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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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January 17, 2021, to January 31, 2021

How A Careful Rebranding May Propel A Successful Snack Start-Up To Stardom

According to Villanova University marketing professor Charles Taylor, the “unique product positioning” – “vegan pork rinds” – of Rockville, Md.-based start-up Snacklins helped it triple sales last year. The snack chip is made from yuca, mushrooms, and onions, is gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, certified non-GMO, and certified kosher, and only 90 calories a bag. But the young company’s biggest achievement, according to Taylor, has been its ability to analyze customers and “environmental changes” and rethink its product. In December the company launched a rebranding effort that featured more flavors, a graphics refresh (stylized mouth designs), an advanced e-commerce website (a response to the coronavirus pandemic), and the introduction of a larger, multi-serve (three-ounce) package size. 

Campbell Soup Company To Shutter Georgia Snack Factory

The Camden, N.J.-based food company decided to close the Columbus snacks manufacturing facility in phases by spring 2022 because of its age and reduced consumer demand for non-core products made there. The plant, which employs 326 people, produces candy, crackers, cookies, nuts, and bars under brands such as Snyder’s of Hanover and Pepperidge Farm. The 94-years-old plant was part of Campbell’s purchase of Snyder’s-Lance in 2018. Campbell says it will phase out the production of candy under the Lance brand and will shift production of its higher demand Lance, Emerald, and Late July snacks across the division’s manufacturing network.

Market Researcher Says Innovation In Sweets, Snacks Is Strengthened By Storytelling

Among the important themes highlighted by Innova Market Insights in the sweets and snacks categories are provenance, sustainable sourcing, and packaging. The researcher’s 2020 survey found that 85 percent of global consumers want to learn more about where their food comes from. In response, food companies are working harder to meet evolving ethical, environmental, and clean label consumer demands using creative, meaningful storytelling to communicate this. Sweets and snacks companies are emphasizing ingredient provenance for raw materials such as nuts, cocoa, and sugar, along with ethical credentials and packaging sustainability. Other key trends include: plant-based; demand for different formats, new plant proteins; personalized nutrition that features healthy and immune-supporting ingredients; and the availability of “branded cinema-style snacks” in the home.

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December 20, 2020, to January 17, 2021

Instacart’s Forecast Of Top Grocery Trends For 2021 Includes Keto

Among the grocery trends expected to gain prominence in 2021 – lower alcohol cocktails, bolder spices and condiments, greater selectivity by brand and store, etc. – is a dietary trend, according to the grocery delivery and pick-up service (San Francisco). Twenty-eight percent of those who tried a high-fat, low-carb keto diet in 2020 apparently liked it. Sales trends were consistent with the survey, as products with “keto” in the name saw a 72 percent increase in the Instacart marketplace. The 10 most popular keto products in the marketplace: KetoPint Salt and Caramel Keto Bar; Think! Keto Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie flavor; Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix; Sundae Shoppe Keto Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream; Sundae Shoppe Keto Cookie Dough Ice Cream; Lenny and Larry’s Keto Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie; Sundae Shoppe Keto Mint Chip Ice Cream; Epic Chicken Sriracha Protein Bar; Ratio Keto Friendly Strawberry Dairy Snack; and Ratio Keto Friendly Vanilla Dairy Snack. The Instacart report combines in-depth analysis of Instacart search and purchase activity with data from a new online Harris Poll survey.

New Nightfood Packaging Emphasizes “Sleep-Friendly” Benefits

New packaging for the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based “sleep friendly” ice cream company’s products puts greater emphasis on better-for-you night-time snacking formulated for better sleep. The revamped packaging features the company’s familiar Cravemonsters in a bolder design with a new deep blue background for stronger shelf-presence. The packaging also suggests night-time cues to the consumer, according to the company. The “sleep-friendly” nutritional profile includes more prebiotic fiber, casein protein, calcium, magnesium, and zinc compared to regular ice cream, while containing less sugar, less fat, and fewer calories. These benefits are highlighted in detail on the back of each pint. During the 18 months the ice cream has been on store shelves, consumer reviews and company interviews determined that 95 percent of reviewers ticked 4 or 5 stars. Production of Nightfood pints in the new packaging is expected to appear on store shelves starting in March. The packaging update was executed by OffWhite Co. 

Coke’s European Bottlers Expect Major Changes Now That COVID-19 Vaccine Is Rolling Out

The general manager of Uxbridge, England-based Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) says the first half of 2021 will look pretty much the same as the second half of 2020: lockdowns and purchase of larger beverage packages. But Stephen Burgess expects that as the company moves further into 2021, and the COVID vaccines become more readily available, people will feel more confident about leaving the house, and sales of on-the-go packs will increase. “I am convinced those opportunities will come back,” Burgess added. For the first half of 2021 he suggested that the brand should ensure take-home packs are as affordable as possible. In fact, prices on 500 ml packs have already started to drop.

