Lily's Sweets has announced ambitious growth plans for 2019 that include the rollout of a new logo and packaging; the addition of eight new products hitting shelves this spring; and the execution of integrated consumer campaigns that celebrate just how sweet life can be without the added sugar.
This announcement comes following an exciting growth year for the brand, including doubling the size of its business; specifically, in the last 52 weeks, Lily’s Sweets is up 165 percent in MULO and 95 percent in the natural channel. Supported by an experienced team brought on in 2018, the new packaging and products will debut at Natural Products Expo West this March and begin to hit shelves this spring.
The American Heart Association recommends eating only 25-35g of sugar a day, but the average American currently consumes more than double that amount, increasing risks for a variety of health issues, from general weight gain, to heart disease and certain cancers. As consumer awareness of the health issues related to sugar grows, so does the desire to reduce overall sugar intake.
In fact, 84 percent of consumers agree they have limited the amount of sugar in their diet in the last year. As the #1 nationally-distributed, natural no-sugar added brand, Lily’s Sweets is here to help reduce overall sugar intake while not demanding we all simply give up sweets.
“When I founded Lily’s Sweets, it was to answer my own need for delicious chocolate, my favorite food, I could eat daily, while also limiting my sugar intake,” said Cynthia Tice, co-founder of Lily’s Sweets. “While I always believed Lily’s would be successful, this expanding mainstream consumer awareness and desire for change created a groundswell for growth for Lily’s Sweets beyond what I could have ever imagined. Like me, people were showing a desire for an amazingly-delicious chocolate they can indulge in daily without the added sugar.”
Tice, a trailblazer in the natural products industry who opened and operated one of the first natural food stores in Philadelphia for two decades and then acted as a consultant to retailers launching natural sets and brands launching new products. Inspired through this work, she created the proprietary recipe for Lily’s Sweets using a combination of thoughtfully-selected ingredients, including stevia, to create a chocolate with no added sugar filled to the brim with pure deliciousness. Since launching nationally in Whole Foods Market stores in 2012, the brand has experienced exciting growth, and today is available in 10,000 stores spanning the natural channel and conventional retailers like Kroger and Publix. Seeing how quickly the concept was taking off, Tice realized a need for an investor and larger team to help Lily’s reach its full potential.
“By 2017, I was aware that Lily’s had outgrown our team of four people, and my experience consulting other brands afforded me an appreciation of just how special Lily’s was. I wanted to give the brand the opportunity that it deserved, and decided bringing on an investor and leadership that could grow a team would best set Lily’s up to meet its full potential,” said Tice. “I purposefully selected VMG based on our shared values, as well as their history of creating meaningful relationships between founders and the new management team. Since forming our partnership last spring, I’ve been delighted to see our CEO, Jane Miller, grow this team and best set us up for success, while I continue to have the opportunity to act as the daily conscious of the brand.”
Now headquartered in Boulder, Colo., the team has expanded to nearly 25 people and is operated under the leadership of a variety of natural products industry veterans, including Miller, formerly of Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Heinz and PepsiCo; Phil Mason, SVP of operations, formerly of Thanasi, Evol and Nestle; Lonna Borden, CFO, formerly of Justin’s and Izze; Sarah Meis, VP of marketing and innovation, formerly of Purely Elizabeth, Van’s Natural Foods and Danone North America; and Seth Monette, SVP of sales, formerly of HannahMax Cookie Chips, Interbake and General Mills. What excites this talented team is the opportunity to build upon Cynthia’s success to create a no added sugar platform, not just a brand.
“The opportunity to join the Lily’s Sweets team is for many of us a dream job, including partnering with a visionary and passionate founder; building an all-star team built from scratch; working with a terrific investor and having a product that’s perfectly positioned to be the next big thing,” shared Miller. “Often when an investor and leadership team come on board, it’s to fix a business. In this case it’s the exact opposite. We have the privilege of taking something that’s already amazingly successful to the next level.”
Part of positioning Lily’s Sweets for accelerated growth included an analysis of the existing packaging. Special in its whimsical nature and design, the team realized the old packaging had helped attract Lily’s Sweets devotees, but would not best allow for expansion into new categories. Additionally, with expanding natural and specialty chocolate sets, there was an opportunity to create a design that better popped on shelf in comparison with the current competition. The new design, which carries over the symbolic hummingbird from the original packaging, maintains the same Lily’s Sweets spirit, and has a modernized look that will pop on shelf and allow for expansion into new categories, including the launch of new products being shown at Expo West.
