BFree, an Irish producer of baked goods, launched a subscription delivery service on Monday for U.S. consumers with specific dietary requirements. The company specializes in gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan, and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) baked goods.
Previously only available to European consumers, BFree’s new U.S. online store can be seen as a convenient alternative to the grocery store. The company offers a variety of one-off products and, more recently, multiple Subscribe & Save bundles that consumers can purchase monthly. By subscribing to this service, users save up to 10% on each food delivery box, compared to one-off purchases.
Read on to understand BFree’s latest initiative and how it hopes to establish an advantage over competitors through e-commerce offerings.
Photo Credit: bfreefoods.com
Making a Gluten-Free Business Model Based on Nutritional Trends
BFree’s baked products can be found in a variety of grocery stores around the globe. Allergen-free burger buns, multigrain wraps, and panini rolls have contributed to a significant fandom online. Indicative of the trend, the company has over 130,000 likes on Facebook, 36,000 followers on Instagram, and numerous customer testimonials and food awards posted on Twitter.
Launched in 2011, BFrees started as a way to encourage healthy eating while “optimising the balance between nutritional benefits and flavour.” The company’s products have become increasingly necessary due to the rise of Celiac disease in recent years.
Dr. Fasano, a Celiac researcher at the University of Maryland, estimates that between 6-7% of the U.S. population (20 million citizens) react negatively to gluten. Other researchers hypothesize this number is much higher, given adverse immune and digestive responses to the protein. These health professionals believe gluten sensitivity affects closer to 50% of the world’s population.
Many consumers have also become gluten-free by choice. In 2017, over 3 million U.S. consumers were on a gluten-free diet — 72% of which weren’t diagnosed with Celiac disease, according to Forbes and Statista. Demand for gluten-free products has urged manufacturers to embrace the health trend.
Standing Out From the Competition
Currently, many gluten-free subscription boxes exist in the market, giving BFree more competition than ever before. Last year, the global gluten-free food market share was worth $5.6 billion — a figure that is expected to rise to $8.3 billion by 2025.
“As we look at data coming out of 2020, food-related subscriptions, like many other subscriptions of tangible goods, saw an unprecedented increase in sales during the global pandemic,” said Alison Chew, the founder of Meal Finds, “With that new group of hungry shoppers comes the need for diet-specific options that will help them maintain their current lifestyle or try out something new.”
BFree, an early player in this game, is exploring new ways to stand out from the competition through price-friendly Subscribe & Save options, box customization, and additional user perks.
Photo Credit: befreefoods.com
“In order to keep these shoppers engaged, thus reducing churn and increasing Consumer Lifetime Value, retailers like BFree will want to offer consumers flexibility when it comes to their subscription giving them the ability to skip, pause, and/or cancel easily online via their account,” Chew told SUBTA.
BFree partners with ReCharge to make subscription management easier for customers. BFree customers can schedule and modify their box deliveries, receive notifications regarding upcoming payments, and skip, swap, delay, or cancel their subscriptions at any time.
“Retailers need to differentiate themselves [from competitors],” added Chew, “they can do this by: testing loyalty and rewards programs, adding value to their subscribers beyond the box by including coupons to shop for specific items á la carte or by giving them access to member-only items, discounts or content, and by supporting a social cause.”
Currently, BFree offers many perks for allergen-conscious customers:
- Subscribe & Save up to 10% off every monthly box
- Allows users to customize their boxes
- A mix-and-match box that allows consumers to pick up to nine bread options
- Free shipping for orders over $30
- A 10% discount code for new shoppers
- A membership program that grants users access to special offers, coupons, and bread recipes
BFree’s user-friendly, discounted business model can be well received by U.S. consumers. Through numerous customer acquisition and retention strategies, the internationally-headquartered company may be able to gain a noteworthy share of the domestic gluten-free e-commerce market.
Convenience: The Key to a Consumer’s Heart
BFree’s adoption of a Subscribe & Save subscription model reflects the pandemic’s impact on consumer trends. Around 20% of consumers signed up for a subscription box last year, and many of these users specifically bought into food delivery boxes.
As people are prioritizing the convenience of food delivery subscriptions, BFree has streamlined its fulfillment process to better accommodate users.
“Our focus has always been on making our products easily accessible to everyone,” said Chloe Twomey, BFree’s Advertising and Promotions Manager, in a press release.
“During the pandemic, the convenience and ease of having groceries delivered has become more important than ever before,” said Twomey in the press release. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide our U.S. customers with a simplified shopping experience from the comfort of home.”
Chew predicts that subscription box trends will keep growing but at a rate slower than that experienced throughout the pandemic.
Photo Credit: befreefoods.com
“While many consumers will continue to order meal kits and similar food delivery subscriptions online, growth will be much lower than in 2020 as consumers get back into old habits like shopping at their local grocery store,” Chew stated.
The need for niche food products may persist in the future. However, it’s up to brands to develop a strong e-commerce presence to maintain consumer loyalty.
“I predict that the niche food and beverage companies that offer items not found in mainstream grocery stores will continue to see growth as their customers realize that they can only find a specific product that they have grown to love online,” Chew added.
- BFree, a global producer of baked goods, recently launched an e-commerce site for dietary-specific U.S. consumers.
- The company offers Subscribe & Save boxes that save consumers 10% on their purchases.
- BFree offers many perks for allergen-conscious customers, including box customization, free shipping for orders over $30, a 10% discount code for new shoppers, and a membership program that unlocks new coupons and recipes.