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Period: January 17, 2021 to January 31, 2021
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

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. 

"Snacklins: A Fun Lesson In Rebranding During Good Times (Just Ask Mark Cuban Or Rachel Ray...)", Forbes Media, January 19, 2021

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.

"Campbell to close Georgia snacks plant and lay off 326 people", FoodBev.com, January 18, 2021

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.

"Sweets and snacks innovation bolstered by sustainability storytelling, says Innova Market Insights", FoodIngredientsFirst.com, January 18, 2021

Ladera Foods Expands Granola Product Line With Protein Bites Snack

The San Mateo County, Calif.-based granola company has added Protein Bites to its portfolio. Described as a “salty snack with a crunch,” the product offers functional benefits from its “super foods” ingredients, which include buckwheat and chia seeds. Each serving contains 12 grams of plant-based protein. The product is sold at Bianchini’s in Ladera and at other local markets.

"Ladera Foods gives its granola a refresh while launching new products", InMenlo , January 12, 2021

New Promotion From Special K Canada Features Twist On “Ditch Resolutions” Day

Kellogg’s Canadian brand (Mississauga, Ont.) is putting a new twist on January 17, known as "Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day," when Canadians fall back into old habits. Special K’s "Prove It Day" promotion is designed to encourage Canadians to reach their New Year’s goals. It turns a Special K box into a prize generator: consumers visit a website to scan a cereal barcode offering a chance to win motivational prizes, including exercise bikes, fitness trackers, water bottles, yoga mats, and a year's supply of Special K, among others. The celebrity face of the promotion is Kaitlyn Bristowe, ABC's Dancing with the Stars 2020 winner, former Bachelorette, and podcaster. 

"Kellogg's* Special K* Launches "Prove It Day" with Kaitlyn Bristowe to Help Inspire Canadians", Canada NewsWire, January 12, 2021

Kellogg Unveils Version Of Raisin Bran With Oats

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based breakfast foods company’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats and Honey is made with the traditional bran flakes and raisins plus whole-grain toasted oats and honey. Available now at U.S. retailers, the new oats and honey version has a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a 15.6-ounce box and $3.99 for a 22.1-ounce box. 

"Expanding The Bran With New Kellogg's Raisin Bran Toasted Oats And Honey", PR Newswire, January 12, 2021

Nuttee Bean’s Fava Bean Snack For Kids Debuts On HSN

The maker of non-allergenic foods (Miami, Fla.) announced that its Favalicious fava bean snack has debuted on the Home Shopping Network. The product is a roasted high-protein keto-friendly fava bean snack designed as an “allergy friendly alternative to nuts” that can be easily added to kids’ lunch boxes. The company says Favalicious also serves as a gluten-free crouton substitute on salads, and in soups and tacos. Available in 2-oz bags, a serving of Favalicious has fewer than six grams net carbs, 14 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, no added sugars and low sodium.

"Start a Favalicious 2021 with some crunchy Fava Bean Snacks debuting on HSN in January", openPR, January 11, 2021

Investor ICA Buys Into Insect Snack Maker Don Bugito

The Bay Area business accelerator has closed a $200K investment in the fast-growing San Francisco food business Don Bugito, maker of insect-based snacks inspired by pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine. Founded by Monica Martinez, the company champions the use of "bugitos" like crickets and mealworms, combined with traditional spices found in Native American and Mexican cuisine. The company’s product line includes Chile Lime Crickets, Spicy Bugitos, Granola Bites powered with insect protein powder, and even baking flour made of insects. ICA's investment is part of the San Francisco Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF), a collaborative investment fund that partners with local Community Development Financial Institutions to deploy capital to underinvested Latinx- and Black-owned businesses.

"ICA invests $200,000 to Accelerate Insect Snack Maker", PR Newswire, January 07, 2021

Bel Brands Launches Babybel Functional Cheese Snacks

The Chicago-based dairy foods company has introduced a new range of functional dairy snacks in two varieties, Babybel Plus+ Probiotic and Babybel Plus+ Vitamins, both in the familiar red wax packaging. Babybel Plus+ Probiotic contains billions of live and active cultures of the LGG probiotics strain. Babybel Plus+ Vitamins provides vitamins A and B12, which are known to support eye health and metabolism, respectively. Available in six-count packages, Babybel Plus+ Probiotic and Babybel Plus+ Vitamins will be sold at retailers nationwide starting February 2021 for a suggested retail price of $4.49.

