LATEST HAPPENINGS AT THE BANANA FARM Archives - Michel et Augustin

Ahhh, vendor fairs. As soon as one is done, there’s always one around the corner. I look forward to them, and they are absolutely critical to our success in foodservice here in the US.

But wait. Before I tell you Everything about Vendor Fairs that you were Too Afraid to Ask, let me back up and make sure we are all on the same page with what “foodservice” means. It’s a way of selling our cookies that is everything OUTSIDE the supermarket. So if you see our cookie squares in the plane, in a stadium, in a theater, or in your cafeteria at work – that’s foodservice. That’s my world!

We’ve had a lot of exciting victories getting into large companies in Silicon Valley and New York – funnily enough, a lot of tech companies seem to be really into our buttery French shortbreads. The likes of Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Twitter, Zillow and (I think we can say it now…), Spotify, have us in their cafeterias!

These amazing companies are full of young, talented people and are on campuses the size of small cities, and hard-working, so spending a lot of time at the office. AND they generally get free snacks – these are not vending machine set-ups (I know! So lucky!). It’s an audience that any snack or food company in their right mind would want to reach.

But you can imagine that it is not easy to get in front of such a valuable audience. You have to earn their love!
So, the answer? Vendor Fairs. What happens? Generally a company like Twitter will set up a small forum of 20-50 snack companies that they have pre-selected to come, set up a booth, hold a tasting, bring swag, show off their product and also their personality. Next step? They hold a vote. It’s a vote to the death! Sometimes only a few snacks get selected. It’s a jungle out there, especially with so much amazing food these days.

We work together as a team – sales and marketing – to make sure we have everything we need to stay top of mind and show ourselves off accurately. Our last vendor fair was at Spotify. To give you an idea, in 1 hour, we gave out 400 Banana bags and over 7,500 cookie squares! They went so fast we didn’t even have enough for the second hour – so we stuck around and made fun conversation. But as you can see, it’s madness – and we love it!

Hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes look at a very niche aspect of my job. Questions? Write to butter@micheletaugustin.com and I’ll get back to you!

-Alix

There’s nothing like a good story. Even better? When you have a good storyteller. So, against Evan’s will, we convinced a whole bunch of podcast hosts to invite our Chief Troublemaker to their studio.

The result? Informative and hilarious sessions on four food/snack/entrepreneurial podcasts that we know and love:

Happy listening!

Our holiday box, our pride and joy, has been making headlines – and we couldn’t be more proud! It’s exclusively available at Target nationwide (no, but seriously: everywhere!) from now until the end of December.

Food Network named us one of their Hostess Gifts That’ll Make You the Favorite Party Guest.

Red Tricycle said that our box was one of a few Unique & Useful Hostess Gifts.

Forbes added us to their Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts To Make Coach Feel Like First Class. Truth be told, this is not specifically about the holiday box, but, uh, who wouldn’t want 20 cookie squares on their holiday flight?

We also got a shout-out from our Nosh as a part of their holiday selection.

See them in 3D on our Instagram story highlights. These influencers are mega-fans!

So. Have we convinced you to pick up one (or five!) on your next Target run?

You might have noticed that we are leaning into our star ingredient like never before. That’s right: the Troublemakers of Taste are going all-in with BUTTER!

The fact that we use real butter is a huge part of what makes our cookie squares so delicious, giving them that home-baked taste. As it turns out, it is also quite unique in the American market to have cookies in the supermarket made with the real deal.

Wait, is anyone unconvinced about how rad butter is? Read THIS, we say!

More to come! Stay tuned.

HUGE news: Our cookies are going to be in Target this holiday season – in a totally new format. Le Cookie Box!

Wait – are you a French reader? Do you maybe need a Target tutorial? In a nutshell: Target is like France’s Monoprix and America’s Walmart had a baby. For context: Target is big, has everything, and has been the source of pretty much all the items currently in Maëla’s New York City apartment. From cleaning supplies to furniture to groceries to sports equipment to school supplies to iPads, and everything in-between.

