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The Future of Innovation at Edible®

Angela Johnson, the Chief Innovation Officer at Edible®, outlines some of the tantalizing products coming down the pike, as well as how the NextGen store will position franchisees for success.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 3:15PM 04/15/24

Since day one, Edible®, the innovative e-commerce hub uniquely supported by locally owned brick-and-mortar locations across the globe, has prioritized innovation. Established in 1999, the brand quickly garnered attention for its inventive fresh fruit arrangements, combining the appeal of fresh, healthy fruit with the aesthetic allure of traditional flower arrangements. Now, following the announcement of its NextGen store 25 years later, Edible is keeping the spirit of innovation alive with a focus on product innovation, customer experience and expanding product categories. 

Leaders of Innovation

Angela Johnson, the chief innovation officer at Edible, is at the forefront of steering the brand into a future rich with innovation and creativity. With over two decades of experience in the franchise and restaurant industry, Johnson’s journey has been marked by significant contributions to brand strategy, product innovation and marketing. 

"Edible was the perfect fit for me," Johnson said. “My true passion lies in the creative side of business, bringing ideas to life through brand vision. This role at Edible combines my marketing background with a focus on product innovation. We're dedicated to the daily growth of our current categories and the continual innovation of exciting products for the future.”

As chief innovation officer, Johnson says her primary goal is clear: to create products that not only generate interest and awareness but also drive average unit volume (AUV) and position franchisees for success. In fact, Johnson says keeping franchisees top of mind is crucial for bringing innovative ideas to fruition. 

"I really believe that it is important to collaborate with franchisees on the front end," Johnson said. By involving the Franchise Council in the ideation and testing phases, for example, Edible ensures that the feedback from those who are in the stores daily is incorporated into product development, guaranteeing that new offerings resonate with both customers and franchise operators.

Product Innovation: Balancing Tradition with Trend

So, speaking of products, what does Johnson have on the horizon for Edible in 2024? 

“Firstly, we never want to neglect what we are founded on," said Johnson. “We are known for our delicious dipped fruits, so we want to take that foundation and build upon it. That might include adding new toppings, LTOs (limited-time offers), seasonal fruit flavorings and more. That is always a key priority for us.”

Moreover, the relaunch of Edible's cookie line aims to capture the burgeoning market demand for both classic and innovative flavor combinations. 

“With brands like Crumbl Cookies making so much buzz, there is clearly a demand in that arena,” said Johnson. “We are going to be offering great new cookie options — savory and sweet combinations and indulgent toppings.”

Baked goods, non-alcoholic beverages and flowers are other key areas that Edible plans to expand upon this year, Johnson says.

Beyond specific products, customization is another big initiative for Johnson. Edible plans to tap into a growing demand for personalization by allowing customers to tailor their orders to their preferences, from selecting dip flavors to adding specific messages to gifts. This approach not only caters to the culinary space's evolving trends but also enhances the customer experience by making it more engaging.

“At the end of the day, as a gifting company, we are incredibly focused on the customer experience,” said Johnson. “For franchisees, it's important to bring new offerings because that means new visits. I am not doing my job if we are not offering new products that will be revenue drivers at the unit level. We can’t be successful unless franchisees are successful.”

The NextGen Store Experience

Innovation at Edible is not limited to products alone. The concept of the NextGen store plays a significant role in Johnson’s vision for the brand's future. 

Edible's NextGen store aims to add a tech-forward approach to the physical retail space — it's a futuristic haven for gifting, hosting/entertaining and treating yourself. 

"The brands that are going to win in the future are the ones creating an emotional tie, especially with the way the economy is today," Johnson said. “When you walk into an Edible shop, you smell the chocolate right away, you see the team members creating dessert boards in front of you — it is truly a curated experience. There is a lot of thought and care that goes into these gifts and our customers can feel that.” 

Customers can enjoy baked goods, grab a smoothie or choose from an array of treats and gifts, all under one roof. The tech-savvy stores promise a unique and personalized shopping experience, turning ordinary days into celebratory events, driving up more frequent visits and disrupting the traditional gifting retail segment. 

“Our new approach isn’t just about getting gifts for other people — there is also a self-indulgence piece to it all,” said Johnson. “If you want to grab a smoothie with a delicious triple layer brownie while you’re here, we have that too. It is really balancing those two areas of opportunity in the gifting space, as well as the restaurant space.”

Overall, Johnson’s enthusiasm for the franchise business and Edible's trajectory is palpable.

“I am really excited — I love the franchise business and I can't imagine doing anything else,” said Johnson. “As a brand, Edible is at a point where we are hitting reset and evolving. That is an inspiring place to be. We are defining this recipe for success and all of this product innovation is a big part of that.”

As Edible continues to evolve, it remains dedicated to its core mission while embracing new opportunities for growth and connection, promising an exciting future for the brand and its stakeholders.

The total investment necessary to begin operation of an Edible Franchise ranges from $240,000 to $531,000. This includes the $53,400 - $98,800 that must be paid to the franchisor or affiliate. For more information on franchising with Edible®, visit: https://franchise.edible.com

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