"Babybel Launches the First Range of Functional Snacks in the Category, Babybel Plus+", PR Newswire, January 06, 2021

Food Ingredients Company Forecasts Big Role For Chickpeas In The New Year

The U.K.’s EHL Ingredients says 2020 was a year of considerable growth for the chickpea. And, thanks to its versatility and nutritional value, the chickpea is likely to be even more popular in 2021. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus and falafel, so they are already popular among vegans and vegetarians. But they are also being widely consumed dried, puffed or roasted as a snack, or coated in flavor. The company says it is also starting to see high-protein chickpea-based versions of classic foods such as pasta, rice and ice cream hitting store shelves.

"2021 Top Food Trends from EHL Ingredients", About Manchester, January 05, 2021

Popcorn Subscription Provider Wins Best-In-Class Award

TopConsumerReviews.com (Overland Park, Kan.) recently awarded its best-in-class five-star rating to Amazing Clubs, a provider of online Popcorn Club subscriptions. The monthly subscription boxes are delivered to the home or office, both in traditional versions like caramel corn and cheddar and in some novel ones not often found in stores. Subscriptions range from monthly to quarterly to annual. The  Popcorn Club comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.  Amazing Clubs offers more than three dozen clubs ranging from bacon to wine. 

"Popcorn Club Savors a Best-in-Class Award from Top Consumer Reviews", PR Web, December 30, 2020

Seven Sundays Unveils Grain Free Sunflower Cereal

The Minneapolis-based food company has launched Grain Free Sunflower Cereal in three flavors: Real Cinnamon, Real Cocoa, and Real Berry, made with sustainable sunflower protein derived from a by-product of the sunflower oil pressing process. Seven Sundays upcycles the protein and fiber rich by-product into a quality food-grade flour.  Originally sold at a local farmers market, Seven Sundays’ products are now available in more than 5,000 grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Kroger, Safeway, and select Costco club stores. 

"Seven Sundays Launches Grain Free Sunflower Cereal", Nosh.com, December 30, 2020

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Utz To Acquire Chicago-based Snack Food Brand Vitner’s

The Hanover, Pa., maker of branded salty snacks plans to acquire specific assets related to Snak King Corp.'s Vitner's, a brand of snack foods serving the Chicago metropolitan market, for $25 million. Assets include Vitner's trademark and direct-store-delivery distribution assets related to Vitner's branded products. Vitner's approximately 55 DSD routes will provide Utz a strengthened foothold in Chicago and the Midwest from which to further grow the presence of its Power Brands, which include Utz, On The Border, Zapp's, Golden Flake, Good Health, Boulder Canyon, Hawaiian Brand and Tortiyahs! Vitner’s products include potato chips, cheese snacks, corn snacks, and popcorn. The acquisition would make Utz the number four provider of salty snacks in the Chicago market, and the fourth largest salty snack market in the U.S. 

"Utz Brands to acquire Vitner's brand for $25M", Vending Times, January 11, 2021

McCormick & Company Acquires Flavorings Company

The Baltimore, Md.-based food and spice company has acquired flavor maker Fona International for $710 million. Founded more than three decades ago, Fona posted around $114 million in annual sales last year and is expected to grow at a mid-to-high-single-digit rate under McCormick's umbrella. The company makes clean and natural flavors for use in bakery, cereal, dairy, desserts, chocolate, and other product lines. McCormick says it will finance the transaction through cash and commercial paper. 

