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Whole Fruit’s Fruit Bars, Organic Juice Tubes become Non-GMO Project Verified

BY Gisselle Gaitan

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.

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Breakfast foods eye health, snacking

BY Michael Johnsen

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.”

 

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Brand authenticity quintessential to Gen Z shoppers, IRI says

BY Michael Johnsen

Authenticity is more important to Gen Z than preceding generations, according to findings from two recent studies the shopping attitudes and behaviors of this up and coming demographic from IRI and the Family Room. Findings also show that Gen Z shoppers tend to have significant influence on the purchase behaviors of their household — meaning that manufacturers and retailers are smart to adjust their marketing strategies now to win the hearts and minds of the latest generation to wield buying power before it’s too late.

“Gen Z is deeply motivated by authenticity and a brand’s ’emotional DNA,’ which we define as how completely a product or brand aligns with the values shoppers attribute to it,” Robert Tomei, president of Consumer and Shopper Marketing and Core Content Services for IRI, said. “Because Gen Z shoppers rely more on brand recognition to make purchase decisions than their millennial counterparts, it is critical that manufacturers and retailers create transparent and authentic relationships with the Gen Z population early on to build loyalty as their purchasing power grows.”

The research from IRI’s latest study, which builds on the initial Gen Z analysis released in September 2017, links the unique attitudes and behaviors of Gen Z to household purchase behavior data, providing CPG manufacturers and retailers with actionable insights that identify growth opportunities.

In addition to the importance of authenticity, some highlights from the study include:

  • Gen Zers are active participants in their family’s grocery shopping. IRI’s study found that 47% of older Gen Zers (aged 18-21) participate in their household’s grocery shopping. Further, parents say their Gen Z kids influence what they buy at the grocery store;
  • Personalization isn’t creepy — it’s cool. 38% of Gen Z kids think it’s cool to get ads or promotions in their social media feeds for products based on their interests/shopping habits. That’s much higher than their millennial counterparts, 21% for young millennials (aged 22-30) and 30% for older millennials (aged 31-40). And for younger Gen Z kids, personalization is seen as a great way to discover new products/services (42% of young Gen Zers agreed with this statement);
  • Variety is a must. IRI’s study found that product variety (i.e., flavors) is very important to the Gen Z’s cohort that substantially influences the buying behaviors of their households. The number of unique UPCs purchased in households with Gen Z kids are significantly higher than those without. For example, in the cold cereal category, Gen Z households purchased 12.4 unique UPCs per household in the category compared with only 7.6 unique UPCs purchased by households without a Gen Z member;
  • A healthy lifestyle is broadly defined. 66% of the Gen Z population said that “Feeling Good About Who I Am” is a part of being healthy, and 62% cited “Staying Positive” as a major contributor to health. These responses underscore the values-based, holistic approach Gen Z brings to all of their interactions, including those with brands;
  • They want to be a part of the feedback loop. IRI’s and the Family Room’s findings show that Gen Z has little interest in or patience for brands that try to “sell them” without sincerely working to get to know them. They want to be an active part of the brand relationship and want a feedback loop and an interactive dialog — underscoring social media’s importance in both reaching and engaging with them.

“Gen Z is fueled by possibility,” Lynne Gillis, principal of Survey and Segmentation for IRI, said. “They see windows where others see walls. They are not afraid to create those things that they want but cannot find — they truly do want to be a part of the innovation process. But they want purposeful, collaborative innovation. If new products or services are not highly aligned with their specific needs and values and don’t fulfill a meaningful purpose, they’re quick to dismiss them. To accomplish this and reach them, manufacturers and retailers must leverage the power of personalization to reach Gen Z, the first generation that has no memory of life before the internet and the first majority minority cohort (‘diversity is natural’) in U.S. history.”

 

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