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Eagle Snacks may see a comeback

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO Reserve Brands, a small Chicago-based start-up, has obtained the exclusive license to market Eagle Snacks, a brand whose familiarity is known by retailers and consumers across the country.

But what many consumers do not realize is that Eagle Snacks are not currently on the market, and haven’t been since Eagle was purchased from Anheuser-Busch by Procter & Gamble in 1996. Though the brand name is still easily recognized, its line of snacks hasn’t been in production for some time. The fact that Eagle’s absence has seemingly gone unnoticed might actually be a great “comeback” strategy for the brand, Reserve said. It plans to reintroduce Eagle Snacks to grocery and retail shelves later this year.

“When people say, ‘I didn’t even realize you can’t buy Eagle Snacks any more,’ you know you’ve got a business opportunity,” Reserve Brands president and chief executive, Scott Lazar, said.

Many consumers remember Eagle as the first brand to have snack nuts on airplanes, company spokespersons said. The name recognition will be a good thing, they said, for the company to introduce new products. Eagle plans to roll out two new product lines into Chicago-area Dominick’s stores later this year; Eagle Bursts and Poppers.

Reserve Brands’ goal is to reach $50 million in sales in its first year and to reach $100 million in sales in the next two to three years. After that, the company said, it plans to sell to a bigger player.

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Nestea announces new flavors, new bottle

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA Nestea is getting a makeover, producer Coca-Cola said Friday. The beverage maker said that it plans to add new flavors and revamp the Nestea brand’s packaging to beat competition in the U.S. tea market.

New Nestea bottles will land in stores this month with bold labels and a slimmer design. Coke said the design change was geared to make the tea stand out from soft drinks. New Nestea flavors, Green Tea Citrus and Diet Green Tea Citrus, are being rolled out with 50 percent more antioxidants than the Nestea green tea currently on the market.

Senior vice president and general manager of coffee and tea for Coca-Cola North, Penny McIntyre, said, “You could sum it up to say we changed pretty well everything that we could to make sure we had the strongest proposition for consumers.”

The take-home sales totals for tea rose 20.5 percent in the U.S. in 2007, reported Beverage Digest newsletter recently. According to the report, Nestea ranked fourth, following competitors Arizona Tea, Lipton and Snapple. Nestea held 8.5 percent of the market.

The new Nestea marketing campaign will get under way during the next few months, Coke said. To promote the new flavors and packaging, Coke will distribute more than 1 million free samples of Nestea.

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General Mills names chief executive officer as chairman

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS General Mills said yesterday that it will appoint Kendall J. Powell to cover the job of chairman. Powell is already chief executive officer of the company.

Powell was voted by the board to take over duties as chairman on May 23, when Stephen Sanger, a 34-year veteran of the company, retires.

Sanger served as chairman and chief executive since he was elected to the seat, about 13 years ago. Powell, 54, joined the company in 1979 and was promoted to chief executive in September 2007.

Wall Street today reported that General Mills shares rose 16 cents to $61.83 during afternoon trading.

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