[No, really. Everything.]

Including our cookies! Le Cookie Box is white and shimmery gold, and holds 20 individually-wrapped Cookie Squares in our crowd-favorite flavor, Dark chocolate and a pinch of sea salt.

Are you an American reader? Fab. You may not have needed that tutorial, but you’ll be able to pick up the perfect holiday box of buttery happiness at your local Target, ALL across the US, starting in October. Oui, oui!

Danielle has joined our ranks as the Head of Cookie Square Development (or Business Development as the rest of the world might say)!

She’ll be in Paris for the first time on Thursday! We need some trublions (yes, we use the word trublion in English now; we’re making it a thing) to give her a hand. Who can…
1. … show her where the shower is and how to make herself a big cup of coffee on Thursday (September 19th)?
2. … find her a free desk to work at?
3. …give her a tasting of all your latest recipes?
4. …take her on some store visits (3 supermarkets)?

Could it be YOU?? Write to her with a big BONJOUR and say which item you’d be willing to help her out with!

A few fun facts about our newest trublion:

  • She just moved back to New York from San Francisco – ask her why!
  • She has worked for some incredible food brands in the US market – ask her which ones!
  • Celebrity Fact: She knows Jennifer Garner
  • Activities of choice: skiing and yoga

Great news: we are officially in Safeway, a large supermarket chain on the West coast! Woo-hoo!

HOWEVER, getting our cookies to move quickly in new stores – and building cookie love among consumers in a relatively new market – can be a challenge. So we’ve done a few things:

1. A Facebook Live with Safeway in their test-kitchen: Lily went to teach Maria how to make our shortbread, with ingredients you can find in your kitchen! Watch it here.
2. A temporary price reduction (TPR) for September-October ($4.49 from $5.99). And bright promotional labels. These should be verrrrry compelling.
3. In-store demos with our brand ambassadors.

We are very optimistic – send us some good vibes!

You might not even have known this, but we have a bag of 15 Cookie Squares. It’s a format that is specific to the US market – because in order to be a competitive cookie, we need to be in the actual cookie aisle! (Our other cookie formats live at the checkout or in cafeterias.)

Le Cookie Bag comes in 3 vibrant colors and delicious flavors, and is the perfect format for people who want to savor our cookies one at a time, or (gasp!) even share them with others.

The best part is: the bags are FLYING! I’ve started working on getting a second version of the packaging out the door for our next production.

What do you think of the updates? Drop me a line!

1. Meet our two newest trublions, whose job is to welcome guests to the Banana Farm! And they have some SERIOUS dance moves. Click on this for the full effect:

2. We welcomed over 150 people to our Block Party Open House in August – and had a low key but fun and madeleine-filled September back-to-school Open House.

October has in store an “Indian summer” theme, complete with an ice cream truck!

3. On the pastry side, we’re experimenting with a new way to share our passion for pastry: by giving monthly classes using the new Meetup Experiences platform. We have given two classes so far: Chocolate tart in July, and brioche in August. This week we will be doing brioche again because it was such a smash hit. People have given us 5 stars and lots of positive feedback about how much they love the class. Not to brag. Well, kind of to brag.

Hope to see you soon at the Banana Farm!

Look! It’s our cookie squares – just MORE of them in one place! A colorful bag of 15 crunchy square-shaped cookies filled with a soft, delectable chocolate ganache and some other delightful ingredient. Pop-able, shareable. Great to bring to your in-laws’ house of dinner or if your heart is full of generosity for your coworkers. Individually wrapped so they’ll stay fresh and don’t stick together.

Not that they’ll last. Sorry not sorry.

We’re pretty excited to say that they are hitting shelves across America RIGHT NOW!

Find *Le Cookie Bag* at Food Emporium, Foodown, Safeway (NorCal), Kings Food Market (NJ), Roche Bros (Boston), City Acres Market (NY), Balducci’s, Brooklyn Harvest, Mekelburg’s, C-Town, Gourmet Garage… and new spots each day! 

-Laure

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