Hallmark brings greeting cards to virtual baskets
Hallmark is joining forces with retailers to drive greeting card profits in the online marketplace. The Kansas City, Mo-based company said this effort is focused on delivering new and innovative solutions, especially as the grocery industry sees a spike in online sales.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for us to add to her basket while she is shopping online,” Stacey Howe, Hallmark general manager and vice president of national accounts, said. “When she is looking at cake mix or birthday candles, we can suggest she also browse a selection of birthday cards and gift wrap to complete her order.”
U.S. online grocery spending could grow from 4.3% in 2016 to 20% by the year 2025, stated a Food Marketing Institute-Nielsen report. According to Hallmark’s research, those who shop for groceries online also are more likely to purchase cards. This has prompted the company to create an e-commerce team focused solely on developing strategies, solutions and tools that will allow its retail partners to expand their greeting card aisles to the digital space.
Greeting cards are a high-margin, non-perishable and low-weight item that is able to increase total purchase value without adding any complexities, the company said. Hallmark also is seeing month-over-month growth within all its e-commerce channels.
In order to provide the best shopping experience for the consumer, the greeting card company provides online consumers with imagery designed to showcase each card’s texture, scale and dimensions. The cards also will be accompanied by detailed descriptions — including the sentiment inside — online.
Each order placed online comes packaged specially for the e-commerce space, Hallmark said.
“Our initial partnerships with retailers are already generating strong results, and we are taking key learnings from these experiences to optimize our tools and drive even better results,” Howe said. “Flexibility in our operational approach is key. We adapt to fit within a retailer’s existing capabilities and iterate alongside them as they grow.”
Whole Fruit’s Fruit Bars, Organic Juice Tubes become Non-GMO Project Verified
J&J Snack Foods announced that two of its products, the Whole Fruit Fruit Bars and Organic Juice Tubes, are now Non-GMO Project Verified.
“By partnering with the Non-GMO Project, we hope to strengthen our well-loved brand even further. We want our Whole Fruit consumers to feel good about and trust the treats they are feeding their family and friends — this is just one additional way to help them do so,” Alissa Davis, vice president of marketing at J&J Snack Foods, said.
The Non-GMO Project verified Whole Fruit Fruit Bars will include the strawberry, mango and black cherry flavors. The Whole Fruit Organic Juice Tubes are to feature to the apple grape, apple blueberry, apple cherry and apple strawberry varieties.
Whole Fruit Fruit Bars and Organic Juice Tubes can be found in the freezer section of local retail supermarkets, supercenters and warehouse clubs. Further information can be found on J&J Snack Foods’ website.
Breakfast foods eye health, snacking
Healthcare professionals have long professed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day — and for good reason. Eating a heathy breakfast has been positively correlated with maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heart disease and preventing Type 2 diabetes — all examples of the kind of chronic diseases those same healthcare professionals are trying to mitigate.
But a good portion of consumers aren’t eating breakfast. According to a recent DSM survey, 34% of American consumers spend less than five minutes each day consuming breakfast. As many as 39% reported that they were skipping their morning meal because they didn’t have the time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast.
According to the survey, when it comes to breakfast, 69% of consumers prefer healthy over cheap, 65% prefer healthy over tasty and 65% prefer healthy over indulgent. In light of this, breakfast food suppliers said that retailers that are looking to serve up breakfast to health-oriented consumers might want to emphasize what’s on the label and on convenience formats, breakfast food suppliers suggested.
“Health is a really important driver in this category,” Tracey DeCarlo, senior manager of category solutions at private brand merchandising firm Daymon, said. “Historically, breakfast foods have suffered from the perception of being high in sugar and highly processed. From a growth perspective, [differentiation] is driven by better nutrition, so products that offer protein for improved satiety and more lasting energy, and simple, clean ingredients, as well.”
As consumers look to breakfast foods to deliver on their health needs, they also are increasingly interested in the category’s mainstay, cereal, as something that doesn’t necessarily need to be consumed at the beginning of their day.
“Another mega-trend today is snacking,” Mike Browne, Kellogg vice president of customer marketing, said. “It often surprises people that, through innovation and acquisition, we now derive more than half of our portfolio from snacks categories. And this doesn’t even include the fact that nearly a third of cereal consumption is now outside of breakfast — and consumed mostly as a snack.”
That opens the door to placing breakfast foods in multiple locations throughout the store. “Retailers are creating bigger baskets by promoting and merchandising ready-to-eat cereals with other categories,” Browne said. Food companies and retailers must work together to address consumer wellness and convenience needs.”
In the drug channel, consumers have health on their mind, and the store can offer an important supplement to a shopper’s weekly grocery trip, according to General Mills senior customer manager Jeff Graves.
The key to capturing the sale, according to Kellogg’s Browne, is shelving items by category rather than brand blocking. And Graves said that breakfast-focused endcaps placed between the front door and the backbench can have a big impact.
“The pharmacy is at the back of the store for a reason … the aisles traveled on the journey to the pharmacy counter offer assets for the retailer to reach consumers,” Graves said. “High impulse, instant consumption, on-the-go food items do well in this space.”