"McCormick Announces Second Major Acquisition Of 2020: What Investors Need To Know", Benzinga, December 30, 2020

Finance, Economics, Tax  

Outstanding Foods Raises $10M In Series A Round

The Los Angeles-based maker of plant-based PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds and TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs says the new financing will be used to expand both its retail footprint as well as its direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing efforts, while bolstering its research and development team. Outstanding Foods plans rapid retailer expansion both nationally and globally in support of both products. "We've experienced explosive growth in 2020 in both our DTC and retailer channels," said CEO Bill Glaser. Outstanding Foods products are sold in Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods Markets nationwide, and in Southwest 7-11 locations.

"Outstanding Foods Closes $10M Series A Financing Round", PR Newswire, January 08, 2021

Innovation & New Ideas  

Lil Bucks Hopes To Raise Big Bucks To Keep Snack Business Growing

The Chicago-based granola alternative startup has launched a crowdfunding initiative to supplement money raised from founder Emily Griffith’s friends and family. The company sells bagged sprouted buckwheat crunch and adaptogenic buckwheat clusters that are gluten-free, non-GMO and have five grams of fiber per serving. The products come in several flavors, like matcha and cacao, and are designed to be incorporated into breakfasts and snacks. Griffith has raised $265,000 from friends and family to fund Lil Bucks, and recently launched a Republic crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $14,000 of a $25,000 goal. Griffith also said she plans to raise traditional venture capital funding in the future. "We're trying to take a path that gets us to $1 million in revenue in the fastest and most efficient way possible," Griffith said. Lil Bucks products are available online and at more than 160 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Foxtrot, and Erewhon.

"Food startup Lil Bucks is making granola alternatives from 'superfood' buckwheat", Chicago Business Journal (Chicago, IL), January 05, 2021

Earnest Eats Launches Avocado-Based Snack Line

The Solana Beach, Calif.-based snack and breakfast food company has launched a line of Snacking Avocados, a light and crispy clean-ingredient snack made with slices of real avocado that are freeze-dried and seasoned with sea salt and spices. Available in Sea Salt, Sea Salt Lime, and Roasted Chipotle flavors, the snacks are vegan, keto, gluten-free, non-GMO, high-fiber, and sugar free. Each bag contains one 160-170 calorie serving, featuring 15 grams of healthy fats, two grams of net carbs, seven grams of fiber, and no added sugar or preservatives. The snacks are available at certain stores in California and online for $3.49 per unit (.6 oz) or $27.99 per eight-count multi-pack. 

"Earnest Eats Puts the Keto in Clean Snacking with New Snacking Avocado Line", Business Wire, January 05, 2021

Mindful Snacker Launches With New Cooking Technology

The British company says it will announce a ground-breaking new cooking process next month that makes a potato crisp with significantly lower fat and salt-content. According to the female entrepreneurial team behind the company, the product will offer the convenience sector, independent grocery stores and delis, health/wellness outlets, and coffee chains “a portfolio solution for the health-conscious consumer.” Backed by London-based venture specialist Pilot Lite, the start-up has enough financial security to plan on larger-scale in-store marketing and POS support for retailers to ramp up sales. Other better-for-you product launches are planned for 2021 across a range of categories.  

"Mindful Snacker launches in the U.K.", Food Business News, January 05, 2021

Market News  

Acquisition Target Holy Crap Brands Has a Solid Financial Year

The breakfast cereal company, which is in the M&A crosshairs of Toronto-based Plant & Co. Ltd., posted a 129 percent increase in cereal bags sold and a 166 percent increase in revenue generated in 2020 over 2019. Plant &Co. linked the improvements to the hiring of Donna Reddy as president in 2019. Total online sales of Holy Crap's breakfast cereals were up almost 60 percent for the second and third quarter 2020 compared to the same time period year prior. In the second half, there was a 95 percent increase in first time buyers online. Plant & Co. says it is moving into the final stages of the acquisition of Vancouver-based Holy Crap. 

"Plant&Co. Reports on Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal Record Sales", Newsfile Corp., January 14, 2021

Mondelez International Finalizes Acquisition Of Healthy Snacks Company Hu

The Chicago-based snacks company has acquired the remaining interest in Hu Master Holdings, an Albany, N.Y. healthy snack and paleo chocolate maker. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Mondelez said the deal comes after a 2019 minority investment granted it a right of first offer to acquire the company. Hu markets vegan and paleo-friendly chocolate bars and grain-free crackers and has become, according to Mondelez, "one of the fastest-growing confectionery brands" sold in the natural retail channel in the U.S. The company, which has just started building the distribution of its products into more mainstream outlets, now stands a solid chance of carving out a foothold in the competitive U.S. grocery market with the help of Mondelez.

