KANSAS CITY — Early in 2018, Hostess Brands, Inc. introduced Bakery Petites, a product the company described as “a premium snacking platform made with no artificial flavors or colors, and no high-fructose corn syrup.” Over the past year and a half, the product has been incremental to Hostess’ business.
But despite the successes within Bakery Petites, Hostess said the company found it had much to learn from the product’s introduction, and comments made by executives during a Sept. 10 investor day conference suggest an uncertain future for the product.
Andrew P. Callahan, president and chief executive officer, told participants during a Sept. 10 investor day conference that Bakery Petites peaked in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, noting that the brand never fully received traditional support.
“When we went back and learned (from) Bakery Petites, there were some execution things,” Mr. Callahan said. “We did not talk to consumers to drive awareness of a product that was really good. We probably would execute it slightly different. We learned a lot.”
Chad S. Lusk, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, voiced a similar feeling about Bakery Petites.
“Now that’s one where, one could argue, wasn’t taken all the way to the complete finish line by not having supported it appropriately after launch to remain vitality against its innovativeness over time, but we learned a lot from Bakery Petites,” Mr. Lusk said.
The two Hostess executives’ comments about Bakery Petites led one participant at the conference to ask whether the product has been discontinued. While acknowledging the brand remains on the market, Mr. Callahan’s response about its future was vague.
“We still have (Bakery Petites) out there, but … we’re not overinvesting in it to grow because we believe with some of the research we have and the learnings we’re incorporating into, and I feel really good about the pipeline we have. So … we still sell it. We just haven’t overinvested in it to grow. We thought the best thing to do was learn from it and then incorporate those learnings into the next platform.”