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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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April 25, 2021, to May 09, 2021

Sweets Company Unveils Snack Variety With 70 Percent Less Sugar

The Lexington, N.C.-based handcrafted sweets company has launched Thinful, a snack mix with only two grams of sugar and 60 calories per half-cup serving. A proprietary blend of natural sweetener allows Thinful to taste sweet, without an aftertaste, with 70 percent less sugar than comparable brands. Thinful snacks include popcorn, caramel corn, salty twist and waffle pretzels in Chocolatey Drizzle, Peanut Butter, Sea Salt Caramel, Snickerdoodle, and Birthday Cake flavors. Thinful will be available at Albertsons (select stores), Busch's Fresh Food Market, Central Market, Hannaford, Jewel-Osco, New Leaf Community Markets, New Seasons Market, Town & Country, and Walmart (select stores) with an MSRP of $4.99, and in three-packs online.

Real Good Food To Divest Snack Subsidiary

The U.K.-based food company Real Good Food (RGF) will sell Brighter Foods, a producer of organic snack bars that are supplied to the global confectionery, wellness and breakfast food industries, to ecommerce company The Hut Group (THG) in a deal worth $59.6 million. Upon completion of the deal, Brighter Foods will become part of THG's Nutrition division and join a brand portfolio that includes Myprotein, Myvegan, Myvitamins, and Exante. THG said that the acquisition of Brighter Foods will allow the company to make use of knowledge and resources for formulating and producing high-quality, healthier snack bars. 

No Nasties Project Launches Low-Sugar Cereals With Help From Disney Characters

The Australian start-up’s low-sugar cereal range is sold in packaging featuring licensed Disney characters Elsa and Anna from Frozen and Spider Man and Incredible Hulk from Marvel. The cereal has 50 percent less sugar and contains no artificial colors, preservatives. The company will donate $50,000 to youth nutrition organizations when it reaches its goal of reducing 500 tons of sugar intake nationally every year. Australian data show that one in four Aussie kids aged from five to 14 are overweight (17 percent) or obese (7.7 percent).

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April 18, 2021, to April 25, 2021

Bruized Turns Imperfect Produce Into Snacks, Other Food Items

The Canadian start-up’s dual mission is to reduce food waste while producing healthy snacks and other food items. Monique Chan, who witnessed food waste while working in restaurants and at farmers markets, launched Bruized to inform people about food waste and sell food items made from upcycled, imperfect produce. The top seller is a dehydrated granola made from carrot, beet, and pear juice pulp sourced at a juice bar. The pulp would be thrown away, but it’s still rife with fiber and other nutrients. The “pulp crunch” is sweetened with ripe bananas sourced from a local shop when they start to get spotty. Dehydrated “second grade” apples from a local farm round out the flavors.

New Version Of Nestlé Cereal Contains Fewer Ingredients

The new incarnation of Shreddies breakfast cereal – called The Simple One – has only four ingredients, all of whose nutritional credentials are green under the U.K.’s traffic light system. The ingredients are whole grain wheat, fruit purée, date syrup, and “a pinch” of salt. The simple contents make the cereal non-HFSS, so it will not be affected by the government’s coming crackdown on unhealthy food promotions and advertising. The cereal is available at Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.

New Bagged Snack Brands Offer Alternatives To Good Old Potato Chips

According to a U.K. snack category report, the new so-called “disruptor” snack brands "are exploiting profound shifts in consumer attitudes and behavior,” such as growing consumer interest in healthier, more ethical, product ingredients and, more broadly, in snacks that are different from the generic branded items like potato chips. New offerings and their unique selling proposition (USP) include: Peter's Yard's Sourdough Bites (60 percent less fat); Small Giants Crackers (protein-rich cricket flour); Real Handful (baked nuts); Mister Free’d Barbecue Smoky Flavor Chips (gluten-free, vegan, fiber-rich); Honest Bean Co. Roasted Fava Bean Snack (eco-friendly alternative); and Unilever brands’ (Graze and Marmite) new Marmite Crunch (roasted corn, broad beans, corn hoops). 

