A Hunger for Branded Meal-Time Minis

The market for toy collectibles featuring real food and beverage brands seems as strong as ever, with demand continuing, new brands launching, and additional licenses being signed. Among the key players:

  • Zuru Mini Brands offers Foodie Minis, which encompass more than 100 grocery brands, mostly from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K, ranging from Bazooka, Frosted Flakes, TGI Friday’s potato skins, and Heinz to Vimto soft drinks, Itsu Asian noodle bowls, L’il Critters vitamins, and Billy Bee honey. The program has expanded to include Disney Store, Toy, Fashion, and Book Minis in addition to the Foodies. Zuru recently launched a new, separate collectible program called Snackles, which consists of velour plush figures, each of which comes with mini replica snacks from brands including Chupa Chups, Froot Loops, Mike and Ike, and Reese’s, among others.
  • Moose Toys’ Shopkins Real Littles includes both replica mini food and beverage packages and Shopkins dolls based on the brands. Moose holds licenses from Kellogg’s, Unilever, Welch’s, Conagra, and others, with individual brands in the line including Funfetti, Jolly Rancher, Hershey’s Kisses, Country Time, Pop Tarts, and many more. One of its latest deals, launched earlier this year, is with Dole, marking the first time that brand has entered the mini-foods collectibles market. Shopkins Real Littles also includes household items available in grocery stores, such as shampoos and cleaning products, as well as all kinds of other merchandise, including backpacks, sneakers, craft supplies, lockers, and Disney bags, all of which have working parts that mimic the full-sized originals. Like the foods, some are tied to licensed brands, such as Skechers.
  • MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L Surprise! brand includes a Mini Sweets collection that incorporates licensed candy brands including Peeps, Otter Pops, Slush Puppy, Mentos, and Jelly Belly, as well as General Mills cereal brands from Trix to Count Chocula. Meanwhile, MGA’s Miniverse brand includes a line of Make It Mini Food, featuring non-licensed food ingredients that can be assembled into various dishes, and shared on social media. The Miniverse also includes Mini Bratz and Mini Little Tikes.
  • Funko Pop! Ad Icons are larger in size and for an older audience than the brands mentioned so far. The line includes figures of mascots as well as anthropomorphized product packages. Brands include New Belgium, Twizzlers, Chuck E. Cheese, Hershey’s, Mike and Ike, Twinkie, Pringles, Cheetos, and several products under the McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Kellogg’s licenses. Funko also has a miniature Bitty Pop! extension of its Pop! line, but it does not include Ad Icons at this time.

Meanwhile, many other collectible and toy brands for kids and adults alike feature unlicensed foods, from Kidrobot’s Yummy World Tasty Treats, which are plush collectibles in the form of s’mores, burgers, cheesy puffs, soft serve cones, and the like, to Tokidoki’s Fast Food Besties, mini-figure characters inspired by burgers, ramen, pizza, popcorn, fries, shakes, and sushi, and its similar Boozy Besties. And, of course, many other companies make non-licensed mini-food replicas for dollhouses and children’s pretend play—an always important sector for kids and collectors of miniatures alike—from Melissa & Doug to Jakks’ Perfectly Cute brand and beyond.

Watch for Raugust Communications’ e-newsletter in your in-box tomorrow, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. The Licensing Topic of the Month will take a look at recent controversies involving marketing to the LGBTQ+ community and what lessons they can provide for licensing executives that find themselves facing controversies of all kinds, while the Datapoint research spotlight takes a look at food and beverage licensing programs by type of brand. The publication will also include a link to our coverage of trends from this year’s Licensing Expo. If you do not yet subscribe to this free publication, you can do so here.

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