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Jul 16, 2019

A pioneer of premium candy, Jelly Belly made its name by infusing jelly beans with innovative and oddball flavors, like buttered popcorn, juicy pear, strawberry cheesecake and toasted marshmallow. Driven by consumer demand for new and interesting flavor experiences, the brand has consistently pushed the envelope with product development, an innovation strategy that’s resulted in plenty of wins, along with a few howlers. 

However, in an interview included in this episode Jelly Belly president/CEO Lisa Rowland explained her belief that “you never know when our failures are going to be something that may turn into one of our greatest successes.” As an example, Rowland recounted how one disastrous flavor (cheese was involved) that never made it to market turned out to be quite useful down the line.

Also within our interview, Brasher explained how Jelly Belly’s focus on creating unique experiences for its consumers has contributed to its evolution into an iconic brand. She also discussed the impact of  the brand’s relationship with Ronald Reagan, how “better for you” and functional varieties fit into the portfolio and how the company collects and incorporates consumer feedback into new product development. This episode is presented by Flavorman, the beverage architects.

Show notes: 

2:38: Lisa Rowland Brasher, President/CEO, Jelly Belly -- In an interview recorded at the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show, Brasher spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about the history of the Jelly Belly brand, which made its debut in 1976. She also discussed how Jelly Belly has maintained its strong brand equity amid an evolving market for candy, why the company positions its products as “gourmet” and why visual appeal is just as important as taste for jelly beans. Brasher also spoke about the company’s innovation strategy and how its “better for you” and functional varieties, including sugar-free jelly, organic, and “sport” jelly beans, fit into the brand portfolio, and why it created booger and barf flavors (yes, you read that correctly). Later, she discussed how the company addresses challenges as a family-owned business and the importance of communication when working across multiple generations.

Brands in this episode: Jelly Belly, A&W, Krispy Kreme