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Elmer Candy offers classic favorites in dark chocolate

BY Allison Cerra

PONCHATOULA, La. Elmer Candy announced Tuesday that its long-time Easter favorites are now being offered in dark chocolate along with their traditional milk chocolate counterparts.

Initially introduced in 1923, the Heavenly Hash Egg is a marshmallow, almond and chocolate confection.

The Gold Brick Egg recipe was created by Elmer’s in 1936 and is a combination of chopped pecans in a melt-away center enrobed in rich milk chocolate. The original Gold Brick Bar was introduced during the Depression with packaging designed to resemble gold bars of the U.S. Mint.

According to president and CEO Robert Nelson, the time was right to introduce dark chocolate versions of the treats.

“Heavenly Hash and Gold Bricks are Easter standard bearers along the Gulf Coast,” Nelson said. “Yet, consumers are also increasingly interested in the dark chocolate flavor. The new recipes have been designed to accommodate a growing portion of the market.”

According to Information Resources Inc., the sales of Heavenly Hash and Gold Brick products represent about 21% of Easter candy sales along the Gulf Coast. In comparison, the top selling national Easter candy item has a 3% share in the area.

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McNeil Nutritionals rolls out new sweetener

BY Allison Cerra

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. McNeil Nutritionals is adding a new low-calorie way to sweeten foods and beverages with 100%-natural ingredients.

SUN CRYSTALS All-Natural Sweetener blends naturally sweet stevia and pure cane sugar.

The company said it is responding to consumers’ demand for a 100% natural sweetener that is low in calories. The sweetener contains five calories per packet, and just one packet has the same sweetness as two teaspoons of sugar. Additionally, SUN CRYSTALS All-Natural Sweetener is suitable for the whole family, including people with diabetes.

With the launch of the product, McNeil Nutritionals is actively contributing to environmental sustainability efforts by using 100% recycled paper fiber, with a minimum of 35% post-consumer content, in the manufacture of brand packaging. Furthermore, the company is donating 1% of its annual sales to a U.S.-based environmental organization.

SUN CRYSTALS All-Natural Sweetener will begin its roll out at Walmart supercenters and neighborhood markets across the country this month, and will be available nationwide at additional retailers soon thereafter. Consumers will also have the opportunity to purchase the product online at www.suncrystals.com this spring.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Snack sales healthy at drug, healthy snacks even stronger

BY DSN STAFF

Research shows that whether it’s parents purchasing the snacks or kids consuming them, consumers said they are seeking out healthier snacking options. A recent survey by Mintel International found that kids and teens are receptive to healthy eating messages and are choosing foods with healthful ingredients.

When asked why they eat what they eat, 2-in-5 kids responding to the Mintel survey said they reach for foods that give them more energy. Over a third said they purposely eat foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients, 25% said they sought out foods low in fat and 22% look for foods low in sugar.

Parents are interested in healthier foods for their children as well, and healthfulness may trump price, even in the current economic environment. “Yes, consumers are economizing, but there’s a new definition of value, and it’s not just about price,” said Shelley Balanko, VP ethnographic research at The Hartman Group. “Consumers put a premium on kids’ health and wellness and are willing to pay more for whole, real foods with less processing.” Balanko said Hartman research showed more consumers looking for snacks with high fiber, whole fruits and less sugar.

The market also seems to be supporting growth of fortified, enriched foods, as well as simplified products that offer fresh ingredients. The challenge for drug store retailers is to find the right mix of products that addresses both trends.

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