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December 13, 2020, to December 20, 2020

Kraft-Heinz’s Deal With APC Microbiome Greatly Expands Its Snack Innovation Potential

Market researcher Global Data says major food companies like Kraft-Heinz and Nestlé are heavily engaged in researching plant-based food technology while expanding rapidly into the space. An example of the priority is Kraft-Heinz’s recent deal to conduct research on fermented ingredients with APC Microbiome. The arrangement allows the company to try novel flavors and formulations without wasting time on internal, potentially dead-end, research. The recent surge in coronavirus cases, and the ensuing lockdowns, is pushing consumers to buy savory snacks and condiments and pushing companies to speed up development of new products, especially for at-home consumption. By focusing on ingredient and formulation innovations via the APC Microbiome partnership, Kraft-Heinz can better align with strengthening demand for “clean” and “safe” products “that will resonate with consumers during these trying times.”

Nature's Path Introduces Two Grain-Free High-Protein Hot Cereals

The Richmond, B.C.-based organic breakfast and snack food company’s nutty, protein-rich hot cereals blend plant-based watermelon seed protein with nutrient-dense, healthy fats. Available in Maple Almond Crunch and Cinnamon Apple Crisp flavors, the cereals feature chia seeds and pumpkin seeds instead of grain, and are rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and ALA omega-3 fatty acids. The cereals are also vegan and paleo friendly, certified USDA organic, and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Bubba's Fine Foods To Unveil Nut Mixes For Carb-Conscious Snackers

The Loveland, Colo.-based maker of grain-free snacks has created a line of Keto Nut Mixes in six flavors for paleo diet fans, Debuting in January, the new flavors will be available on Amazon in three savory and three sweet varieties, each delivering 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of net carbs. The savory Keto Nut Mixes are made with seasoned walnuts, pecans, and healthy seeds, and sold in 1.2-ounce packs in flavors such as Pepperoni Pizza, Traditional Recipe, and Sour Cream & Chive. The sweet nut mixes, also sold in 1.2-ounce packs, are made with nuts and seeds in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Maple Cinnamon Praline, and Thai Sweet Chili flavors. The snacks are low-glycemic, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and free of refined sugars, and artificial flavorings. Besides Amazon, the snacks will be sold at Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, The Fresh Market, King Soopers, and other retailers.

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November 29, 2020, to December 13, 2020

Snack Start-Up Let There Be Hemp Focuses On Hempseed-Based Snacks

The N.Y.-based company’s grain- and gluten-free chips feature whole hemp seeds as the main ingredient and contain six grams of protein and three grams of fiber per serving. Let There Be Hemp, whose products have debuted at East Coast stores and will be available online in 2021, is also planning to introduce hempseed pretzels and crackers, as well as a fermented sauce that would serve as a replacement for soy sauce.

After The Pandemic, Consumers Will Get Back To Eating Healthier Snacks

Snack company leaders believe that as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, consumers who are “eating worse” at the moment, as Los Angeles-based PeaTos CEO Nick Desai says, will once again turn to better-for-you snacks. Eugene Kang, CEO of California-based Country Archer Provisions, says there has been “a deceleration around better-for-you” snacks during the pandemic, mainly because of the stress in people’s lives. But eventually shoppers will get back to their regular dietary trends, including “keto, Whole 30, high-protein, low-sugar intake,” as well as more outdoor activities. The end of the pandemic may prove to be a special boon for snack company start-ups and businesses introducing new products. They hope consumers will once again sample treats that are something other than tried-and-true.

Company Sees Increased Use Of Fruits, Vegetables In BFY Snacks

Four out of five consumers globally say they plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic, according to Austrian fruit ingredient processor Agrana Fruit, a trend that bodes well for makers of fruit- and vegetable-based snacks. They are gaining in popularity because they offer a balance between an indulgent treat to escape the routine and a healthy functional product that delivers an energy boost and fiber for gut health. Agrana Fruit foresees increased usage of both exotic and local superfruits – i.e., blueberries and yuzu – in the making of healthy snacks, and has also detected greater interest in botanicals and adaptogens.

