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Period: February 21, 2021 to February 28, 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

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 ...  More

"Clif Bar adopts ambitious ‘transformation’ to expand portfolio, consumer-reach & sustainability", FoodNavigator-USA.com, February 23, 2021

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 ...  More

"Nic King Makes History by Creating 1st Black-Owned Cereal Brand", Inside Edition, February 21, 2021

Companies, Organizations  

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.

"Second Nature Brands Announces Launch, Bringing Premium Snacks and Treats Businesses Under New Corporate Platform to Fuel Innovation", PR Newswire, February 23, 2021

8Foods Launches Keto-Friendly Line Of Breads, Snacks, Desserts

The London-based producer of low-sugar, high-raw snacks and other foods has launched a new brand, Keto8, with three core ranges: Keto Sweet Treats, Keto Snacks, and Keto Breads & Bagels. According to 8Foods founder Alexi von Eldik, the launch will "bolster the availability of low-carb, low-sugar, truly healthy breads, snacks and desserts in the market, and also tap into the exploding demand for keto foods." The new line has debuted online and at Whole Foods Market, Selfridges, Fenwick, Planet Organic and Revital, with prices ranging from £2.80 ($3.96) for Cheesy Kale Crisps to £8.50 ($12.03) for a Keto Raw Caramel Slice. All 8Foods snacks, breads, and desserts – both Cru8 and Keto8 – are gluten-, grain-, dairy-, and refined-sugar free, low carb, low sugar and diabetic friendly.

"Cru8 taps into ketogenic diet trend with launch of Keto8 sub-brand", thegrocer.co.uk, February 22, 2021

White’s Oats Brand Expands In U.K. With Booths Country Contract

The Northern Ireland-based porridge and oats cereal brand will soon be available in premium supermarket chain Booths Country, thanks to a newly-secured contract. Booths Country, which operates 28 stores in Northwest England, joins the company’s other major stockists, including Asda, Aldi, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the U.K. The six products now available in Booths supermarkets include Organic Jumbo 750g; Organic Oat Flakes 750g; Toasted Oats Strawberry & Banana 500g; Toasted Oats Apple & Cinnamon 500g; Toatly Oaty Original and Toatly Oaty Apple & Cinnamon.

"Armagh’s White’s Oats secures contract to grow their GB market share", News Letter UK, February 19, 2021

Hormel Foods Corp. Buys Planters For $3.35B

The Austin, Minn. food company’s acquisition of the snacking nuts firm is the largest in its 130-year history. Chicago-based Kraft Heinz’s decision to sell represents is a further attempt to shore up a struggling balance sheet. It took a nearly $17 billion write-down in the value of its brands in 2019. The Planters nuts business will bolster Hormel’s portfolio of branded high-margin products, which already includes Skippy peanut butter, Dinty Moore soup, and Justin's nut butters. But Planters snacking nuts products straddle the line between a pure commodity and a value-added product. Commodities tend to be more vulnerable to generic or store-brand competitors.

"Hormel makes its biggest deal ever, buying Planters for $3.3 billion", The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, February 14, 2021

Hain Celestial Is Shopping For Brands With “Mainstream Potential”

The New York company (Lake Success) is looking to acquire brands that align with its priorities – “mainstream potential” – as it divests those that are no longer a strategic fit. CEO Mark Schiller told analysts recently that the company is interested in brands in the immune-boosting and stress-reduction spaces. Other categories include at-home cooking, at-home snacking, plant-based diets, and hygiene. Schiller calls these ”Get Bigger” categories because of their potential for strong volume growth momentum and accelerating market share gains.

"Hain Celestial open to acquisitions in plant-based, immunity-boosting, stress-reducing & snack categories", FoodNavigator-USA.com, February 11, 2021

Mondelēz Innovation Hub Forms Start-Up Program For “Well-Being” Snacks

SnackFutures, Mondelēz International’s innovation and venture hub, has formed a start-up engagement program designed to drive mutual growth between entrepreneurs and the Mondelēz ecosystem. The CoLab program is looking for early-stage, snack brands with a “well-being” positioning. The 12-week program, customized for each participant’s business challenges and growth priorities, will accept up to ten start-ups, each of which will receive a $20,000 grant. Candidates must be based in the U.S., be generating at least $500,000 in revenue, have high growth potential, align with the Mondelēz innovation priorities, and can benefit from working with Mondelēz and its partners. 