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April 11, 2021, to April 18, 2021

Increasingly, Acquisition Targets In Snack Industry Are Focused On BFY, Plant-Based

Private equity firms and strategic buyers are getting very picky about who they consider prime targets for a snack or food industry deal. Along with animal-free supply chains and low-carbon packaging, nutritious ingredients matter to health- and eco-conscious snack shoppers, so they matter to dealmakers. Whether a granola bar contains milk-derived whey or pea protein could mean the difference between an average multiple and one with "flex," says one investment banker. A significant example is Swedish beverage company Oatly’s oat milk product. It avoids the carbon emissions of factory farming, and it’s vegan – “the holy duo in a market growing secularly toward health and social consciousness.” The company’s IPO is reportedly heading toward a $5 billion valuation less than a year after a July funding round pegged it nearer $2 billion – an "extraordinary" level, said a partner at Blue Point Capital.

Blue Diamond Growers Unveils Fiery Xtremes Almond Line

Capitalizing on the growing trends of spicy and healthy snacks, the Sacramento, Calif.-based almond growers cooperative has introduced three peppery versions of its snack almonds. The Xtremes line includes Cayenne Pepper (hot), Ghost Pepper (hotter) and Carolina Reaper (hottest) flavors, all made with real pepper. Each serving of the “Super Spicy Superfood” contains six grams of plant protein, plus vitamin E and magnesium. Xtremes Almonds are available at select retailers and will be available online and in major retailers beginning in June.

Simply Good Foods Company Partners With Walmart For “Fight Hunger” Campaign

The Denver, Colo.-based marketer of branded nutritional foods and snacking products has partnered with Walmart and Feeding America for the Fight Hunger, Spark Change campaign that launched early this month. Walmart’s 4,700 stores have partnered with one of 200 local Feeding America member food banks to help secure a meal for people facing hunger in the community. For each purchase of a participating Simply Good Foods product (Atkins meal bars, snack bars, and confectionery treats, and Quest protein bars, cookies, chips) at Walmart through May 3, the company will donate a dime to Feeding America. The guaranteed minimum donation is $50,000 and the maximum donation is $110,500. Nine Atkins and Quest products are participating in the campaign.

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April 04, 2021, to April 11, 2021

Consumers Are Okay With Pricier Healthy Foods

Despite complaints from organizations like the Ford Foundation that nutritious food is more expensive than junk food, consumers are finding enough incentives to include pricier healthy snacks in their diets. COVID concerns were one such incentive last year. At a recent U.K. nutrition conference, a Mars Edge exec said consumers are increasingly exploring new products in the health and wellness space. The U.K. marketing chief for KIND said consumers are linking healthier choices with higher prices. “Obviously,” John McManus said, “I’d like 15 million other consumers to make that choice as well. But we are seeing a rise in that and it’s a clear link that they are making.”  And anyway, Jean-Christophe Flatin noted, prices that now hover above conventional snacking products will be moving more into the mainstream. 

Women’s Health Mag Lists 15 Cereals Approved For Vegans

Vegans need to be careful when shopping for breakfast cereals because animal-based ingredients like milk proteins and sweeteners like honey can easily sneak into favorites, A nutritionist warns, for example, that white sugar might also be a no-no because the refining process may use bone char, a non-vegan animal product. And cereals can be fortified with nutrients like vitamin D3 that may be derived from the sheep-based product lanolin. That said, here are a few of the 15 breakfast cereals approved for vegans: Fiber One Original Bran, Bob's Red Mill Muesli Cereal, Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola, Three Wishes Grain-Free, Plant-Based Honey Cereal, One Degree Cereal Ancient Maize Flakes, Kashi GO Peanut Butter Crunch, McCann's Irish Traditional Steel Cut Oatmeal, and Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal.

Honest Bean Co. Launches Fava Bean Snacks

The U.K. start-up’s new range of fava bean snacks – Chilli & Lemon, Lightly Salted, Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, and BBQ – are made with British fava beans, targeted at "health-conscious consumers,” and positioned as eco-friendly alternatives to foreign-grown chick peas and hummus. Priced at $4.82 for a 300-gram package, Roasted Fava Bean snacks are made from locally-grown fava beans rich in fiber, protein, and nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

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March 28, 2021, to April 04, 2021

Mondelēz Buys Majority Stake In Sports Nutrition Firm Grenade

The Chicago-based snacks company’s investment in the U.K. sports-nutrition business is a step further into the healthier foods segment, but it may prove “problematic.” “Mondelēz is continuing to try to tap into the increased desire among a growing number of consumers to buy better-for-you products,” writes Just-Food editor Andy Coyne, “a trend underway before COVID-19 but which has been exacerbated by a renewed interest in health and wellness linked to the virus.” Mondelēz reportedly paid about $277 million for Grenade, which markets better-for-you snacks, including high-protein, low-sugar bars, shakes, and drinks targeting the physically active. Mondelēz suggests the purchase of a "significant majority interest" in Grenade "enables expansion in broader snacking and fast-growing well-being segments." But some analysts suggest the investment may prove difficult for Mondelēz. Said one observer: "The Grenade branding is likely problematic for [Mondelēz] rather than complementary, especially if they want to build big in the U.S.”