"Mondelez's M&A strategists continue health kick", just-food global news, January 05, 2021

Marketing & Advertising  

Sabra Sponsors “Create Your Own Play” Campaign For Super Bowl Snacking

The New York-based hummus maker has hired celebrity chef Charity Morgan to create a limited-edition snack kit for the “Big Game,” one of the biggest dipping occasions of the year for American pro football fans. Each kit includes a full size 17-ounce tub of Sabra hummus, Cholula Original Hot Sauce (2 oz.), Triscuit Original Crackers (8.5 oz.), McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning (1.87 oz.) and Organic Harissa Seasoning (1.87 oz.), and collectable chickpea sun and football-shaped spice stencils. Sabra hummus is made with chickpeas grown in the Pacific Northwest on family-owned farms and produced in Virginia.

"Vegan Celebrity Chef Charity Morgan Teams With Sabra® For Limited Edition 'Create Your Own Play' Snack Kits For The Big Game", PR Newswire, January 14, 2021

Weetabix Launches Brand Building Ad Campaign

The top U.K. breakfast cereal company’s £2 million ($2.7 million) campaign will run across TV, video on demand, and online and social media platforms through January and February. Retailer-specific activity includes online advertising via Criteo and “Pay Per Click” investment to make sure health-conscious consumers are aware of the nutritional benefits of Weetabix. At least 30 percent of Weetabix sales are now made online. To support the above-the-line ad campaign, instore and online retail will highlight Weetabix Original and Oatibix nutrition, including 100 percent whole grain, fiber content, and added vitamins and minerals.

"Weetabix to rally nation for a better 2021 in major new campaign", Retail Times, January 04, 2021


ProAmpac To Provide Recyclable Packaging To Ocean Spray Snack Mix

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based maker of flexible and recyclable food packaging says it will provide a premium high-barrier recyclable package for Ocean Spray's Craveology Tuscan Herb snack mix. The package uses ProActive Recyclable R-1000 film, part of the company's ProActive Sustainability product offerings. R-1000 film is recyclable in flexible polyethylene film streams and qualifies for store drop-off in North America. It is available with a registered matte or gloss finish, or with ProAmpac's Signature Surfaces Paper Touch tactile enhancement. Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the U.S., Canada, and Chile. ProAmpac is a portfolio company of Pritzker Private Capital. 

"ProAmpac and Ocean Spray Announce Premium Recyclable Snack Packaging", Business Wire, January 07, 2021

Products & Brands  

Craize Uses South American Recipe To Create Vegan Snack

The crunchy, wafer-thin roasted corn crackers are made from a traditional South American recipe for arepa – a maize-based pancake – and come in six varieties: plantain, seeded, everything, sweet corn, coconut, and guava. Because of their large size the crackers, which are also gluten-free, are “an ideal platform for toppings.” Available in packs of six 4-ounce bags at $20, the snacks are sold at gocraize.com and at amazon.com.

"Craize crackers give tortilla chips some competition", Boston Globe , January 19, 2021

Kashi Introduces Keto-Friendly Low-Sugar Cereals

The Solana Beach, Calif.-based subsidiary of Kellogg’s has launched Kashi GO Keto-Friendly Cereal, made with 12 grams of plant-based protein, one gram of sugar, and lentil and chickpea flour and available in cinnamon vanilla and dark cocoa flavors. All Kashi products are Non-GMO Project Verified. The cereals are sold at $4.99 per box at Target, Kroger, Shoprite, Sprouts Farmers Markets, and Amazon.  