"Mondelēz’s SnackFutures to incubate ten well-being snack start-ups with CoLab", Food Ingredient First, February 10, 2021

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Grupo Bimbo Buys Minority Stake In Allergy-Friendly Snack Maker

Bimbo Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Mexican baked goods company, has become a minority investor in six-year-old Rule Breaker Snacks, a Brooklyn, N.Y. maker of vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly treats. Rule Breaker, a brand of Have Your Cake Kitchen LLC, features chickpeas as the first ingredient in its fiber- and protein-rich brownies and blondies. The undisclosed investment amount marks the first external funding for Rule Breaker Snacks. According to Food Dive, the acquisition of a minority stake in Rule Breaker gives the 78-year-old company a bigger presence in allergy-friendly foods. Rule Breaker, whose products are sold online and at more than 2,500 retail locations in the U.S., now has access to Grupo Bimbo’s 33-country distribution network.

"Bimbo invests in vegan snacks producer Rule Breaker", Food Dive, February 12, 2021

Innovation & New Ideas  

Epogee’s Alternative Fat Technology Enables Lower-Calorie BFY Snacks

The Indianapolis-based maker of fat replacement compounds says its alternative fat technology, EPG (esterified propoxylated glycerol) is helping manufacturers produce better-for-you snacks with “dramatically fewer calories.” According to the company, EPG can replace up to 85 percent of the digestible fat in a formulation, allowing formulators to reduce labeled calories, total fat grams, and saturated fat grams by 92 percent for each unit of fat replaced. One snack maker that has applied the new technology is OWN Your Hunger (New York, N.Y.), a keto, vegan, low carb start-up that says it has launched the world’s first line of peanut butter and hazelnut spreads with nearly half the calories.

"Alternative fat technology cuts calories of full-fat snacks in half", BakeryAndSnacks.com, February 16, 2021

Nature Valley’s New Wrapper Designated As “Store Drop-Off Recyclable”

General Mills’ Minneapolis-based granola product brand has introduced an unpatented plastic film wrapper designated as Store Drop-Off recyclable by How2Recycle, a program for recycling plastic bags, wraps, and films that can't be recycled via curbside recycling bins. The newly packaged Crunchy granola bars will arrive on store shelves this spring, bringing the company closer to its goal of 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025. According to the company, more than 90 percent of Americans – about 295 million people – live within 10 miles of a Store Drop-Off recycling location. Nature Valley did not patent the wrapper technology, so other food brands are welcome to use it. 

"Nature Valley Launches First-Ever Store Drop-Off Recyclable Snack Bar Wrapper", Business Wire, February 16, 2021

Market News  

Post Holdings Forms SPAC In Hopes Of Acquiring A Food Company

Cereal maker Post Holdings is the latest company to launch a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a way to bring a private company public more quickly and with fewer disclosures than a traditional IPO. Post is trying to raise $400 million for its SPAC, a Post Holdings subsidiary managed by its executive team, that will acquire a company in the consumer products industry. In a press release, the company said its Post Holdings Partnering Corporation “intends to partner with a company in the consumer products industry that complements the experience and expertise of Post's management team and is a business to which Post's management believes it can add value." Food brands expected to go public in the future that Post could target include Chobani, Just Eat, and Impossible Foods.

"Cereal maker Post Holdings to launch $400 million SPAC as more corporations warm to the blank-check listings", The Business Insider, February 12, 2021

Marketing & Advertising  

Celebrity Chefs Concoct Recipes Using Indian Snack Brand Cornitos

The “Cornitos By My Side” promotional campaign that ran on Facebook and Instagram featured videos describing Cornitos-based recipes from 40 celebrity master chefs. The recipes were prepared with products like Nachos, Taco Shells, Tortilla Wraps, and other lines. The recipes included: Tacos Stuffed with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms; Tacos & Nachos; Indo Mexican Tacos and Wraps with Salad; Tacos with Wild Fig; and Tortilla Milli Fili with Tacos. 

"Cornitos features 40 Indian celebrity chefs in new 'Cornitos By My Side' campaign", exchange4media.com, February 16, 2021

Products & Brands  

BFY Snack Brand Graze Achieves B Corp Status

The Unilever healthy snacking brand was certified as a B Corporation (B Corp) committed to being a force for good in the world when it comes to people, planet, and profits. Customers praised the company for an ongoing commitment to creating healthy alternatives to unhealthier snacks and for reimagining snacking by challenging traditional snacking conventions. The brand is guided by public health targets and a desire to play a part in tackling issues such as obesity. It has removed 160 tons of sugar from its snacks since the end of 2019, In addition, all graze snacks are a source of fiber, more than 75 percent contain fewer than 150 cal. per portion, and no graze snacks are high in salt. 