Freakin’ Healthy Snacks Expands To U.S., Has Sights On Europe

The U.A.E.-based healthy snacks brand Freakin’ Healthy, launched three years ago, is implementing an international marketing strategy with ecommerce testing in the U.S. and has its sights set on the U.K., Germany, and other global markets. The company sells a range of clean label, free-from, and vegan raw chocolate bars, protein balls, and superfood bars in supermarkets and hypermarkets in the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. It plans to release new fruit and nut bars this month. It is testing seven SKUs in U.S., including its protein balls and nut butter bites. The company says the flavor of its protein balls matches the taste profiles enjoyed by Americans, including peanut butter, almond, and coconut. The company is also interested in expanding to China, Singapore, and Qatar.

Pretzels, Inc., Expands Lineup With Nut Butter-Filled Pretzels

The Bluffton, Ind.-based maker of pretzels and other snack products has expanded its product portfolio with almond butter filled pretzels under the Harvest Road brand. Available at select Walmart stores, the new product will also be available as premium private label offerings from numerous retailers. Filled pretzels have been growing in popularity over the last several years: volume was up 17.5 percent in 2020. According to Pretzels, almond butter volume is growing 18.6 percent compared to the total nut butter category growth of 8.5 percent in 2020.

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March 21, 2021, to March 28, 2021

Snack Makers Cater To Consumer Demands For New Flavors, Nutrition Density

Snack manufacturers have been happy to meet the demands of consumers and grocery retailers looking for “alternative” better-for-you snacks in a variety of new flavors. Plant-based snacks, for example, while still a small segment of snack sales, are a significant source of growth in the category, in fact outpacing traditional snacks. According to a Hartman Group report on shopper trends in the era of COVID-19, 44 percent of consumers say they are eating healthier during the pandemic. And nearly half of all meal occasions are snacking occasions. PopCorners, which markets that brand as well as gluten-free air-popped soybean and cassava-based crisps, believes that the better-for-you snack category is here to stay and is only increasing in demand. PepsiCo, which acquired PopCorners as well as Bare Snacks, maker of baked fruit and veggie chips, recently revealed a joint venture with El Segundo, Calif.-based meat-substitute manufacturer Beyond Meat Inc., a move that could lead to even more action in the segment.

Fraternal Entrepreneurs Launch Popcorn Company With A Charitable Twist

Former fast-food franchisees Rudi and Aaron Sinykin wanted to escape the restrictive corporate environment and get involved in a fun concept with a charity component. The result was the launch of Tempe, Ariz.-based Kettle Heroes Artisan Popcorn, a company that makes small batch, artisan popcorn, kettle corn, and caramel corn in eight flavors with 100 percent all-natural, Non-GMO Project-verified, certified gluten-free, nut-free, and kosher-certified ingredients. The prickly pear kettle corn, for example, uses real prickly pear ground into a fine powder; real chiles give the Hatch green chile cheddar popcorn an authentic flavor. The company's charity side, meanwhile, is a key ingredient in its surging popularity. Since 2013, Kettle Heroes has donated more than $30,000 to various causes, nonprofits, and organizations. The global ready-to-eat popcorn market is expected to reach $6.22 billion by 2026.

Mondelēz Venture Unit Joins Group Dedicated To The “Upcycled Economy”

SnackFutures, the Mondelēz International, Inc. innovation and venture hub has joined the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing food waste by growing the upcycled economy. SnackFutures, created in 2018 with a focus on well-being snacks, the unit has made planet-first innovation a pillar of its portfolio strategy. The first two brands launched by SnackFutures were CaPao, which upcycles parts of the cacao fruit into plant-based snacks, and Dirt Kitchen Snacks, made from produce that would normally become on-farm waste due to surplus, ripeness, or bruising. The UFA, which has established a standard definition of upcycled foods, also created the Upcycled Certification Program, which allows brands and businesses to apply for a third-party certification of ingredients and products. It will launch later this year.

