Biena, Girl Scouts unveil Thin Mints chickpea snacks
Biena, a brand known for its chickpea snacks is venturing into brand new territory by partnering with the Girl Scouts of the USA. Together both companies are launching Thin Mints Chickpea snacks, which consist of a fair trade dark chocolate coating over its classic sea salt chickpeas.
“There are few things Americans anticipate more than Girl Scout Cookie season, so we are very excited to offer a chickpea snack inspired by the classic flavor of Thin Mints cookies,” Poorvi Patodia, founder and CEO of Biena, said. “We’ve combined Biena’s good-for-you chickpea snacks with the timeless taste of Thin Mints cookies, all for 130 calories and 4 grams of protein and fiber. It’s a refreshingly delicious snack.”
The Thin Mints chickpea snacks will appear on shelves at Whole Foods beginning in June and will retail $4.49 for a 3.15-oz. sized pack.
“The Girl Scout Cookie Program gives girls essential business and entrepreneurial experiences that set them up for a lifetime of success,” Barry Horowitz, GSUSA chief revenue officer, said. “We are proud to work with Biena to remind consumers about the power of the cookie program for girls everywhere.”
Other products from the Boston-based company, such as the sea salt, honey roasted, barbeque and habanero chickpea snacks can be found at such retailers as Albertsons, CVS, Stop & Shop and Shoprite among others. Further product information and sort availability can be found on Biena’s website.
Tropicana evolves beverage offerings
Tropicana is expanding its already large portfolio by introducing two new beverages, Tropicana kids and Tropicana coco blends.
The Chicago-based company’s kids line contains certified USDA organic premium fruit juice drinks that come in three flavors — fruit punch, mixed berry and watermelon. The product also features 45% real fruit juice that is mixed with filtered water, no added sweeteners or artificial flavors, the company said.
Coco blends offer the brand’s signature juice drink, with a splash of coconut water to provide consumers with a new way to enjoy both. The launch will come in two flavors — pineapple with coconut water and peach passion fruit with coconut water — and contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors and features 100% coconut water.
“Tropicana has continued to innovate to secure our spot not only at the breakfast table but throughout the daily lives of on-the-go Americans,” Becca Kerr, senior vice president, North American nutrition fruit and vegetable portfolio said. “We’re thrilled to launch Tropicana Kids, offering an organic, premium fruit juice drink for busy parents who don’t want to sacrifice their kids’ nutrition, while Tropicana Coco Blends introduces a delicious way to enjoy the coconut water craze in a great-tasting juice drink.”
Both new offerings are available in select retail locations nationwide. The kid’s juice offerings will be featured in the juice box aisle in multi-packs while the coco blends can be found in the chilled juice section in multi and single-serve sizes. Further product information and store availability can be found on the company’s website.
Demand for new products keeps housewares companies busy
Innovation, fashion and design remain the cornerstones for success in housewares, as manufacturers not only push to meet consumer needs, but inspire them to make that purchase.
As officials at the International Housewares Association noted, technology also is playing a large role in the category’s success. It has allowed suppliers to innovate, while shortening time-to-market. At the same time, suppliers are investing greater resources to provide high fashion, design and new technologies to reinvent basics and innovate with newness, both of which motivate buyers and consumers to purchase.
“The housewares industry continues to generate innovative and design-driven new products,” said Jon Jesse, vice president of industry development at the Rosemont, Ill.-based IHA. “Across the spectrum of home products, the impact of design and the emergence of new materials have created many new options for decorating, organizing, cleaning and supplying the home. Inspired by social media and peer-to-peer idea sharing, consumers are busily exploring new food preparation options, and kitchenware suppliers are ready with tools to support them.”
For many manufacturers, the annual International Home + Housewares Show, held each March in the Midwest, is the primary venue to introduce new products to an international audience of industry buyers and media. Jesse said that suppliers of every size across retail channels based upon their own market strengths, product offerings and the ability to meet a need within the marketplace.
Industry observers pointed out that consumers also are developing a renewed interest in personal health-and-wellness goals.
Experts have said those goals also are driving the hydration category, which includes water bottles and infusion and filtration products. Hydration products also are showcasing technology, fashion and design trends that the rest of the housewares category is seeing, according to officials at Bradshaw International. The company, which is largely a supplier of kitchen gadgets, is seeing success since launching its GoBottle in 2017. Designed for consumers who want reliable but stylish hydration options, the 25-SKU line sold under the company’s Good Cook brand comes in a variety of price points and options, including acrylic and stainless steel choices.
Melissa Simpson, senior channel manager at Bradshaw, said the clean, contemporary look of its GoBottle has been an instant hit with consumers. Its bold, trend-right colors are particularly attractive to shoppers looking for something different, she noted. And because Bradshaw’s research showed that consumers on the run want to take their hydration bottles wherever they go — be it work, the gym or hiking with a friend — the company included built-in loops on many styles so that the bottles can easily attach to backpacks or gym bags.
