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Heinz Ketchup receives top marks in brand equity, says Harris study

BY Jenna Duncan

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Harris Interactive today released the 2008 results of EquiTrend—a 28-year study of brand equity covering more than 1,000 brands and spanning 39 categories The study named Heinz Ketchup as No. 1 in brand equity.

The study said that Heinz Ketchup beat out other contenders like M&Ms, Hershey, Cheerios and Duracell in six base categories: brand expectations, distinctiveness, familiarity, purchase consideration, quality and trust.

The EquiTrend report also examined each category’s word of mouth marketing and identified certain demographic sub-groups that were most likely to participate in word of-mouth-marketing. For example, the restaurant category reportedly had high levels of word-of-mouth marketing.

“While there are many ways to strengthen the bonds between brands and their stakeholders, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the social networks to which stakeholders belong and how they operate, in order to proactively influence the spread of positive brand experiences and minimize the damage of negative experiences,” senior vice president of brands and communications consulting at Harris Interactive, Carol Gstalder, said. “This word-of-mouth marketing, combined with the historical brand equity tracking data in EquiTrend, provides a new way of looking at brands and their management in the context of a highly dynamic marketplace.”

Harris Interactive provides more EquiTrend information on brands and strategizing at its Web site, www.harrisinteractive.com/brand.

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Frito-Lay releases TrueNorth nut snacks

BY Jenna Duncan

PLANO, Texas Pepsi’s Frito-Lay snack chip business has unveiled a new plan to stretch business in the snack nut segment by launching TrueNorth, a line of all-natural nut snacks.

The company said that it is unveiling three varieties of TrueNorth snack nut items; nut clusters, nut crisps and nut crunches. Each contains 5 grams of protein per 1-ounce portion.

Regan Ebert, vice president and general manager of Frito-Lay North America, said, “While consumer demand for the nut category continues to be positive, the options have been limited and uninspiring. TrueNorth creates nut snacking options that range from reinventing the traditional to new twists that feature nuts as a crisp, which is reminiscent of a cracker.”

Frito-Lay has said that it plans a full marketing campaign to launch TrueNorth, including print and TV ads, free samples and free-standing marketing inserts.

TrueNorth nut snacks are available at select retailers for $3.29 per bag. A full nationwide rollout will occur in the second quarter 2008.

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Cape Cod Potato Chips releases three new flavors

BY Jenna Duncan

HYANNIS, Mass. Cape Cod Potato Chips has announced three new flavors added to its lineup, just in time for summer. They are buttermilk ranch, honey Dijon and sweet mesquite barbeque.

“Our quest was to find a rich gourmet flavor that offers the perfect pairing of America’s love for outdoor entertaining and people’s favorite snack-chips,” director of marketing for Cape Cod Potato Chips Heidi Daly Ford said in a recent statement.

Daly Ford continued, saying that the design team at Cape Cod experimented with many different flavors, revising combinations and conducting taste-tests for several months. She said that consumers seemed to favor mesquite barbeque-flavored chips, as well as buttermilk ranch flavor and honey Dijon.

In the United States, snack items have grown to become a $76-billion per year industry. Potato chips are the leading snack in the U.S. with the highest sales falling in the Memorial Day through Labor Day season. Cape Cod Potato Chips said that its products are popular at outdoor events, like picnics and barbeques.

Cape Code Potato Chips’ new flavors will enter major markets across the country this the summer. The 8-ounce bags retail for about $2 retail bags. All products are also available on the Cape Cod Potato Chips Web site, www.capecodchips.com.

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