P&G’s ‘purpose-inspired’ growth strategy helps business
CINCINNATI "Innovation that truly improves people’s lives is more important than ever," Procter & Gamble’s chairman, president and CEO Bob McDonald said to company shareholders at its annual meeting.
Commenting on its "purpose-inspired" growth strategy, McDonald said that while significant opportunties for improvement lay ahead, P&G continues to see growth; organic sales grew 3%, core earnings per share rose 6% and adjusted free cash flow was 125% of net earnings for the last fiscal year ended June 30.
P&G will issue its financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30 on Oct. 27.
"Our own experience shows that companies that continue to invest in innovation during economic downturns enjoy more growth in the years that follow –– primarily because they keep their promises to consumers when those promises matter most. There’s nothing more important that we can do in these tough times than to keep our brands strong, to continue leading innovation and to win the consumer value equation every day," McDonald said.
"We won’t let up. I’m confident that if we build on our successes, address our shortfalls and implement our purpose-inspired growth strategy with excellence, we will continue to accelerate growth and touch and improve more consumers’ lives in more parts of the world … more completely," he added.
Something sweet for Snackerz
GLENDALE, Calif. —Just in time for Halloween, Nestle has added a bite-sized Butterfinger product to its 87-year-old classic candy brand. New ButterFinger Snackerz is a smooth Butterfinger candy center wrapped in a crispy, wafer biscuit and covered with chocolate and a decorative drizzle of peanut butter. It combines the classic Butterfinger flavors with new elements to provide a new snacking experience.
The product is available in single-serve 1.28-oz. bags and 9.2-oz. packages of fun-size bags. Suggested retail is 89 cents for a single-serve and $3.29 for fun-size bags. Snackerz also is included in a Best of Butterfinger assortment that includes individually wrapped Butterfinger and Butterfinger Crisp.
The launch is being supported with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon on Nestle’s Butterfinger.com website.
Premium carbonated drinks pour into market
Undaunted by flat carbonated beverage sales, premium soda manufacturers are bringing a steady stream of new products to market.
|*In billions**52 weeks ended Aug. 8 Source: Infoscan Reviews, SymphonyIRI Group|
“There’s definitely movement in this segment. There’s been a deluge of products, and we’ve been watching it closely,” said Melissa Abbott, trends and culinary insights manager at the Hartman Group. Abbott believed the spike in interest in niche carbonated beverages is fueled by consumers’ desire for higher-quality foods that are “premium, but attainable.” She also believed consumers are willing to spend a bit more for those products. “Consumers don’t view these beverages as a commodity. They are a treat, like a substitution for a candy bar,” she said.
Such premium soda brands as Boylan’s and Jones Soda have occupied this small niche for years, but have seen a surge in popularity. More brands—Fruit 66, Hot Lips and Kristall, to name a few—are more recent entries. “We’re seeing wider distribution from small labels,” Abbott said. “It’s exciting to see what’s going to happen here.”
Private-label brands also have moved into the segment. Walgreens has introduced Deerfield Trading’s Old Fashioned Soda with real cane sugar in such flavors as root beer and strawberry cream, and the company’s Duane Reade stores stock DR Delish sparkling beverages in pomegranate and blood orange, among other flavors.
Nontraditional flavors are a driver in the category. “We get excited about developing the next flavor,” said David Yudkin, co-owner of Hot Lips Soda. He believed pulp in the bottle is “new and will drive the category” going forward.
This spring, R.W. Knudsen introduced Sparkling Essence, a zero-calorie beverage made with sparkling water infused with organic ingredients in four light, natural flavors: lemon, cucumber, mint and blueberry. Knudsen also recently reformulated and repackaged its Spritzers, made from fruit juice and sparkling water in such flavors as Jamaican lemonade, peach and boysenberry. In an effort to shave calories from each serving, the company reduced juice content from 100% to 70%-to-80% juice and changed packaging from a 12-oz. can to a sleek 10.5-oz. can. The Spritzers are sold for about $3.79 for a four pack.
Jones has done well with its quirky, limited-edition flavors—its newest addition is a bacon-flavored soda. The company’s limited-edition six packs have been featured at Target for Halloween.
While more premium soda brands continue to enter the market, industry experts were quick to note that the segment remains small. “The industry is dominated by Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper Snapple Group,” said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest. “There’s always room for niche players, and they will always be niche players.”