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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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September 27, 2020, to October 04, 2020

Wellness Natural Acquires SimplyProtein Snack Brand

The Toronto, Ont.-based natural foods start-up announced it has acquired the nutritional snack brand previously owned by Simply Good Foods USA, Inc. A former employee of Simply Good Foods, Wellness Natural CEO Michael Lines, said he plans to expand distribution of SimplyProtein in Canada and the U.S. The line of plant-based snacks contains a limited number of high quality, clean ingredients, including 11-15 grams of protein and 0-3 grams of sugar, and is gluten-free and Non-GMO Project Verified. 

Breakfast Cereals U.K. Unveils Five-Point Plan Promoting Cereals

The trade organization representing the British breakfast cereals industry, whose members include Kellogg’s and Weetabix, has launched a “roadmap manifesto ‘Wake Up to Breakfast Cereal – A five-point plan’.” Noting that 90 percent of the U.K. population does not eat the government’s recommended amount of daily fiber – about 30 grams – the group says breakfast cereals are a “strategically important food” that accounts for significant quantities of fiber and micronutrient consumption. BCUK members also include Cereal Partners Worldwide U.K. (Nestlé Breakfast Cereals), Jordans Dorset Ryvita, and Mornflake.

Pretzels Offer A Good Balance Between Indulgence And Better-For-You, IRI Says

Analysts at IRI advise pretzel bakers that shoppers looking for a balance between indulgent and better-for-you snacks, especially during the pandemic, can find that balance in pretzels, for several reasons. Pretzel snacks often feature savory and higher-protein doughs that fit well in several trending diets, including low-sugar, high-protein, and plant-based diets. As bakers struggle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, they can implement several tactics to drive growth for the category and their own sales. Highlighting health and wellbeing claims on snack packaging is a good place to start. They can also share at-home consumption ideas with consumers that will engage and excite them with options for versatile shelf stable and frozen pretzels. Lastly, bakers should adapt prices and sizes “to ensure a good mix, price and value in conjunction with private label across channels to maximize foot and click traffic as well as sales,” said IRI analyst Sally Lyons Wyatt.

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September 20, 2020, to September 27, 2020

BFY Snack Formulators Have A Natural Ally In Almonds

Health-conscious consumers increasingly opt for snacks that offer nutritional benefits, full transparency, and are “free from” ingredients perceived to be either useless or harmful. So, snack developers are innovating with a focus on natural, familiar ingredients that also offer nutritional benefits; One of these is almonds, which deliver essential nutrients that may be hard to come by in a total plant-based diet, including protein and calcium. In addition, most consumers think of snacks as an indulgence, so mouthfeel and flavor are important. A crunchy ingredient like almonds complements products with softer textures, and roasted almonds pair well with sea salt or high cacao chocolate to add a more premium product positioning. Market data show that almonds continue to be the leading nut used in global new product introductions, with particularly strong growth in the bakery, snack, and confectionery categories.

Global Diversified Marketing To Add Gourmet Plant-Based Snacks To Portfolio

As soon as it knows what it wants to market, the Island Park, N.Y., food and snack maker will introduce plant-based gourmet snack foods to its product lines in 2021 to meet demands of health- and environment-conscious consumers. The company says it is working out plans with co-packers and other marketing associates to “decide on the best possible specific product choices.” Immediate emphasis will be on gourmet cookies and snacking, two of the company’s bestselling lines. The company's established sales division will handle marketing with the help of partner store sites, and ecommerce channels, including Amazon.com. CEO Paul Adler said he and staff “have been aggressively investigating the best options to add to our product lines so that we can give our valued customers the choices they want most.”

Coca-Cola Has Its Eye On Post-Pandemic Resurgence

CEO James Quincey told investors at a Barclays conference recently that his company is determined to emerge from the pandemic with more customers and a more engaged, slimmed down organization. Coke restructuring during the pandemic crisis involved streamlining its portfolio and its global organization. The changes, which include easing its customer supply chain through reduced SKU management, offer a “golden opportunity” for the No. 13 consumer goods company to accelerate the focus on portfolio winners that attract and keep customers globally.

