Has bolder branding delivered for Angie’s?

Mankato-based Angie’s Kettle Corn, underwent something of a makeover last year, opting to highlight its Boomchickapop brand on its packaging rather than focusing on its namesake founder. Each bag of Angie’s flagship flavors are now nearly half-covered with the words “BOOM CHICKA POP,” with the Angie’s name subtly displayed at the top of the bag.

Joe Driscoll, Angie’s vice president of marketing, says the company, which won a TCB Family Business Award in 2011, thinks of the changes more as an evolution than a rebranding. “For a long time, Angie’s Kettle Corn was exactly that: Angie and Dan Bastian started their business popping kettle corn at local events in Mankato,” Driscoll says. Angie’s has grown since its 2001 infancy as a small outdoor vendor to a multimillion-dollar company that’s a mainstay at local pro and college sporting events, with a presence in all 50 states, plus Canada, Mexico and Korea.

According to SPINS, which tracks national sales of natural and specialty products, Angie’s total dollar sales ranked first in the natural food and second in the conventional food categories after respective increases of 54 percent and 66 percent over the 24-week period ending Nov. 2. Driscoll says Angie’s also measured a 57 percent increase in sales per store after the new packaging hit shelves: “We have received both positive feedback on our consumer response line and in actual purchases in-store.”

The spare design is a nod to Angie’s simple ingredients and ingredient transparency, Driscoll says: “The packaging is fun, bright and really stands out on the grocery shelf.”

Then there’s that name, gradually introduced across the product line beginning in 2012. “We chose that name,” Driscoll says, “because not only was it fun to say, but it represents our brand: fun, bold and totally fantastical.” Seeing “Boomchickapop” on a colorful bag, he says, is often the first reason people pick up the brand to investigate.

The response to the rollout was but one bit of validation for Angie’s product quality and innovation: the company landed on the cover of Food Processing magazine in June as one of the publication’s R&D Teams of the Year.