“The hydration category has been experiencing phenomenal growth the past few years, and we saw an opportunity to offer consumers a feature-filled, fashion-forward option that fits with their lifestyle,” Simpson said. “Many of our GoBottles, for example, are spill resistant, BPA-free and designed to be easily filled and cleaned.”
The IHA, noting the growth in consumer demand for hydration products, has created a preshow event, the Trending Today Preview: A Marketplace for Hydration. The March 10 event will include 60 exhibitors for buyers to meet with ahead of the show floor opening.
Lighting up the category
Technology isn’t just being brought to bear on hydration products. Lighters, too, are reaping the benefits of innovation, while bringing eco-friendly features and eye-catching designs to consumers, according to officials at Ontario, Calif.-based Calico Brands.
Calico’s Scripto brand, for instance, offers innovative multipurpose lighters with a variety of features, including an adjustable wind resistant flame, a flexible nozzle and a refillable folding mechanism.
In 2017, the company introduced two new innovative products — the Scripto EZ-Squeeze multipurpose lighter and the Scripto Ultima premium poc-ket lighter line. The Scripto EZ-Squeeze features a squeeze grip ignition for ease of use, a refillable tank, ergonomic design, visible fuel supply, an angled nozzle and a built-in hook for storage. The Scripto Ultima looks to bring a new design, look and feel to the pocket lighter category with more lights, colors and features. Calico touted the lighter line’s visible fuel supply, adjustable flame, 3,000 lights and polycarbonate material with high-impact resistance and high-heat resistance.
“Bringing innovation and new products to market is what Calico Brands is all about,” a marketing department official said. Our product innovations continue to set new category standards of excellence and be a catalyst for our growth and success in the marketplace.”
Consumers also are looking for décor to light up their spaces, which product development company Mark Feldstein and Associates is looking to capitalize on with its plan to launch more than 50 new products in the first quarter of 2018.
“Our series of LED Pillows, LED Door Greeters, LED Crackle Glass Globes and LED Porcelain Ornaments will brighten up any occasion and enhance any mood,” Howard Feldstein, marketing manager at the Sylvania, Ohio-based company, said.
Where modern, sleek designs are big in the hydration segment, home décor is trending toward a simpler feel.
“As for themes, the rustic look is trending strongly and was a driving force in the recent introduction of our line of Farmhouse Gifts wall clocks, LED branches, LED pillows, LED pumpkins, LED light boxes, LED canisters, candlestick holders and licensed canvases,” Feldstein said. “Additionally, millennials are driving the popularity of organic materials being incorporated into many of our products.”
Clearly, opportunities abound in housewares, but with so many suppliers vying for a shot on the shelf, it can be a daunting exercise for retailers to understand which companies are in a position to help and which might hinder sales growth.
Marketing department officials at Calico Brands suggested retailers should look suppliers that produce quality products and abide by industry standards, regulations and social compliance. They said retailers also should focus on companies that turn to product innovation to grow the category, who are reliable, accountable and have in-depth knowledge of the product category, as well as brand recognition, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, and highly developed merchandising and promotional strategies.
Feldstein pointed out that as a product development company, its relevance in the industry is tied to staying in tune with current trends in the marketplace, and translating that into introducing innovative products that meet those consumer needs. “We take great pride in being recognized for our innovation, such as our one-of-a-kind Revers-a-brella No Drip Umbrella, which won a 2017 International Housewares Association Best in Category Global Innovation award,” he said.
Given the intense competitive pressures on retailers, Feldstein said partnering with suppliers that offer products with a perceived value is critical. “To us, that perceived value is defined as offering high quality products with innovative features that will meet the needs of a specific mass retailer’s customer at competitive prices. As mass retailers look to partner with vendors, on-point trend development is also a very important quality for a supplier to have,” he said.
Additionally, Feldstein noted suppliers have product testing capabilities to meet specific retailer testing requirements.
Poised for growth
Staying on top of trends and partnering with reputable suppliers is crucial, but so is having the right breadth and depth of items — and offering them at the right time.
Suppliers noted that consumers want more bang for their buck, while not sacrificing quality. Retailers can leverage these trends in store by merchandising such high impulse, high sale items as lighters in high traffic areas, and utilizing promotional displays and cross merchandising in a “store within a store” concept, according to officials at Calico Brands.
Within the lighter category, offering a variety of colors, styles and designs will help retailers appeal to multiple consumer groups and demographics, as well as stimulate sales in the category, Calico officials said.
“The driving force behind growth in the category is the availability and variety of different types of multipurpose and pocket lighters,” Calico’s marketing department official said. “The multipurpose and pocket lighter category is highly competitive, and manufacturers are looking for innovative ways to capture consumers’ attention by introducing new technology, styles and/or designs to distinguish their product from competitors.”