"New Kashi GO Keto-Friendly Cereal Goes Low On Sugar & High On Flavor", PR Newswire, January 13, 2021

Jus Chill International Finds Success With Breadfruit-Based Snack

The Denver, Colo.-based company, founded by a Jamaican entrepreneur, debuted its Breadfruit Chips last March. Distribution has spread from the U.S. East Coast and Florida to Texas, California, Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. The company sources the breadfruit from Hanover parish and other rural parishes in Jamaica and is now shipping 500 bags a month. Founder Javion Blake expects demand to grow in the second quarter of 2021 as Jus Chill International expands its line, adding as many as three new products by the summer. A package of Breadfruit Chips costs $9.99 (three bags).

"Jamaican Entrepreneur Launches Breadfruit Chips Snack from Denver", South Florida Caribbean News, January 13, 2021

Entrepreneurial Couple Launches “Paleoh’s” Cereal

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Lundes have introduced their paleo-friendly cereal online with a subscription-based marketing model. The cereal is “nutrient dense,” containing almond flour, maple syrup as the main sweetener, coconut oil, eggs, and arrowroot starch. The couple’s goal is to eventually provide pop-ups in the Ann Arbor area and sell their products in coffee shops and restaurants.

"Ann Arbor couple launches ‘Paleoh’s,’ a paleo-friendly cereal", Mlive.com, January 13, 2021

Nestlé, Cereal Partners Unveil New Organic Version Of Cheerios

The Cheerios variant, Organic Honey and Chocolate Cheerios, is available now in the U.K.’s Waitrose supermarket chain and will debut in Sainsbury's stores in May. Nestlé's certified organic honey hoops, sere made from five organically-farmed whole grains, and chocolate cereal pieces. Ingredients are sourced from farmers following organic farming practices. Cereal Partners U.K. is the British operation of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW, Switzerland), a global breakfast cereal company that makes Nestlé cereals, including Nesquik, Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, and Shreddies. It was established in 1990 as a partnership between Nestlé and General Mills. 

"Nestlé and Cereal Partners launch new organic Cheerios line", FoodManufacture.co.uk, January 11, 2021

Casey's General Stores Adds100+ Low-Price Snacks, Drinks To Private Brand

The Ankeny, Iowa-based company’s array of new products includes snack categories such as chips, jerky, and nuts. The new center-store focus includes packaged snack cakes, snack foods, and packaged beverages, carbonated drinks, juices, teas, and lemonade. The new products reflect Casey's updated branding, which debuted in October 2020, as well as a refreshed merchandising strategy. Casey's General Stores is the fourth-largest convenience store retailer and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States.

"Casey's Launches More Than 100 New Private-Brand Snacks & Drinks", Convenience Store News, January 11, 2021


New Snacks Expected In 2021

Among the “new and exciting” snacks expected to launch this year are an array of frozen treats, animal product-alternatives, better-for-you spins on popular comfort foods, baked goods with refined ingredient lists, dairy-free dressings, crunchy, salty snacks, and more. Look for: Pop Bitties Chips (Stacy’s Snacks, PepsiCo) in one-ounce bags with bag of pop bitties chips in four flavors; Forager Project Strawberry Organic Gluten-Free Cereal (gluten-free, low in sugar, vegan friendly); and Siete Foods' Churro Strips (cassava flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean powder), $33 for 6 bags at Siete Foods.

"14 New Items Hitting Grocery Store Shelves in 2021", Eat This, Not That!, January 17, 2021

Plant-Based Foods Will See Continued Growth In The U.K. In 2021

Among the challenges and opportunities facing British food manufacturers in 2021 – Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, the environment, robotic automation – there is the continued surge of plant-based foods, according to industry observers. A report by consultancy Deloitte, for example, says U.K. consumers account for nearly 40 percent of the European meat substitute market, a phenomenon that has spurred innovation among brand owners within the food and beverage market. The pandemic lockdowns also played a role, accelerating adoption of a part-time approach to veganism. Meat-free and plant-based foods are set to continue their popularity during 2021: look for vegan versions of sausage rolls, pastries, pies, croissants, flapjacks, nutrition bars, seeded and nut snacks, biscuits and cookies, cakes, brownies, quiches, pies, crackers, and bread.

"Food industry trends for 2021", FoodManufacture.co.uk, January 04, 2021

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