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March 07, 2021, to March 21, 2021

U.K.’s “Action On Salt” Calls For Honest Labeling Of “Healthy” Snacks

A group of British scientists focusing on preventive medicine and the unhealthy effects of sodium over-consumption has released new data showing that some seemingly “healthy” snacks are in fact saltier than the concentration of seawater and could be sabotaging consumers’ health. A survey of new products in the U.K. found, for example, that one 45-gram serving of either Love Corn Salt Vinegar – advertised as vegan, gluten-free, Non GMO Project Verified, and kosher – or Love Corn Habanero Chilli contains more salt than 3.5 bags of Walkers Ready Salted crisps. Action on Salt, housed at Queen Mary University (London), said more than half of “healthy” snacks are considered a high fat, salt and/or sugar (HFSS) food, but the majority do not display color-coded labeling on the front of packages. The group calls for restrictions on the use of misleading nutrition claims on foods deemed high in fat, salt and sugar, and urges the British government to appoint a successor to Public Health England to help bring down salt levels across all foods.

Mondelēz International Acquires Aussie Cracker Company

The Chicago-based confectionery and snack company has acquired Australian premium cracker manufacturer Gourmet Food Holdings, giving Mondelēz an entry into a whole new snacking market in the health and wellness space. Current Gourmet Food COO Oliver Flint will serve as the new managing director; CEO Todd Wilson will remain with the business as an advisor. Gourmet Food's brands, including OB finest, Olina's Bakehouse and Crispbic, are category leaders in the premium crackers and biscuits segments in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Included in the transaction is Gourmet Food's pre-packaged seafood business, including the Ocean Blue brand. There are no closing conditions and the transaction is expected to close in April.

PureK Holdings To Acquire Women’s BFY Snacks Brand

The Vancouver, B.C.-based food company focusing on CBD products and plant-based foods and beverages said it plans to acquire Tru Brands Inc., a health and wellness brand specializing in nutritious snacks for women, for $7.5 million. Founded in 2018 under the female-led parent company TruWomen, Tru Brands products are sold online and at U.S. retailers, including Target and Costco. The company’s dessert-inspired protein bars are made with plant-based ingredients such as cassava, cacao, and brown rice protein, and are certified vegan, gluten-free and kosher, as well as dairy- and soy-free, non-GMO verified, and free of sugar alcohols. PureK will acquire 100 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of Tru Brands.

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February 28, 2021, to March 07, 2021

Canada’s MadeGood Foods Introduces Gluten-free, Dairy-free Snack Crackers

The Toronto-based maker of allergy-friendly and nutrient-rich snacks has stepped into the savory segment with the introduction of Star Puffed Crackers containing nutrients from six fruits and vegetables. Available in Sea Salt, Cheddar, and Pizza flavors, the crackers are also gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, non-GMO. They contain nutrients from spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms. vitamin A, C, D, E, and B6, and thiamine. Star Puffed Crackers are rolling out across Loblaws locations in Canada.

Kellogg Debuts Smorz Jumbo Snax

The Michigan-based cereal company has expanded its line of Jumbo Snax based on cereal favorites with the addition of a Smorz version. A new promotional campaign invites customers to guess which cereal will get the Jumbo Snax treatment – dubbed “jumbo-fying” – while dropping a hint for fans to decode. In April, Kellogg will unveil the new mystery flavor, joining Smorz Jumbo Snax and the rest of the lineup: Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, and Frosted Flakes-inspired Tiger Paws. 

Tate & Lyle’s Online Platform Sheds Light On Ingredient Science

Snack producers can now access the London-based global ingredients company’s new online platform to discover the evidence-based science behind its ingredients. These include its low- and no- calorie sweeteners and dietary fibers, and their impact on gut health, blood glucose management, metabolism, gut microbiome, weight management, bone health, and overall health. On the site are expert insights, research and educational tools for food and beverage producers, as well as for scientists and health professionals.

