Finding growth closer to the core, like Bonne Maman

Too often, when it comes to innovation, brands look to stretch to new categories or bring whole new benefits before actually looking closer at the core, where there may be smart and more profitable opportunities. It was therefore discover first-hand a brand with a wide product portfolio taking a smart step to grow its core.

The discovery happened during my pre-workshop breakfast in a hotel in the depths of New Jersey last week.

I fully expected the usual Smucker’s Fruit spread in those little single portion plastic trays. Instead, I was presented with an attractive pot with sachets of Bonne Maman. In case you don’t know it, Bonne Maman is a fabulous French jam brand owned by the French family company Andros. It is grown to become the brand leader in the UK, with 21% share, and is now expanding into the US market.

This simple piece of packaging innovation had enabled the hotel to provide a higher quality offer at a reasonable price and allowed me to have a much nicer breakfast – a win-win; what a clever piece of innovation to drive penetration of their core product.

Bonne Maman has expanded across multiple categories in its core markets of France and the UK, bringing French foodiness into the rather dull and undifferentiated jam market and extending this equity into a whole array of bakery & snacks, as we posted on here.

However, when addressing a new (and huge) market like the US, they have wisely chosen to focus on their core product of jam first. This little sachet is a smart move in the primary task of driving penetration. Why so smart?

  • New channel: Food service is a large channel that has very different pricing and margins to mainstream grocery. Their premium consumer brand adds real value for hotels in the humble breakfast offering and this new packaging – not expensive glass – brings their brand directly to the consumer vs the lower quality/less premium competitors in the US.
  • New occasion: Bonne Maman have done a good job of penetrating multiple eating & snacking occasions in their core marets where their HH penetration is probably quite high, but these have been all in the home. This innovation pushes them into a new consumer touchpoint via food service, driving penetration of eating occasions – a great way to grow the top and bottom line.
  • Drives penetration: This sachet brings Bonne Maman to people who might not have considered the brand in grocery, because they may not be the main household shopper. But now they have experienced it at the right moment and in the right setting – a nice hotel breakfast – and so may come home and suggest a change to the regular shopping list.


Simple packaging & format changes may actually be the best and most profitable way to grow your brand. Don’t overlook what’s right in front of you – even at breakfast in an out of the way hotel!

Find out how thebrandgym can help your brand grow it’s core.