Dawn Foods goes direct to consumers with nostalgic baked goods line

by Joanie Spencer
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Firefly cookies
Cookies and brownies from Dawn Foods’ Firefly Baking Co. appeal to moms who want to feel good about the treats she can offer her children. 

Every generation looks back on the “good old days” — when times were simpler and life was a bit easier. And why not? In an age cluttered with an overwhelming amount of information, opinions and evolving technology, people look back on the familiar for comfort and perhaps a feeling of safety. And today, food is the perfect way to get there.

Dawn Foods, Jackson, Mich., recognized this need in its latest consumer trends research. “We found this consumer we called the ‘balanced engager,’” said Jenny LaPaugh, senior director of global market research and insights for Dawn Foods. “She wants to treat her family, but she doesn’t always feel good about the options out there, so she ends up buying things she might not feel great about.”

Ms. LaPaugh said this type of consumer wants to feed her family baked goods but also wants them to be real and taste good. 

To meet this need, Dawn launched Firefly Baking Co., a branded line of packaged baked goods sold directly to consumers. Firefly products — which include three types of cookies and three types of brownies — are made with real ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, according to the company.

The Firefly Baking Co. brand answers one of the latest consumer trends Dawn identified in its most recent consumer research. The trend, which the company coined “Simple & Pure,” reflects consumers’ no-fuss approach to eating, which includes the desire for real food made with easy-to-understand ingredients.

“It revolves around people wanting to go back to when things were simpler,” Ms. LaPaugh said. “Consumers remember a time when they knew where their food came from, like when grandma made it.”

Firefly Baking Co. cookie varieties include chocolate chunk, peanut butter chocolate chip and pumpkin white chocolate chunk. Brownies include triple chocolate, mint chocolate chunk and white chocolate macadamia nut blondie. The Firefly Baking Co. products, which rolled out at the beginning of the year, are sold in supermarkets nationally and have a suggested retail price of $4.99 for the 6.9-oz cookie pouches and 6-oz brownie cartons.

Identifying the balanced engager as a tech-savvy consumer, Dawn has taken advantage of digital marketing initiatives.

“We know this consumer over-indexes her digital media interaction, so we make sure we’re in that space,” Ms. LaPaugh said. 

Created for the in-store bakery, Firefly products may be merchandised with a special display with a wood-crate detail.

“We’ve offered this as an easy way to get the message across, such as with the wood feel of the display to communicate that it’s a product made with real, recognizable ingredients,” she explained. 

With positive consumer feedback, plans are now under way for line extensions as the brand continues to grow. 

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