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September 13, 2020, to September 20, 2020

Scottish Snack Company Partners With Farmers To Put “Wonky” Cauliflower To Good Use

As recently as seven years ago, 40 percent of fruit and vegetable waste in the U.K. comprised ugly or “wonky” produce. But consumers, farmers, food makers, and retailers all seem to agree now that ugly vegetables are just as nutritious as the pretty ones, and their use will help reduce waste and make farming greener and more sustainable. An example is a Scottish snack company that has added a cauliflower chip (crisp) to its better-for-you snack line, which includes toasted coconut chips and roasted pulses. Nudie Snacks (Fife) produces the snacks in partnership with Growers Garden, a venture of the East of Scotland Growers collective of 16 farms. The crisps are made from 40 percent fresh, if wonky, cauliflower and come in cheese and caramelized onion and katsu curry flavors. They are low in sugar and roughly 40 percent lower in saturated fat than standard potato crisps.

Amplify Snack Brands Revives Super-Hot Paqui Tortilla Chip Challenge

The Hershey Company brand announced the return of its Paqui #OneChipChallenge, encouraging fans of spicy snack chips to try “the new, sweat-inducing recipe of the world's hottest chip,” an all-black, individually-packaged tortilla chip formulated with the Carolina Reaper Pepper, Scorpion Pepper, and Sichuan Peppercorn. Each chip comes with a warning that participants taking the challenge should either wear gloves or wash their hands with soap immediately after handling the chip and keep out of reach of children. The challenge, priced at $6.99, is available at participating retail stores nationwide and online at Paqui.com beginning Sept. 22. Fans are encouraged to share their challenge experience by tagging @paquichips on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok along with #OneChipChallenge. The Hershey Company acquired Amplify Snack Brands, Inc., in 2018. Brands include SkinnyPop, Paqui, Oatmega, and Pirate's Booty.

General Mills’ New Keto-Friendly Dairy Snacks, Crunchy Bars, Debut This Month

The :ratio brand, marking the food company's first keto-focused product, features yogurt-cultured dairy snacks and crunchy bars that deliver protein, “rich flavor, texture, and convenience.” The company says the :ratio snacks are meant to satisfy consumer demands for lower-sugar (one gram), lower-carb (two grams) treats. :ratio dairy snacks are available in five “fruit-forward” flavors: strawberry, coconut, vanilla, mango and black cherry. The crunchy bars, available in lemon almond and toasted almond, contain almonds and pumpkin seeds. The :ratio dairy snacks and crunchy bars are available at select retail locations across the U.S. or online, for a suggested retail price of $1.49 per cup of dairy snacks and $7.99 per four-count box of crunchy bars.

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September 06, 2020, to September 13, 2020

Nestlé To Invest Millions In Transition From Use Of Virgin Plastics

The company plans to invest $30 million in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, a private equity fund of Closed Loop Partners, to help support the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics across the U.S. The goal is to upgrade U.S. recycling infrastructure and secure access to food-grade recycled plastics. It is the first investment from Nestlé’s sustainable packaging venture fund, which was established earlier this year as part of its CHF 2 billion ($2.2 billion) sustainability commitment. The company plans to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, and reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third. Closed Loop will use the money to finance acquisitions of companies advancing circular economies in the U.S.

Nature's Path Unveils Superfood Granolas, Oatmeal Cups

The Canadian cereal and snack maker’s new line includes two granolas and two RTD oatmeal cups containing several functional ingredients. The “superfood” line includes Golden Turmeric Superfood Granola, a “cookie-like” granola with clusters made from gluten free oats and cashews, as well as turmeric (anti-inflammatory) and avocado oil; and Smoothie Bowl Superfood Granola strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and super greens spirulina, barley grass, wheatgrass, broccoli, chlorella, kale, and spinach. 

Piccolo Extends Kids’ Snack Range

The U.K. organic baby food company has debuted two high-fiber snacks for toddlers (12 months and older), Oaty Bars and Mighty Melts. Vegan and gluiten-free Oaty Bars, made with multigrains and prebiotic fiber inulin from agave, contain no sugar. Mighty Melts are made with yogurt, which give “a soft melting effect on little palates” with a “natural, fruity yogurt taste.” Mighty Melts will be available at Sainsbury’s beginning September 13;  Oaty Bars will debut in a new retailer for the brand beginning September 28. 

