CHICAGO — Ferrara, a related company of The Ferrero Group, is expanding its reach in the specialty cookies category.

The company is distributing European favorite Delacre Fine Belgian Assorted Cookies and repositioning Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies in the United States. Both brands have been holiday favorites in the specialty cookies category. Now, Ferrara is aiming to go beyond the holidays and reposition the brands for everyday enjoyment throughout the year.

“For both Delacre and Royal Dansk, we want to build on their heritage of being known as high-quality cookies associated with holiday gifting and social occasions and expand them to everyday use by driving availability and awareness of the right packs at the right price points,” said Natalie Hagstrom, general manager of cookies at Ferrara.

Two Delacre products positioned for everyday eating began shipping to US retailers earlier this year: The Tentation Chocolat assortment, a selection of seven specialty cookies with Belgian chocolate, and a Marquisette single-flavor carton, featuring delicate European pastry cookies with dark chocolate.

“Delacre is a pioneer in the cookie assortments category and the No. 1 fine specialty cookie brand in France and Belgium,” Ms. Hagstrom said. “The brand provides us with the opportunity to broaden consumers’ options in both the seasonal and everyday specialty cookies segment. Additionally, research indicates cookies consumers are variety seeking and looking for more globally inspired ingredients… Delacre will fill a whitespace in the US cookies category with authentic premium European pastry cookie assortments and varieties in unmatched quality.”

Royal Dansk will introduce a new 8-oz everyday box, featuring new packaging that highlights the brand’s quality ingredients and Danish heritage.

“This decision was a result of recent consumer focus groups, which showed that though consumers love the signature blue tin at holidays for gifting and entertaining, there is a desire for a smaller size in a box format,” Ms. Hagstrom said.

The brand also will introduce new spring cookies in citrus lavender and salted caramel varieties, which will be paired with the brand's signature butter cookies for Easter 2021.

With sales of Ferrara’s cookies, cones and crusts growing 5% in 2020, Ms. Hagstrom said specialty cookies are an area ripe for investment.

“Cookies can be found in 90% of US households, so we know Americans pay close attention to their cookie selections,” she said. “Additionally, the cookie category is an impulsive one — 54% of purchases are not planned. Because of that we need to stand out at shelf. In recent years and seasons, specialty segment growth has outpaced the total category, signaling that consumers are truly enjoying the unique formats and flavors available in this area of the aisle.”

The company is looking to build on the momentum it gained across its cookies portfolio in 2020. Last year saw Ferrara, in partnership with Ferrero, revamp the Keebler brand with new formulations, packaging and marketing strategies.

“We know that taste is a top purchase-driver and consumers place value on high-quality ingredients,” Ms. Hagstrom said. “For the Keebler brand revitalization, our focus was on improving the quality and freshness of the existing cookies. For Delacre and Royal Dansk, the cookie recipes don’t need to change, as they are already baked using high-quality ingredients.”

Royal Dansk’s signature Danish recipe butter cookies are baked in Denmark with real butter, no artificial ingredients and non-GMO ingredients. The Delacre cookies are baked in France and Belgium with authentic Belgian chocolate.

“The focus is on communicating those quality ingredients and taste attributes and bringing moments of sophisticated indulgence to the everyday consumer,” Ms. Hagstrom said.