SpiceJungle in Rockford sells more than 400 “hard-to-find culinary ingredients from around the world.” Photo via fb.com
A niche online seller of vanilla baking products is expanding into multiple culinary markets with the launch of a new brand and online store with more than 400 “hard-to-find” spices and cooking ingredients.
Beanilla in Rockford said last month that it has opened the ecommerce website SpiceJungle, which features various categories such as spices, herbs and seasonings — with ingredients such as wasabi, spearmint and herbes de provence.
The site sells in bulk and retail quantities.
Incorporating content created by Garett McCord, a freelance food writer and co-author of the cookbook “Melt: The Art of Macaroni & Cheese,” SpiceJungle is meant to create an engaging user experience with its expressive descriptions, vibrant pictures and displays.
Rob Conley, founder and chief executive officer of SpiceJungle, said having personally developed the website over the past three years, the new online spice store is meant to be different and has received positive feedback from users.
“It is engaging for the consumer, because they feel like they are reading a book and learning at the same time,” Conley said. “Customers are going to remember SpiceJungle not just as another ecommerce site, but as a place they can sit back with a cup of coffee and have fun reading, while they learn about exotic ingredients from around the world.”
After years of catering to Beanilla’s relatively thin market, the launch of SpiceJungle will allow the company, founded in 2005, to expand its market reach to support growth, according to Conley.
“There are only so many people who search for vanilla beans online every day,” Conley said. “It is just one narrow market of bakers, and bakers who love vanilla especially.
“SpiceJungle expands outside the baking community and into a much broader market of people who love cinnamon, people that love sea salt — and just be expanding our product line. It opens up a whole new market for us.”
The site will serve a growing market of consumers from the at-home cook to food service and corporate buyers.
Selling to “anyone”
The sales strategy at SpiceJungle will be similar to the one Beanilla has implemented for years, which has contributed to its success.
“A lot of breweries like buying orange peel, coriander and cloves, and they buy in bulk,” Conley said. “What makes us unique is we will sell to anyone. We will sell one vanilla bean at a time. Yet, we supply to many large corporations as well.”
SpiceJungle also offers a loyalty rewards program with redeemable discounts, monthly recipes and free standard shipping.
Brick Meets Click, a retail consulting firm, released a market report on online grocery shopping in October, which notes a forecasted growth in the consumer market for those who purchase food products online. Online shopping for grocery items is anticipated to increase from 11 percent to 17 percent by 2023, according to the firm.
Brent Reame, partner and chief operating officer of SpiceJungle, said the statistics are staggering for the competitive and fast-growing market.
“We are seeing this trend happening,” Reame said. “Every year, we receive about a 65-percent increase of online shoppers who visit Beanilla.com. As a result, our revenue increases on average by nearly 75 percent each year.”
Conley added that the company has to maintain competitive prices to contend with other industry players.
“We are just overall excited,” Conley said. “It is a lot of fun for us, and I think as we continue to grow, consumers are going to really remember us and remember our products and what we do.”