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August 30, 2020, to September 06, 2020

Coca-Cola’s Reorganization Elevates Three Executives

Three key leadership appointments were announced in the wake of the company’s recent reorganization into an entity that is highly networked, less hierarchical, and built for future growth. Henrique Braun of the Brazil business unit was named president of the new Latin America Operating Unit; Nikos Koumettis, president of the Europe, Middle East & Africa group, was named president of Europe Operating Unit; and Nancy Quan, who oversees the company’s technical and supply chain community, will lead the combined innovation and technical function, following the February 2021 retirement of chief innovation officer Robert Long.

Nestlé Appoints New CEO Of Central And West Africa Business

The company appointed Mauricio Alarcon, a twenty-year Nestlé veteran with an “in-depth understanding” of Central and West Africa. Alarcon joined Nestlé Mexico in 1999 and has held various roles within the global business since then. He became the managing director of Nestlé Nigeria, the largest Nestlé operation in the region, in 2016. Before that he served as managing director of Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire, and also headed Nestlé’s operations in Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Mauritania, and Cape Verde. Alarcon succeeds Rémy Ejel.

Justin’s Enters Refrigerated Plant-Based Protein Bar Market

The Boulder, Colo.-based nut butter and nut butter bar company has expended its snack portfolio with three varieties of refrigerated Almond Butter Protein Bars. Made with ten grams of plant-based protein, the bars are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and have 40 percent less sugar than other refrigerated bars. The three varieties – almond butter, honey almond butter, and dark chocolate chip almond butter – will be available this month at Whole Foods Market and Target stores nationwide.

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August 23, 2020, to August 30, 2020

Nakd Debuts Vegan Chocolate Cereal Bars

The London-based snack maker’s Drizzled Chocolish bars are made from natural ingredients and contain no added sugar. Available in peanut chocolish, double chocolish, and raspberry chocolish flavors, the coatings have half the sugar, four times the fiber and twice the cocoa. They are available at major retailers in four-packs at an RRP of £3 ($3.94). 

Goodfish Introduces Snack Made With Fried Alaskan Salmon Skins

The Los Angeles-based start-up has created a fully traceable and sustainable flash-fried crisp salmon skin snack. The salmon are sourced from Bristol Bay, the easternmost arm of the Bering Sea in Southwest Alaska, in partnership with Trident Seafoods. The area has been in the headlines recently because of the threat to salmon fishery posed by the planned Pebble mine, an open-pit copper/gold/molybdenum mine. The Goodfish “brain, skin and body snack” is packaged in four flavors: sea salt, chili lime, spicy BBQ, and tart cranberry. Guilbert said the chips are just the first of a full line of snacks Goodfish plans to develop, including possibly nuggets with pieces of fruits and nuts, cracklins', and jerky. A former Whole Foods Market global grocery coordinator has joined the company to assist in setting up the supply chain and operations.

Love Your Health Foods Launches Soynut Snacks

Targeting the vend, micro-market, convenience store, and drug and specialty store channels, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based processor of non-GMO whole, dry roasted soynuts has introduced four varieties of shelf stable, 1.75-ounce soy protein snacks. The lineup includes the Up Your Game Protein Snack Mix, Nature’s Select SoyFul Mix, and Nature’s Select Sea Salted & Honey Toasted Soynuts. According to the company, plant-based food sales are growing five times faster than total food sales, and are making their way into 53 percent of U.S. households. 

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August 16, 2020, to August 23, 2020

PeaTos Tweaks The Nose Of A Snack Cheetah With “Hey Chester” Ad Campaign

Describing itself as a “young snack food upstart” and a “ground-breaking snack brand,” PeaTos is mounting a marketing challenge to snack behemoth Frito-Lay and its official Cheetos mascot Chester. The company is positioning its pea-based snack as a more healthful alternative to Cheetos and FunYuns that is just as tasty and crunchy. PeaTos says it has replaced the “old school base of corn and artificial ingredients” with peas and other clean ingredients that delivers two times the protein and three times the fiber per serving. The Los Angeles-based company‘s "Hey Chester" campaign features “intentionally provocative” billboards and “blunt” digital ads that proclaim PeaTos’ belief that it has outdone Frito Lay with a snack option “the market has been craving.” The secret to its success – PeaTos is now available at more than 4,700 retailers in the U.S. – is “the pulse-based heat and extrusion process,” the company notes. 

