Chimp Treats gives Nicecream a nice rebrand

From Shopper Marketing Report: The health food brand has launched new packaging alongside plans to expand into Europe.

Strawberry and Mango Nicecream2You are reading a story from Strategy’s Shopper Marketing Report, which covers the retail partnerships, in-store programs and consumer insights brands are utilizing to influence consumers at the shelf. To have the stories delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday, subscribe to the newsletter.

Chimp Treats is not monkeying around when it comes to its branding and growth strategy. In October, the Peterborough, Ontario-based health food company unveiled a new look and updated packaging for its line of frozen desserts, Nicecream, made entirely from fruit and sold nationwide.

Marketing manager Jillian Dunn says there was brand confusion between Chimp Treats and its frozen dessert line Nicecream. She says the latter brand’s packaging, originally designed to be kid-friendly with bright blue, pink and yellow hues (see bottom image), had become dated as the market matured. The brand instead opted for a more naturalistic depiction of fruit on the packaging, using watercolours and a softer colour palate of peach, coral, green and yellow, hoping these would resonate with what it learned was its biggest demographic: modern, everyday women between the age of 20 and 40.

Founder and managing director Brooke Hammer says that when the company first launched in June 2017, Chimp Treats stored its Nicecream products hand-delivered them to stores, but quickly outgrew the model and found a distributor to help with demand. Hammer says that her team, rather than a broker or agent, secures shelf space. Early listings, Hammer says, were brought on by store visits and cold calls with health food retailers.

Today, Chimp Treats has distribution all across Canada, inside national retailers like Loblaws, Sobeys and Whole Foods, and will begin shipping to their first retailers in Europe this year.

“Having a new food product can be a challenging sell, but also a huge opportunity when done right,” Hammer says. “While we are not quite ready for a larger investment in listing fees and trade spend, we can offer things like personally doing demos in the store, ad campaigns targeted to that retailer, or a free fill for their first order.”

Chimp Treats advertises Nicecream through consumer shows, in-store banners, flyer features, in-store demos and other traditional media, as well as non-traditional media like podcasts. It’s marketing and communications typically emphasize the product’s 100% fruit, no fat and low-cal contents.

At shelf level, Dunn says Chimp Treats chose to have Nicecream sit separate from traditional ice cream brands because it’s a “vast and competitive aisle where brand messaging can be lost, flanked by more decadent and less natural treats.”

Choosing the natural aisle still comes with its issues, she says, as not all of consumers shop there, however, growth in the space spurred the decision. She says she’s seen many of the major chains in Canada  expanding their natural foods offerings, with the aisle now taking up a larger footprint of the store.

chimp-treats3

Chimp Treats focuses on promoting and sampling its products at consumer and trade events, through influencer, pop-ups and festivals during the summer. “We ensure all events we partner with align with our brand values and key messages whether that may be vegan, health, or fitness,” Dunn says. She adds that it has been involved with “Sweat for a Cause” with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sobeys’ Family Day food drive, Vegandale, Trend Hunter’s “Future Fest,” as well as events with the Canadian Health Food Association.

Dunn says that in-person interactions are where it can see results firsthand. “We are big believers in in-store events and advertising, a point of engagement for customers to sample Nicecream and get educated on the product. The reach from in-store advertising may not be as wide as an Instagram ad, but each individual interaction is much more impactful, creates both brand awareness, and personal relationships,” she says.

The brand has been partnering with retailers, like Sobeys, that are open to working with Canadian small businesses, like Nicecream. “The grocery banner has a local program that pushes and showcases locally made products,” says Dunn, adding that Sobeys has supported the brand by allowing growth within its banners, adding shelf-talkers at a reasonable cost.

Old Packaging