Belgian Boys taps imported European snacks growth with butter cookies

Belgian Boys' Mini Cookie Stash stand out from the current speculoos on the market as they are palm-oil free. Pic: Belgian Boys

European snack startup, Belgian Boys, will roll out its butter cookies inspired by the original Belgian cookie, Speculoos, across the US in February. 

The Mini Cookie Stash comes in a one-ounce pouch for on-the-go snacking, as well as in a retail box that includes five pouches.

“Belgian Boys cookie butter cookies stand out from the current speculoos on the market as our cookies are palm oil-free,” president of Belgian Boys, Greg Galel, said in a release.

“In addition, the cookies are nut free, non-GMO, made from 100% natural ingredients with no artificial additives, kosher-certified and come in a serving size below 140 calories per pouch.”

Belgian boys' products are currently available at its retail partners, including Whole Foods, Stop n’ Shop and Jewel Osco. The company has also presented the new cookie stash with a suggested retail price of 99c per pouch and $5.99 for the box to most of its partners, and is waiting for their responses.

Spotlight on a traditional Belgian flavor

When Galel started the snack business with a friend in New York in 2014, his idea was to bring the fine European goodies from their childhood in Belgian to the US.

“Having grown up with authentic waffles, called stroopwafels, and baked goods, we are not creating a new product; however, we are bringing an age-old product to the US and other markets in a new format,” he said.

Will comfort food take 2017 by storm?

“In our opinion, the consumer in 2017 is looking to bring it back to basics. Back to comfort food and looking for that occasional indulgent snack," Galel said.

"The consumer today is extremely conscious of what products they buy and know what ingredients are to be avoided. Consumers will be tough to win over and will be much more selective with their choices.

"We always believe that if they will indulge, [they'll do so] wisely. Keep it simple with an ingredient list [the consumer] can read and understand. Take our grab-and-go breakfast line for instance, we offer classic pancakes in a convenient microwavable tray with maple syrup and a spork," he explained.

“Our whimsical caricatures and bold packaging appeal to a millennial audience, as well as those who grew up with the traditional classics. The variety in the US is immense but lacks some fun, in my opinion. We wanted to create an experience for shoppers by developing different visuals and flavor profiles.”

Belgian Boys represented their neighboring EU countries with some staple products in their range, including mini crepes from France and stroopwafels from the Netherlands, according to the company.

“We did introduce authentic Belgian Liege waffles, but felt this belonged more in the bakery aisle,” Galel said“For this reason, we decided to bring a staple Belgian indulgence that has existed forever but has never really got into the spotlight. So, we added a twist to our own national Belgian cookie.”

Increase in imported snack category

There has been a surge in imported European sweets and snacks during the last year, according to BakeryandSnacks’ observation. For example, New York-based importer, European Confections, previously told this site that it would bring over 20 new products from continental Europe to the US last year, and it is targeting a 35% business growth and a total revenue of $20m in 2017.

In addition, distributor The Brand Passport also brought Daelmans’ stroopwafels to the US market in April last year, BakeryandSnacks reported. French bakery brand, Bakerly, is also actively expanding its US footprint.

Since the launch of his company, Galel said he has seen the imported snack category grow at a fast pace.

“More and more European products are on shelf and many retailers devote aisles for imports,” he said. “With the US dollar getting stronger, it continues opening doors for more brands to reach into new territories.”

“We believe that as soon as similar young brands embrace each other, the bigger the category will get.”

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