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Low-fat versions slower to catch on

BY Richard Monks

Despite a growing number of consumers identifying themselves as healthy snackers, sales of more traditional snack foods — potato chips, corn chips and cheesy snacks — continue to flourish.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

Recent IRI data shows that all of these product areas — the mainstays of the $15.9 billion-a-year snack food market — recorded sales gains during the 52 weeks ended June 15.

Analysts said part of the reason for the continued success of these products has been manufacturers’ ability to respond to demands for products with less fat and fewer calories. For example, Frito-Lay’s Baked Cheetos, the fifth-best-selling brand in the cheese snack segment, contain half the total fat and about 15% fewer calories, compared with regular Cheetos.

Yet while suppliers have been making a concerted effort to meet the demand for healthier options, these products seem slow to catch on with shoppers. Sales of Baked Cheetos, for example, are only about 2% of the sales of regular Cheetos, while sales of regular Cheetos increased by almost 5% over the most recent 52 weeks, while sales of the baked version declined 11%.

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Bloks provide chewable energy

BY Richard Monks

Since their introduction a few years ago, Clif Bar & Co.’s Shot Bloks have been among the best-selling nutrition bars in the specialty store segment. Relatively new at mass market outlets, the product has quickly become a best-seller in these stores as well. Designed to provide quick, chewable energy, Shot Bloks come in a bar divided into six individual 33-calorie cubes, making it easy to customize and track caloric and electrolyte intake. Made from 95% organic ingredients, the product is described as having a consistency somewhere between a cereal bar and a gel, making it easier to chew than traditional nutrition bars. Clif Shot Bloks are offered in eight flavors, including orange, black cherry, margarita and citrus.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

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FruitChia bars pack in nutrients

BY Richard Monks

Alexa Health Products’ FruitChia bars have garnered a great deal of attention over the past year. Made with only two ingredients — fruit and chia seeds — the naturally sweetened, gluten-free bars provide a mixture of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Research has shown that chia seeds provide a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. Their high fiber and protein content is believed to help people lose weight, improve bone health and manage diabetes. Research has shown that the little black seeds also help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation. FruitChia bars are offered in six flavors.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

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