Bimbo Mexican brands making mark in United States

by Eric Schroeder
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Takis snacks
Takis brand showing strength among young consumers.

MEXICO CITY — Oroweat, Thomas’ and Nature’s Harvest are recognizable brands in the United States, and Grupo Bimbo believes it has some Mexican brands that may be able to build upon the Mexico City-based company’s commanding presence in the United States.

Bimbo and Marinela are two Mexican brands that have a foothold in the U.S. market, accounting for “a significant portion of our sweet goods business,” Fred Penny, president of Bimbo Bakeries USA, said during an Oct. 23 conference call with analysts.

Fred Penny, Bimbo
Fred Penny, president of Bimbo Bakeries USA

“I’d say it’s roughly 25% or so of our total U.S. sweet goods portfolio, and it’s performing very well this year as it has in prior years, and I think there is more growth potential for both Bimbo and Marinela brands in the U.S.,” he said.

Daniel Servitje, chairman and chief executive officer, noted that while the company’s sweet goods portfolio has transferred well from Mexico, so too have Bimbo’s other brands in the confectionery and salty snacks categories.

“We have a separate team working on these categories with synergies also with the Bimbo Bakeries’ business in many regions in the country, and we’re very pleased with the growth,” Mr. Servitje said. “We have a plant in the U.S. focused on basically producing these salty snacks items, and we also do a lot of export from the Mexico zone. So that’s a growing business.”

Mr. Servitje also talked of the potential of the Takis brand, a corn tortilla chip produced by Barcel USA, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo. In 2014, Barcel received Nielsen’s 2014 U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Award for its Takis snack line, an honor only given to 14 companies across all consumer categories.

Daniel Servitje, Bimbo
Daniel Servitje, chairman and c.e.o. of Bimbo

“Takis is, I would say, a very interesting brand with an appeal in all groups in the U.S., and especially very strong with the young generation zone,” Mr. Servitje said. “We’re building our distribution efforts, and we’re happy where we are there.”

The ability of Grupo Bimbo’s brands to transition from market to market is a testament to its standing as a global brand, Mr. Servitje said.

“We see ourselves not necessarily talking about Mexican brands, but we have a stable of brands that we apply whenever that’s possible … and we might export from one country to the other one,” he said. “But at the end of the day, what we wanted to have is, these brands that resonate that add value on differentiation points to our consumers in the different markets.”
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