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November 15, 2020, to November 29, 2020

Japanese Snack Maker’s New Product Marketed As Sleep Aid

As part of a long-term strategic plan to develop foods derived from natural compounds, Tokyo-based Calbee announced an edible sleep aid product, dubbed Nyumin. The orange-scented, dissolvable strip contains crocetin, a chemical compound, derived from crocus and gardenia flowers that was shown to improve sleep quality and lessen fatigue in clinical trials. The sleep-aid product was developed over two years by researchers who survey people of all ages to pinpoint gaps in the market for new dietary products. The team specifically designed Nyumin in the form of a dissolvable strip that can be ingested directly before sleeping. No water or chewing is necessary to activate the strip. The company began taking pre-orders for Nyumin on the Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake on November 12 with plans to ship the first boxes in late December. One standard box of Nyumin contains a week’s supply of seven strips and retails for 1,080 yen ($10.32).

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban Invests In Plant-Based Protein Snack Start-Up

The Shark Tank panelist and billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team negotiated an investment of $300,000 in exchange for a 25 percent stake in the new venture of food scientist Juan Salinas, who created P-nuff Crunch, a healthy peanut-based puff that is combined with navy beans and rice. P-nuff Crunch, expected to finish the year with $200,000 in sales, will use the investment cash to boost marketing and distribution. In related Shark Tank news, businesswoman and investor Barbara Corcoran agreed to invest $150,000 in GoOats, a healthy oatmeal ball snack, in exchange for 20 percent equity. Made in a convenient heat and eat format, GoOats are warmed in the oven or microwave for just a few minutes to create a quick meal or snack. Each box contains three oatmeal balls which contain only 170 calories. GoOats is available at Whole Foods Market.

Canadian Bakery Bridor Launches Snacks For “Flexitarian” Diets

The Boucherville, Quebec, company has launched a range of vegetarian snacking products that cater to a “plant-based snacking market forecast to experience steady growth,” led by a rise in “flexitarianism.” The Mini Snacks range includes: Mini Pesto Swirl (30g; 225 units per box), Mini Pizza Swirl (35g; 225 units per box), Mini Cheese Swirl (35g; 225 units per box), Mini Cheese Extravagant (35g; 180 units per box), and Mix Mini Snacks (225 units per box). Bridor said the range can be enjoyed by consumers hot or cold and either “on-the-go, for breakfast, during meetings, for brunch, or out-of-home.”

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November 01, 2020, to November 15, 2020

Hershey Links Licensing With Its Marketing And Business Strategies

The Pennsylvania candy and snacks giant is hoping to broaden its customer base by forging partnership and licensing deals in unexpected ways. Perhaps the most striking example of this strategy is its affiliation with brewery D.G. Yuengling & Son to create a limited-edition chocolate porter available in 22 states. The hope is that the mashup will attract younger consumers who like craft beers – and chocolate. Over the past several months, Hershey has also debuted pudding and whipped topping products with Kraft; Hershey's and Reese's cookie mashups with Mondelez International's Chips Ahoy brand; and an expanded line of candy-inspired Jolly Rancher and Hershey's Kisses cereals with General Mills. A Hershey licensing exec says "there are many more categories that we belong in, but we don't have direct access." The idea is to remind shoppers of Hershey brands “when they are shopping outside of our core competency.”

Numerous Health Benefits Claimed For Lotus Seed Snacks

Though consumers globally are trying to eat a more nutritious diet, they still have cravings for delicious snacks. But it’s definitely better if those snacks are also healthful. With that in mind several snack makers are offering versions of an East Asian seed/nut known as makhana, also known as fox nuts or lotus seeds, that deliver an array of nutrition benefits. Brands on the market include Phool Makhana (7 ounces, $12.00), Rani Phool Makhana (3.5 ounces, $12.99), Taali Himalayan Pink Salt Water Lily Pops (4-pack, 2.3 oz multi-serve bags, $18.99), and Taali Variety Pack Water Lily Pops (10-pack, 0.8 oz bags, $18.99). Health benefits and claims include: low-calorie, immunity booster, vegan, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, etc.

Highlander Partners Adds Miller Baking To Benestar Stable

The Dallas, Texas-based portfolio company says its Benestar Brands unit has acquired Miller Baking Company, the Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturer of Pretzilla soft pretzel bites and buns. Once a multi-product bakery, Miller unveiled the Pretzilla brand in 2010 and has since transitioned to a pretzel bread snack business offering a variety of soft pretzel products, including Burger Buns, Mini Buns, Sausage Buns, and Bites, distributed nationally to more than 10,000 stores. All of its products are non-GMO, allergen-friendly, vegan, and kosher. The company has invested significantly in R&D and operations, spurring innovation in the category in terms of both product introductions and product attributes. Benestar Brands operates as a holding company for a diverse range of snack products.