Any new offering from Lily’s Sweets made from thoughtfully-sourced ingredients will fulfill the same expectation: a sweet treat with no added sugar that’s filled to the brim with pure deliciousness. Lily’s Sweets products are botanically-sweetened with stevia because it comes from a plant, and because it works amazingly well in chocolate recipes. Additionally, Lily’s Sweets products are made with Non-GMO ingredients demonstrating a committment to source ingredients as they occur in nature, and are also gluten-free and fit into both keto and low-glycemic diets. Lily’s Sweets products are Fairtrade certified, ensuring that the farmers and communities that provide Lily’s with their cocoa, cocoa butter and vanilla are fairly compensated. The new items launching at Expo West include:
Semi-Sweet Style Baking Chips and Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips (MSRP – $6.99/9oz bag) – Lily’s Sweets’ Dark Chocolate Baking Chips are currently the number one selling SKU in the natural channel (dry grocery, excluding bread).3 Knowing different baking chips are used for different occasions, the brand is excited to expand their baking chocolate lineup to now include Semi-Sweet Style Baking Chips and Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips. Magical and versatile at the same time, Lily’s Sweets Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Style Baking Chips have 8g less sugar per serving than conventional baking chips.
Chocolate Covered Almonds and Peanuts (MSRP – $5.99/3.5oz ready-to-share bag) – Available in four varieties, including Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds, Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds, Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds and Milk Chocolate Coverage Peanuts, these snack-ready nuts have only 1g or less sugar per serving, and taste so good you won’t even miss the sugar.
Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (MSRP – $5.99/3.2 oz pouch) – Sometimes the best ideas comes from your fans. After seeing lovers of Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Baking Chocolate time and again create peanut butter cups, the Lily’s team figured, why not make their own? The new Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups will come in a convenient pouch with five single-serving cups ready to satisfy daily cravings.
“It’s a joy to see our innovation move into different categories while still delivering delicious, no-sugar options people can obsess over,” continued Tice. “Treats with less sugar that taste so good you won’t even miss the sugar.”
The new Lily’s Sweets packaging and products will debut at this year’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., from March 6-9, 2019. Find Lily’s Sweets in two different booths at the show, including in the Hilton at booth #H814 (Wednesday-Friday), and in Hall E at booth #5613. The brand will also execute expanded marketing initiatives at the show, including sponsorship of the show pedicabs, giving Expo attendees the opportunity to have a sweet treat while they head to the show.
The new Baking Chips and Chocolate Covered Nuts will start to hit retail shelves in mid-Q2 2019 throughout the U.S. in natural and mainstream supermarkets, and the Peanut Butter Cups will soon follow in late Q2 2019. As these new products launch, shoppers will be able to search the Store Locator at lilyssweets.com to find a store nearby. All of the products will also be available on Amazon in the second quarter of 2019.
With limited marketing prior to 2019, Lily’s has become a leader in the no sugar added movement. As interest in no sugar added products grows, the Lily’s Sweets team has built and is implementing a strategic, robust, integrated marketing plan. The first campaign, a 21-Day No Added Sugar Challenge, kicked off on January 21, and quickly more than 8,000 people signed on to experience a low sugar lifestyle and learn more about reading labels, all the while indulging in delicious chocolate. The ultimate goal for this and future campaigns is to inspire the belief that food is more than just food, what we choose is a way of life.
From day one, it’s also been part of the company DNA to give back to organizations that support childhood wellness. Tice and her co-founder, Chuck Genuardi, named Lily’s Sweets after Genardi’s niece, Lily, a childhood brain cancer survivor. Tice and Genuardi honored Lily’s bravery and commitment to aiding others by contributing a percentage of profits each year to non-profit organizations that provide services that support childhood wellness. The Lily’s team will remain dedicated to various initiatives that make an impact on the health of our future.
“Maintaining a culture of giving allows us to further honor Cynthia’s work by providing value far beyond our products, supporting the next generation,” shared Miller.
Source: Company Press Release.