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February 21, 2021, to February 28, 2021

New Clif Bar CEO Pursues Ambitious Transformation Plan

The new CEO of the Emeryville, Calif.-based snack company is leading a corporate transformation whose ambitious goal is to double its business to $2 billion and double its positive impact on the world. Key moves in Sally Grimes’ transformation plan include: implementing a new structure that will be faster at meeting the needs of consumers and appeal to a broader shopper base; adopting a balanced marketing mix to build brand awareness beyond the core customers of athletes and weekend warriors; bringing in new talent and adding jobs focused on advanced analytics, technology, agile innovation, design thinking, and revenue growth management; and eliminate approximately 125 positions across the company. Regarding innovation, recent new product introductions include Clif Thins made from organic rolled oats that come two to a pack and weigh in at only 100 calories with five grams of sugar; and the launch of a new of Pop’n Crunch clusters that contain nutrient dense ingredients such as seeds and nuts. 

Black-Owned Cereal Start-Up Faces Stiff Headwinds Getting Off The Ground

The mission of Nic King, founder of Connecticut-based Legacy Cereal Company, was to create a healthy breakfast cereal: plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, and tasty. He left his corporate retail job last spring, as the pandemic was gathering steam, and secretly developed the prototype for Proud Puffs, a chocolate-flavored breakfast cereal made with real cocoa and monk fruit as a sweetener. King has been trying to find investors, as well as production plants and kitchens where manufacturing can be scaled up. According to King, after directing contacts to his website, which clearly states it is a minority-owned business, “I started to notice the lack of returned phone calls, lack of email responses.” That was “the most disappointing part.” Also, he walked away from a six-figure investment opportunity when the investor told him the graphics on the cereal package were “a little too urban.” He remains undaunted. His crowdfunding campaign has kept him going since the official launch on February 1, and he’s selling product on the website. 

Second Nature Brands Launches New BFY Snacks Platform

The Michigan-based snack company says its new company platform is reimagining premium and better-for-you snacks and treats based on its family of brands that includes Kar's Nuts, Second Nature Snacks, and Sanders Chocolates. The company sees opportunities for expanding the new platform both through brand innovation, strategic investments, and acquisitions. The mission is to create snacks and treats that “make lives better, naturally.” In 2021, the company will bring to market more than 25 new better-for-you products from its Kar's Nuts, Second Nature Snacks, and Sanders Chocolates brands in partnership with retailers and through the brands' direct-to-consumer ecommerce channels. The new snacks and treats will include Second Nature Smart Mixes, Sanders Organic Dairy-free Sea Salt Caramels and Sanders Sea Salt Caramel Thins. Kar's Nuts will also introduce a Kar's Snack Max line.

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February 14, 2021, to February 21, 2021

Post Holdings Introduces High-Protein Cereals, Cereal-Based Snacks

The 126-year-old St. Louis, Mo.-based breakfast cereal company says its efforts to drive innovation have resulted in a higher protein cereal range as well as a line of snacks based on some of its iconic cereals, CEO Robert Vitale said during a recent analyst conference call. The company is “cautiously optimistic” about the successful limited-distribution launch of its new Premier Protein line that “delivers great-tasting cereal with high protein.” The new snack products include Cocoa Pebbles Crisps, Fruity Pebbles Crisps, Honeycomb Big Bites, and Chocolate Honeycomb Big Bites. The snacks feature the same flavors as the breakfast cereals but come in “larger, more portable and snackable forms.”

Gulf States Snack Start-Up Freakin’ Healthy Plans Expansion To Europe, North America

The plant-based snack company, launched in Dubai in 2018 by a Lebanese-Canadian entrepreneur, is now distributing 10 product lines to 250 vendors in Saudi Arabia. It plans to quadruple that number by the end of the year while also expanding to European cities, and eventually to the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the company hopes to increase to 20 products lines in Saudi Arabia, with the aim of reaching 30 by the end of the year. The snacks contain no wheat, dairy, refined cane sugar, gluten, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, or soy.

Seed-Based Snack Company Launches Rice Crispy Treats

Blake’s Seed Based of Chicago has launched a line of allergy-friendly rice crispy treats containing flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Flavors include strawberry and chocolate chip. The new products join a line of seed-based snack bars sold nationwide in more than 1,000 retail outlets in varieties such as raspberry, blueberry lemon, and s’mores. All of the brand’s products are free of the top eight allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, fish and shellfish, as well as sesame, and coconut. All of the products are available online.
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