The lollipop is deceptively simple, but its simplicity offers a world of possibilities in terms of flavors and revenues. Perhaps no one understands this better than New Hampshire’s Original Gourmet Food Company, which for the past few years has developed the humble lollipop into a gourmet sweet treat with mass appeal. Marketing Director Angela LeBrun explains that the company’s lollipops are the key driver of the company’s success, and that has as much to do with how sweet they are for retailers as they are for consumers.
Original Gourmet has come a long way since its inception. The company’s original focus was on seasonal gift items such as cookies and others sweets and snacks. As LeBrun explains, the company was approached by some buyers who were looking for a gourmet lollipop product, and its established distribution network made it easy for Original Gourmet to get those products into stores. Since then, the success of the company’s lollipop products has opened new channels, including convenience stores, mass-market retailers and grocery retailers.
“It’s a great product because it applies to all the classes and the masses,” LeBrun says. “Young and old, everybody loves these lollipops.” Thanks to the innovative nature and flavors of the company’s lollipops, Original Gourmet has the pieces in place to reach even greater heights in the near future.
Before Original Gourmet started producing its own, lollipops generally were one of the simplest kinds of candies. What the company brought to the category were a diverse array of gourmet flavors, an eye-catching design and a commitment to innovative retail displays. “The product itself isn’t like anything else on the market,” LeBrun says.
That begins with the shape of the company’s lollipops. Whereas the majority of lollipops are die-stamped, Original Gourmet makes its pops through a gravity-deposited system. This creates a spherical pop, rather than the flat, disc-like shape of most lollipops. LeBrun says this means Original Gourmet’s pops don’t have sharp edges or ridges that can be uncomfortable on people’s tongues, and it also means the consumers get more candy on the stick than a traditional lollipop. LeBrun says the company’s pops average 120 calories and generally last an hour, giving consumers a treat that lasts longer than the typical sweet without contributing more sugar to their diets.
The company’s lollipops also offer consumers something unique in terms of flavors when compared to the average candy. Although Original Gourmet’s pops can be found in more traditional flavors such as cherry and watermelon, it also makes lollipops in flavors including cotton candy, bubble gum, banana split, strawberry shortcake and mocha latte. Many of the company’s flavors are made with real cream, giving them an eye-catching swirled look that stands out thanks to the company’s use of clear wrappers. “The end-result is that we have this beautiful product,” LeBrun says. “Seeing the product sells itself.”
To help consumers see them for themselves, Original Gourmet has developed some innovative display options for retailers. First and foremost is the company’s patented magnetic pole, which can be attached almost anywhere close to the point of sale to catch impulse buyers. LeBrun says retailers appreciate the display because it allows them to utilize space in their stores that would have gone unused otherwise.
“Retailers love it because they generate revenue in an untapped space, moving lollipops out the doors and revenue into the drawers,” she says.
One of the biggest advantages Original Gourmet has is that it is a relatively small company in the confection marketplace, which gives it the ability to be quick and nimble when it comes to responding to market trends. For example, LeBrun says the company develops seasonal flavors such as pumpkin latte and can cycle those products in and out of distribution faster than a larger company can. “We are a smaller company still when you compare us to some of those confection giants,” she says.
Another innovative marketing strategy that has been paying off for the company is Original Gourmet’s “Pops ‘n Drops” mobile video game. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices, the puzzle game gives players the opportunity to scan UPCs from Original Gourmet products to add more “lives.”
Original Gourmet continues to build on the success of its lollipops with the development of related products. LeBrun says the company will be launching a line of hard candies called Lolli-Drops that duplicates the flavors of its lollipops in a drop form suitable for candy dishes. Original Gourmet also plans to release a line of mini-pops sold in bags for everyday enjoyment as well as holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day.
Regardless of the form its products take, Original Gourmet is confident that its lollipops will continue to be a major component in the company’s success.
“The lollipop is such a great product,” LeBrun stresses. “I think the velocity of sales and the revenue for our retailers is just going to continue to increase.”