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October 25, 2020, to November 01, 2020

Velocity Snack Brands Extends Popchips Snack Line

The Los Angeles-based company, created by private equity firm VMG Partners as an incubating platform after it acquired Popchips last year, has launched additional varieties, including two grain-free popped chips made with cassava – sea salt and cajun honey – as well as an air-popped corn chip product. They will be available at more than 2,100 U.S. Kroger stores. Additional flavors will launch in other major retailers, including Albertsons’ Safeway, in the near future. According to VMG, Popchips has achieved 89 percent brand awareness with its distribution in nearly every domestic retailer. Popchips products are not fried, have clean taste profiles with simple ingredients, and are gluten-free and non-GMO. VMG plans to launch the new products with an integrated, data-driven digital and in-store marketing campaign, in addition to a new website for Popchips in the coming weeks. The company is doubling down on efforts to help brands increase their e-commerce revenues because of decreased foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores.

Mavericks Snacks Introduces Brand Targeting Preadolescents

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company  is debuting a snack brand for pre-teens at Target stores after a successful introduction at Whole Foods Market locations in April 2020. Created by Green Park Brands, a holding company started by Livio Bisterzo, Mavericks markets two peanut-free, school-safe products that meet USDA Smart Snacks requirements. Crackerz contains eight grams of whole grains per serving; Cookiez has “40 percent less sugar than the leading natural competitor and 60-75 percent less than iconic conventional brands.” The brand is also available on Amazon. The target demographic is the “older sub-segment of 8-11-year olds” within a broader target demo, 4–11-year olds (middle childhood years). The biggest marketing challenge is reaching young children and raising product awareness without in-store sampling and fewer parents shopping with kids. But the company says it saw a “crescendo in unit velocities” at Whole Foods using a “back to school” promotion and velocities have so far continued.

British Business Accelerator Picks Seven Healthy Snack Brands Targeting Obesity

The Good Food Fund, a London-based business accelerator, has picked seven snack start-ups it believes can help tackle the U.K.’s childhood obesity problem. The £1.8 million ($2.3 million) venture fund that backs healthier food and drinks brand was launched in March by the U.K. food and drink accelerator Mission Venture. Selected start-ups get intensive support, including help establishing new manufacturing partners, advice on reduction of costs and RSP, retailer partnerships, and increased distribution, among other aids. The seven brands are: Insane Grain (puffed snacks made with sorghum); JimJams (chocolate spreads made with 83 percent less sugar); Lexi’s Treats (low-calorie snacks made from puffed rice and marshmallows); Naturelly (jelly pots with inulin fiber from chicory root); Nombots (wholegrain lentil puffs for kids); Rootles (light and crispy biscuit covered in Belgian chocolate and made with carrot and sweet potato); and Snackzilla (fiber-rich, low-sugar oat cookies). 

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October 18, 2020, to October 25, 2020

CCBA Suspends Acquisitions In Kenya

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has decided to emphasize integration of businesses it has acquired recently so will not make new acquisitions in the local market in the near term. The company is said to be aligning Nairobi Bottlers and Almasi Beverages’ operations to those of the parent company’s systems and policies following its acquisition from Centum Investment Company a year ago. Through its subsidiary, Coca-Cola Sabco East Africa Limited, CCBA acquired 53.9 percent and 27.6 percent of the stake held by Centum at Almasi and Nairobi Bottlers respectively at a value of $200 million. The company says sales and revenue slid by 50 percent for carbonated soft drinks, juice, energy drinks and fuze tea bags because of the pandemic. Government-imposed lockdowns led to disruptions in production, supply chains, and reduced demand for the products.

Vegan Cereal From U.K.’s GO Superfoods Wins Taste Award

The Great Taste Awards, sponsored by the Guild of Fine Food, has recognized a vegan cereal made by the British firm, which trades as Green Origins and Rainforest Foods. The company’s Bambeanies Super Crispies is a baked vegan cereal made with beans, rice, coconut flour and baobab, sweetened with coconut blossom nectar and apple juice. The cereal has 11 percent less sugar than Rice Krispies, the company says, as well as 285 percent more fiber, 85 percent more protein, and 98 percent less salt. Also recognized was the organic 70 percent Dark Chocolate Drops with turmeric and maca made by GO Superfoods for allergen free brand, Before Chocolate.

Whisps Snacks Extends Line Of Baked, “Real Cheese” Snack Crisps

The new Hot & Spicy flavor of baked cheese crisps from the New York-based company features 100 percent cheddar cheese exclusively made for Whisps. The Hot & Spicy variant, which “provides a cleaner, more delicious version of a flaming hot & spicy chip,” the company said, is available exclusively at Target and Target.com (MSRP $3.99). 