"Graze, Unilever’s healthy snacking brand, is celebrating becoming a B Corporation", RetailTimes.co.uk, February 23, 2021

Kind Snacks Launches In Australia With Kindness-Focused Promo Campaign

The healthy snack brand founded in 2004 by serial entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky – it is now owned by confectioner Mars – is launching in Australia with a marketing campaign that features kind Australians as brand ambassadors. The company eschewed celebrities and social media influencers, instead choosing people like the founder of volunteer organization Pets of the Homeless, and a former parish priest who has spent 39 years working to provide meals and education to kids in disadvantaged communities. The campaign reflects Kind's “not-only-for-profit” ethos, and its belief that businesses can play a role in improving things for everyone. Kind hopes to expand from the four people selected for the launch to as many as 500 community-minded Aussies.

"How Daniel Lubetzky grew his snacks brand from a basement to a $5 billion business, and why kindness is key to a new Aussie campaign", Smart Company, February 18, 2021

Savory Taste Alliance Touts Benefits Of Yeast-Fortified Snacks

The STA, the PR arm of the European Association for Specialty Yeast Products, is on a mission to boost ‎awareness of yeast extract and provide the U.S. food industry with information about yeast extract as a food ingredient. The organization says naturally-occurring yeast extract is a versatile ingredient that can improve, intensify, and deepen the flavor of both savory and sweet snacks. Other benefits of yeast extract: enrichment of flavor without added salt; it is clean label, made through the autolysis of baker’s, brewer’s or Torula yeast; it is a common household ingredient, familiar to most consumers; it is an animal-free ingredient, perfect for vegetarian or vegan-friendly offerings; it is a healthy source of protein and vitamin B; and its three forms – liquid, paste or powder – make it easy to add another dimension of flavor to snacks. The umami flavor it provides varies from buttery to roasted, grilled, cheesy, or fatty.

"Snacks will get an umami punch – and tick a number of consumer boxes – from the addition of yeast extract", BakeryAndSnacks.com, February 18, 2021

Real Food From The Ground Up Adds Two Cauliflower-Based Snacks To Lineup

The Fairfield, N.J.-based plant-based snack specialist’s new additions include Cauliflower Chips – a “cauliflower-based version of the classic potato chip” – in sea salt, salt & vinegar, sour cream & onion, and buffalo flavors, and Cauliflower Snacking Crackers in sea salt and ‘everything’ flavors. Both new snacks have an SRP of $3.99 per 3.5 oz bag. The snacks are vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, and free from gluten, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. They will be available nationwide at retailers and online this year. The company also sells a line of snacks made from butternut squash.

"Real Food From The Ground Up unveils new cauliflower snacks", FoodBev Media, February 18, 2021

Entrepreneur Unveils “Climate Friendly” Snacks

Launched at the end of 2020, Julia Collins’ Moonshot crackers are organic, kosher, plant-based, non-GMO, made with no added sugars, and are packaged in carbon neutral boxes displaying messaging about regenerative agriculture and the potential of carbon-fixation. According to Collins, a successful entrepreneur who founded Zume Pizza – in 2018 it was valued at more than $2 billion – “climate friendly” means the company considers everything when making its crackers: the ingredients, the packaging, and even how the snacks are produced. The idea is to “make a delicious snack while being a good steward of the planet.” Moonshot crackers are available in Sourdough Sea Salt, Rosemary Garlic, and Tomato Basil flavors at $6 a box or via subscription.

"How One Woman With A Box Of Crackers Aims To Save The Planet", Forbes Media , February 12, 2021

SPAR International Increases Its Range Of Healthy Snacks

The voluntary partnership of independent food retailers is meeting the global demand for healthier snacks by increasing the range of products in its own healthier snack products. It recently expanded its SPAR Own Brand snacking nut range with roasted and salted California pistachios packaged in a 200-gram block-bottom bag that is “easy to merchandise.” Other healthy snacks in the SPAR range include crunchy vegetable and potato chips that are lower in fat and carbohydrates than traditional potato and corn-based snacks. The vegan, gluten- and palm oil-free range also includes chickpea, quinoa, chia, and lentil-based options. The SPAR International retail food chain links 13,320 independent stores worldwide, giving them volume purchasing power.

"SPAR encourages healthier snacking with growing own brand range", Contify Retail News, February 10, 2021

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