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Classic Oreo Cookies slim down

BY Barbara White-Sax

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Mondelez’s Nabisco division recently introduced Oreo Thins, a crisp, delicate version of the classic cookie. Oreo Thins are being positioned as a more sophisticated version of the classic, perfect for pairing with an afternoon latte or cup of tea for a more adult treat. The cookie’s new serving size is four cookies for 140 calories versus three Original Oreo Cookies for 160 calories.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

The permanent addition to the Oreo lineup launched this summer and is available in Original, Golden and Mint flavors for a suggested retail price of $4.59. The launch is being supported by a 360-degree marketing campaign, including television and social media.

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Nabisco reigns as flavors change

BY Barbara White-Sax

Sales in the cookie category may be flat overall, but Mondelez’s Oreo brand is on fire and is outpacing category growth with a more than 9% leap in dollar sales. Mondelez’s Nabisco division owns a 44% dollar share of the cookie category in the drug channel, according to IRI scanning data for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 6. Private-label cookies make up 21% of category dollar sales at drug stores, but private-label’s share of the category slipped 17% at drug.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

The growth can be credited to Nabisco’s powerhouse Oreo brand. This year, Nabisco ventured into the premium category with Oreo Thins, a crisp and delicate version of the classic cookie formulated to appeal to adult consumers. Research shows that consumers are willing to spend more on indulgent treats, a trend that helped boost sales of the premium cookie segment 6% over 2013 sales, according to Mintel.

Since 2012, Nabisco has been keeping its Oreo brand fresh with a number of limited-time flavors each year. “Consumers are seeking a snacking option that’s different than they’ve ever had,” said Mondelēz International president of U.S. sales Valerie Oswalt. “What we’ve done to meet that need is the Red Velvet Oreo, where we changed the base cake and crème filling to deliver on that indulgent Red Velvet taste, bringing Oreo to a different usage.”

In addition to Red Velvet, the company has debuted 35 special edition flavors over the past few years, including Pumpkin Spice, Limeade, Marshmallow Crispy, Key Lime, Cotton Candy and Cinnamon Bun. Some flavors have become so popular, that they remain in the company’s permanent lineup.

Other manufacturers are tapping in to the success of seasonal flavors — particularly pumpkin-flavored products for autumn. This fall, Kellogg’s Keebler brand introduced limited-edition Keebler Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes. The cookies, made with a blend of classic fall spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger, and topped with white fudge stripes, will be available through the end of 2015. The Fudge Stripes brand was down 1%across multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 6, according to IRI. Kellogg’s also brought Pop-Tarts Pumpkin Pie toaster pastries back for the autumn season.

Pumpkin spice flavors are everywhere this fall. Campbell Soup Co. debuted Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies last year and has brought the flavor back for 2015. Pillsbury added Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls to its Pillsbury Grands lineup and McKee Foods introduced Little Debbie’s Pumpkin Spice Rolls this year.

Other Nabisco cookie brands were strong in the drug channel. Nabisco’s Nutter Butter brand has a 22% uptick in dollar sales and its Bel Vita, Newton and Lorna Doone brands all had dollar sales increases of around 4%, according to IRI.

Looking ahead, better for you cookies, (organic, sugar- or allergen-free, fortified or low-fat versions) remain a small segment of the market, according to Mintel, but are expected to grow sales 32% between 2015 and 2020.

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Consumers choose Sparkling Ice flavor

BY Barbara White-Sax

PRESTON, Wash. — Sparkling Ice added a new flavor, Black Cherry, to its lineup of sparkling waters. Black Cherry, which is packed with real fruit flavor and fizz, is the twelfth flavor in the core product line.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

The flavor was chosen based on consumer preference after consumers were invited to use a dedicated hashtag to vote for their flavor of choice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The new product will be available nationwide to consumers starting in early 2016. Suggested retail price is between $1.19 and $1.29 for a 17-oz. bottle.

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