Snack makers fulfill salty cravings
Consumers want it all from the salty snack category. They want products that satisfy a craving, but they want to feel good about what they are eating. They are looking for products that provide a healthier profile, and they want a steady stream of new flavors to tempt them.
No wonder chip manufacturers have been bringing so many new products to the market. Salty snack dollar sales were ahead more than 11 percent in drug stores for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 27, according to Information Resources Inc. Within that category, potato chip sales were up nearly 4 percent.
Kim Lopez-Walters, consumer strategist for food and beverages at Iconoculture, said that gourmet products made from exotic vegetables, such as Hain Celestial Group’s Terra Chips, are becoming more popular with consumers. Terra Chips has grown beyond its beginnings as a small specialty store brand and is being joined by major manufacturers who see potential in “healthier” chip options.
Last year, Frito-Lay launched Flat Earth, veggie and fruit-based crisps that one PepsiCo executive called the company’s response to “consumer demand for better-for-you options.” The product has been so successful it will be included in Information Resources Inc.’s list of most successful product introductions for 2007. Flat Earth crisps offer consumers a health benefit—each 1-ounce serving of the snack counts as a half serving of fruit or vegetables. That may qualify the chips as a functional food.
Corazonas Foods’ recent launch of Heart Healthy Potato Chips certainly fits under the functional umbrella. Corazonas’ chips, which join the company’s lineup of heart-healthy snack products, have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips and contain plant sterols that have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. The chips, which also are billed as a good source of fiber, are available in five “world-inspired” flavors.
“World-inspired” new flavors that turn up the heat are giving the chip segment a boost, and the trend toward bolder flavors is expected to continue. “We see a consistent trend in consumers demanding bold tastes,” said Michelle Peterman, vice president of marketing for Kettle Foods.
Shiela McCusker, editor of Information Resources Inc.’s Times and Trends Reports, said the trend toward spicier offerings is being driven by boomers, as well as younger consumers.
Procter & Gamble has had a number of hits with new twists on its Pringles brand. Pringles Select, which McCusker calls one of the most successful snack launches of 2007, is billed as a gourmet snack and is available in such exotic flavors as cinnamon sweet potato, Szechwan barbeque and crunch jalapeño ranch.
Pringles also recently introduced Stix (available in vanilla, pizza, crunchy wheat and honey butter) and Pringles Extreme (in kickin’ cheddar, screamin’ dill pickle and blazin’ buffalo wings).
Involving consumers in marketing is a tactic that has worked well for Kettle Foods, maker of Kettle Chips. For the past four years, the company has turned to consumers for product development by inviting them to help select introductions by voting for their favorite flavor. This year’s winner was Death Valley chipotle.
Kellogg launches high-fiber line of snacks, drinks
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Kellogg Co. launched its expanded line of All-Bran products, including high-fiber meal replacement bars and drink mixes, to its Special K Protein Portfolio.
All-Bran fiber bars come in two flavors: apple cinnamon streusel and strawberry drizzle and the All-Bran fiber drink mixes are available in pink lemonade or iced tea flavors.
Each product contains 10 grams of fiber, plus such essential vitamins and minerals as B6, B12, folic acid and niacin.
The company said the All-Bran and Special K Protein products were designed for consumers interested in getting the right amounts of daily fiber and protein, and also maintaining a healthy body weight.
Prices will vary by retailer.
Jelly Belly, Cold Stone Creamery partner on jelly bean flavors
FAIRFIELD, Calif. Cold Stone Creamery ice cream makers and Jelly Belly brand jelly beans have partnered to create a line of ice cream-inspired jelly bean flavors.
Candy crafters at Jelly Belly will release the new flavors comprising the Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Parlor Mix on May 1.
The new Cold Stone-inspired flavors include Apple Pie A La Cold Stone, Birthday Cake Remix, Chocolate Devotion, Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Our Strawberry Blonde.
They will be available in 3.1-, 6.5- and 8.5-ounce bags.