For more than a decade, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels brought its signature baking mix to the homes of consumers by selling the prepackaged blend in its units. This autumn, the brand entered into agreements with two national retailers, Michaels and Target, to carry the newly redesigned Pretzels & More Homemade Baking Mix for even more market exposure.

“The Auntie Anne’s Homemade Baking Kit launched back in the early 2000s, and the whole idea of it was to make the fun of rolling and twisting pretzels available at home and bring the brand experience to the house,” says Matt Simon, director of marketing at Auntie Anne’s.

The mix was a hit with consumers, he says, citing that the product has shown consistent growth in terms of distribution since its launch and opened up a new occasion for the pretzel brand. “Auntie Anne’s is in malls, airports, and travel plazas; it’s a great snack when people are out and about or on-the-go,” Simon says. “But when people are home with their family in the house—that wasn’t the occasion that Auntie Anne’s was playing at; so this item can bring the essence of the product into the home.”

Simon says that from an internal development standpoint, the product was easy to integrate with the existing brand, but the challenge rested in selling consumers on investing time to make the product at home. Michaels and Target are two stores that allow Auntie Anne’s to appeal to consumers seeking its product.

“A product like this really plays well into a couple different types of grocery, craft, and specialty stores,” Simon says. “Michaels is a craft store where people want to find activities for their families and things they can do on the weekends, so this kit plays into that activity segment.” And in Target stores, he says, having a presence in the baking aisle draws the right customer, too.

The product also presented Auntie Anne’s with the chance to connect consumers to stores through a coupon on the box, which Simon says many customers bring in to stores.

With the new distribution deal also came a redesign of the packaging—Simon says the Auntie Anne’s team took the deal as an opportunity to show off the versatility of the baking mix. “What this kit allows you to do is have more variety, more flavors, and be creative with the dough so you’re not just making pretzels, but you’re making more than 40 different recipes, things like pretzel dogs, pizza, gourmet bread, and tons of other things that make it easy to have fun and get creative with our product,” he says.

Auntie Anne’s compiled a website of more than 40 recipes that is advertised on the box alongside images of pizzas, pastries, and cakes. An internal food, science, and technology team tested most of the recipes, but the brand also got consumers involved through Facebook and recipe contests.

“When we see those recipes and we like them, we try them out and bring them to life,” Simon says.

Though Auntie Anne’s has no plans to add to its line of products for the home, it will continue to add recipes and tout the versatility of the Pretzels & More Homemade Baking Mix.

By Tamara Omazic