the best chance to grab attention and create new customers ... assuming the packaging is appropriate and compliant for the region where it’s being offered.

  • Canada: “With bilingual (French/English) labels required on all packaging in Canada, U.S. manufacturers must often invest in a full package redesign in order to convey required information in a way that appeals to Canada’s sophisticated consumers. Canadian packaging must also be adjusted to reflect Canada’s regulation differences with the Nutrition Facts Table, how ingredients are listed and what health claims are acceptable.” - Kathy Boyce, Food Export–Midwest and Food Export–Northeast in-market representative for Canada
  • South Korea: “Suppliers must remember that package design is the first introduction of a brand to consumers. The attractive look of the packaging strongly helps to increase the sales of the products to South Korea’s savvy consumers, whether in retail stores or online, as well as to meet local labeling requirements.” - Ken Yang, Food Export–Midwest and Food Export–Northeast in-market representative for South Korea