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October 11, 2020, to October 18, 2020

Good To Go Launches Savory Nut & Seed Bites

Available across Canada this fall in four flavors, the Toronto-based company’s organic, keto-friendly Savory Bites contain an assortment of nuts and “super seeds,” including sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and chia. Available in Zesty Pecan, Almond & Sea Salt, Herb & Garlic, and Everything flavors, the Bites contain no added sugar, 130-140 calories, 11-12 grams of plant-based fat, and 3-4 grams of net carbs per 25-gram serving. SRP is $6.49 CAD ($4.95).

Love Good Fats Raises Nearly $11M In Funding Round

The Canadian maker of low-sugar, keto-certified, non-GMO snacks made with fats from nut butters and coconut oil has secured a $10.7 million investment led by InvestEco Capital Corp. and Export Development Canada to “help accelerate the company's already rapid growth in North America.” The three-year-old firm sees its products as alternatives to the traditional high sugar, high simple carbohydrate snacks. The product line includes dark chocolate-coated and plant-based Truffle bars, White Chocolate Trufflebars, Chewy-Nuttybars, and shakes. Keto-friendly products have 4-5 grams of net carbs and are gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, contain no artificial preservatives or sugar alcohols. They are available at Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Kroger, CVS Pharmacy, and Costco.

Lori's Potato Chips Finds Winning Recipe For THC-Spiked Snacks

It wasn’t long after recreational cannabis was legalized in Washington State in 2012 that consumers began to look for alternatives to smoking pot. They turned to THC-infused edibles, a trend that proved to be a shot-in-the-arm for companies selling sugar-based items like gummies and hard candy. Seattle-based Craft Elixirs, which began by making pot-infused syrups, introduced a potato chip line in 2018, but it didn’t catch on. A reformulation and re-introduction finally got the brand – Lori’s Potato Chips – on track. The new lineup includes Roasted Garlic Chips fried in THC-infused olive oil and a Sweet Potato Chip seasoned with cinnamon, brown sugar, and sea salt. All are vegan, kosher, and made with organic potatoes. One of the benefits of the chips is that they offer THC newbies the option of micro-dosing. A single $7 bag contains 10 milligrams of THC, with roughly 15 chips per bag. Needless to say, demand for all Craft Elixirs products has increased since the pandemic hit.

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October 04, 2020, to October 11, 2020

Chulitos LLC Says Its Low-Cal Tortilla Chips Are Healthy, Sustainable

To achieve that result, the Laredo, Texas-based snack company replaces some of the traditional corn used to make tortilla chips with cactus and bakes it without oil. The technique results in a chip with half the calories (75 total), triple the fiber (six grams), and a lot of micronutrients and antioxidants. The key ingredient is cactus, the company says, “an ancient Aztec superfood” that is said to boost immunity, improve gut health, and reduce inflammation. Chulitos, sold in recycled packaging and made with water-saving ingredients, are available on Amazon and will soon be in the snack aisle of specialty grocery stores.

A Teen’s Search For Natural Nut Butters Results In A Lucrative Business

A 15-year-old with a fondness for peanut butter who wanted to do something about her weight problem started looking closely at ingredient labels. The “ton of artificial ingredients” were a turn-off, so she began experimenting in her family’s kitchen with cashews, coconut, honey, almond, dates and pecans to create her own all-natural nut butters. From the kitchen to farmer's markets, to grocery store shelves, and eventually online, Abby Kircher’s business – Abby’s Better Nut Butter – has grown tenfold in the past five years, moving its operations into a manufacturing facility in 2018 and cultivating a huge online following with more than $400,000 in ecommerce sales since the beginning of the year. In addition to its 11 nut butters, the North Carolina-based company has launched a line of grab-and-go Nut Butter Snack Bites that come in four flavors. 

Gutzy Keep Moving’s Lineup Of Gut-Healthy Snacks Flourishes In COVID-19 Era

The New York, N.Y.-based maker of the Gutzy organic brand of gut-healthy fruit, vegetable, and botanical snacks says its products are now available on refrigerated shelves at Meijer and Ingles retail stores, as well as online at Amazon. The accelerated distribution growth is a result of COVID-era consumer trends, especially the surge in shopping activity that reflects consumers proactively managing their own health. Each pouch of Gutzy snacks has five to six grams of prebiotics. The trend has helped the company expand its distribution to the produce and grab-and-go refrigerated snack sections of about 650 stores and has driven its DTC ecommerce business. The company now offers several DTC flavor options in 32-pouch packs. 
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