U.K.’s Erbology Snack Brand Says “Personalization” Is The Key To Its Future

The London-based start-up believes that a better understanding of customer preferences leads to the creation of better snacks. Erbology focuses on plant-based ingredients in its line of snacks and beverages, which include bergamot shots and sea buckthorn juice. Its powders are made with milk thistle and Jerusalem artichoke. The plant-based snack lineup includes crackers, energy balls, and tigernut granola. But the company is trying something new: a personalization strategy that crafts snacks that are more likely to deliver on the health benefits customers seek. The tailored offering, dubbed Erbology Personalized, begins with a customer survey, the answers to which determine the right ingredients and flavors, as well as ingredient intolerances and dietary requirements. This all results in creation of a cracker made from organic plant-based ingredients that is gluten free and made without processed sugar. The company produces its personalized snacks range in Central Europe, close to its suppliers, and ships them directly via a D2C model to consumers.

Belgium’s Lotus Bakeries Invests In British Corn Snack Company

Belgian biscuit company Lotus Bakeries’ corporate venture fund FF2032 has invested in London, U.K.-based Love Brands, taking a minority stake in the maker of a crunchy corn snack under the Love Corn brand. The company plans to use the cash injection to beef up marketing and hire staff. The money will also be used to grow working capital. Love Brands corn snacks are gluten-free, non-GMO, and available in four flavors. A major emphasis this year and in 2021 will be expansion of distribution and growth in the U.S. and the U.K. The Lotus FF2032 venture fund invests in food and drinks businesses offering “innovative products, technologies or market approaches,” with a specific focus on the healthy snacking category.

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August 09, 2020, to August 16, 2020

Nature’s Bakery Introduces “Recess Edition” Of Snacks For At-Home Families

The Pasadena, Calif.-based fig bar and soft-baked snacks maker’s Snack Sized Adventures: Recess Edition kits, designed to support back-to-school families during the pandemic, are available free to parents who apply online. The free limited-edition kits contain supplies, activities, and snacks to “encourage much-needed at-home recess breaks whether kids are hybrid or distance learning this fall.” The company says the recess kits offer parents a chance to “put their own spin” on recess that children don't have to miss out on because they're not at school. Eligible participants can enter for a chance to win one Recess Edition box online until September 30, 2020. The kits contain a variety of Nature's Bakery snack bars and materials, such as chalk, cones, bean bags, and more, “to create a world of imagination and play whenever the recess bell (figuratively) rings.” 

Roberts Bakery Enters British BFY Snacks Category

The Cheshire, U.K.-based bakery is launching what it calls a “breakfast inspired” fiber-rich range of snacks this September. The Porridge Loaf is made with oats and will be available in apple, raisin and cinnamon, and cranberry and coconut flavors. The Pangel, a high-protein pancake-bagel fusion, comes in raspberry & chia and chocolate & coffee flavors. The 250-calorie Brookie, combining a soft brioche bun with a swirl of cookie, will be available in chocolate orange, and apple and cinnamon flavors, individually wrapped in compostable packaging. The range will be available beginning September 7 for an RRSP of £1.25 ($1.63) per item, in convenience stores, and from doorstep milk delivery services.  

New Popcorn Brands Focus On Healthful Ingredients

As nutritionists have pointed out for years, fiber-rich popcorn is a healthful snack but lacks what health-conscious snackers want: protein. So, smaller brands of BFY pre-air popped popcorn snacks have been emerging lately that use non-GMO corn fortified with pea protein, spirulina, or nutritional yeast. Pop Zero ($3.99) adds pea protein, a complete vegan protein with all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own. Other BFY popcorn snack makers include: Azzizah’s Herbal Green Popcorn ($14.77) with protein-rich spirulina (algae); Three Dads Popcorn ($3.99) with nutritional yeast (“nooch”; Sakara’s Sweet, Salty, and Cheezy Popcorn Trio ($45) with coconut sugar and nutritional yeast; Project Pop ($22 for a 2-pack) with coconut oil; and Pop Zero with algae oil plus vitamin A, vitamin B-12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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August 02, 2020, to August 09, 2020

Snacks In The Time Of Coronavirus: Indulgence Yes, But BFY Is Not Forgotten

Consumers may have turned to buying large volumes of comfort snacks – salty snacks, candy, cookies, and crackers – to relax a little from the pandemic, snack at home, and not have to shop at the grocery store as often. “They have been moving big volumes," one expert said. “All of the top snack products were doing extremely well." But that doesn’t mean they have abandoned better-for-you snacking, according to industry watchers. In fact, the focus on health and wellness, coupled with a desire to explore new flavors and ingredients in snacks, continue to drive snack innovation. Retailers who provide advanced flavor profiles that are better-for-you than traditional snacking options will end up winners in the market, DiNunzio said.

