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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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Mars celebrates Easter with pastel-colored M&M’S, virtual egg hunt

BY Allison Cerra

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. With Easter just around the corner, Mars Snackfood is hosting a virtual Easter hunt promotion, and sharing new recipes and decorating tips for its limited-edition seasonal pastel M&M’S from culinary, lifestyle and party planning expert Ingrid Hoffmann.

Mars developed a virtual Easter egg hunt on its new site, www.HuntforYellow.com, where spokescandy “Yellow” falls asleep in the Easter Bunny’s basket while setting up an egg hunt and is placed among the hidden eggs in the park. Consumers can visit the site for a chance to find him, and win cash and prizes.

In celebration of the limited-edition pastel M&M’S, Hoffmann has cooked up fun Easter crafts and recipes. Hoffmann’s suggestions and ideas are sure to jazz up Easter baskets, dinner table decorations and Easter treats, making Easter gatherings even more festive for the whole family. More information for crafts and recipes for the Easter holiday can be found at www.mms.com.

“Pastel M&M’S are perfect for infusing great taste and color into Easter entertaining,” Hoffmann said. “It’s a treat for me to be able to get creative and think about all the ways M&M’S can be used in recipes that are perfect for making with friends and family around the holiday.”

Now through April, retail stores nationwide will display the limited-edition, seasonal varieties of M&M’S for a suggested retail price of $2.99.

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Jones Soda Co. appoints new president, CEO

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE Jones Soda Co. has appointed a new president, CEO of its company, the board of directors announced Friday.

The beverage company has appointed Joth Ricci president, CEO effective May 1, 2009. Ricci, who has served as the Jones Soda’s COO since last year, succeeds Stephen Jones, who is stepping down, but will continue as a member of the Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Jones Soda, Mr. Ricci served as GM of Portland, Ore.-based Columbia Distributing Company. During his time with Columbia Distributing, Ricci also held the position VP human Resources & process improvement, as well as regional VP sales & marketing. Before joining Columbia Distributing he spent more than nine years with McNeil Consumer Healthcare / Johnson & Johnson in various sales and marketing management roles.

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