BOSTON — The sweet baked goods category is “one of the finest and one of the most exciting” that Andrew P. Callahan, president and chief executive officer of Hostess Brands, Inc., has ever been involved with.
Reflecting on his more than 25 years in the consumer packaged goods industry during a March 4 presentation at the UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference, Mr. Callahan said he has been fortunate and sometimes very challenged to have worked in a broad range of categories.
Now, two years into his tenure at Kansas City-based Hostess, Mr. Callahan is excited by the opportunities laid out in front of him in indulgent snacking and baking.
“We’re living and we’re competing in a category today that (is) highly impulsive, it’s highly snackable, and it has high emotional engagement and appeal,” said Mr. Callahan, who earlier in his career worked at Tyson Foods, Sara Lee Corp. and Kraft Foods Inc. “And our Hostess Brand is at the top relative to that emotion and that appeal. And if you look at the consumer trends around snacking, a lot of people talk about health and wellness, but it’s unmistakable. You see it in a lot of different ways; consumers are snacking on health and wellness, but they’re highly snacking on indulgence as well.”
The reasons for snacking run the gamut, Mr. Callahan said. For some, it may be an emotional reason. For others, it may be simply a treat.
Hostess recently ramped up its presence in the cookie category with the acquisition of Voortman Cookies Ltd. The acquisition is part of the company’s larger plan to continue to innovate and provide consumers new snacking occasions.
“I’ve seen our ability to be able to expand the set,” Mr. Callahan said. “And it can access consumption and brands from a very broad base of consumers. Very large category of the addressable set of which we have assets to be able to go into. That’s very different than when you’re in kind of a category that’s either flat or declining, (and) you’re trying to just beat share from everybody. You’re trying to innovate. You can really focus on the consumer and the power of your ideas, the power, the strength of your brand and equity and your ability to be able to execute. (You) can really drive growth. And that’s really exciting for our business.”