Wasa Survey Reveals Insights Into Parental Snacking Behaviors

A survey by the Swedish crispbread maker reveals that half of U.S. parents are snacking more today than they were during the first few weeks of pandemic quarantine. Other survey findings about today’s snacking habits: three of four parents snack in the afternoon; nine of 10 parents prioritize their kids' snacking needs over their own; eight of 10 parents sometimes hide or disguise snacks to keep their kids from eating them; half of parents snack in front of the TV or on the couch or at the fridge (55 percent); nearly two-thirds grab leftovers from another meal, eat a store-bought snack (65 percent). or eat whatever is about to go bad in the fridge (58 percent); and moms are most likely to grab a snack because of boredom (50 percent), while dads snack because of hunger (39 percent). Wasa (Wasabröd, Stockholm, Sweden) became part of the Barilla Group in 1999.

Nestlé’s Pandemic Response Is To “Rethink” The Out-Of-Home Business, Not “Right-Size” It

Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider told investors recently that the company has no plans to “right-size” its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is definitely “rethinking” categories like coffee and water and will adapt wherever possible in the out-of-home business. That means less hotel and restaurant business “for a while going forward,” Schneider said. But he noted that many more consumers have ordered in from restaurants and dark kitchens during the crisis, so “there's almost like a blurring of the lines between what is in-home consumption and what is out-of-home consumption.” Nestlé’s out-of-home sales declined by as much as 60 percent in the first half of the year as offices, restaurants, and hotels closed. The company’s year-to-date profit increased 18 percent to 5.9 billion Swiss francs ($6.5 billion); earnings per share increased 22 percent to 2.06 Swiss francs ($2.29). 

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July 26, 2020, to August 02, 2020

Nature Valley Launches Sustained Energy Granola Bar “Packed”

The new General Mills snack product contains “hard-working, energy-boosting” ingredients, the company says, including nut butter, nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or peanuts), and cranberries or blueberries. The sustained energy snack bar contains no artificial flavors or colors and no high fructose corn syrup. It is available in Peanut Butter & Cranberry and Almond Butter & Blueberry varieties at most retail locations in the U.S. or online for a suggested retail price of $4.49 per four-count box. 

Songwriter/Grammy Winner Invests In Female-Founded Snack Company

The Seattle-based snack marketer launched by a mother-daughter duo announced that Colombian singer-songwriter and Grammy winner Shakira has invested in the company through her nonprofit education-focused Barefoot Foundation. "I was hooked on SkinnyDipped almonds and chocolate (two of my favorite things, but with less sugar!) from the moment I tried them,” Shakira said. SkinnyDipped's gluten-free and non-GMO products, containing no artificial colors or flavors, include a line of almond snacks in four flavors, and a new non-almond line, SkinnyDipped Cashews, available in two flavors. The products are sold on Amazon.com and at natural and conventional grocers in the U.S., including Kroger, Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, Wegman's, and HEB. 

By Changing Corn’s Amino Acid Profile, Plant Scientist Makes Popcorn More Healthful

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln plant breeder who believes popcorn can and should be healthful has come up with a way to imbue corn with a more complete amino acid profile. The original goal was to improve the levels of lysine and tryptophan in the corn kernel through traditional breeding. Once that was accomplished, popcorn was the next logical target. Corn is high in protein, but it is not the complete protein needed by the human body. Some amino acids, especially lysine, are deficient. By changing the protein profile, David Holding says, corn becomes a more complete protein source, and popcorn could become “a unique food snack that's compatible with the healthy eating movement." The new varieties may also offer some interesting flavor possibilities. The only downside? "A slight reduction" in the popping volume, he says.
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