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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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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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February 07, 2021, to February 14, 2021

Promising Healthy Dried-Beef Snack Platform Stryve Foods Gains NASDAQ Listing

The Plano, Texas-based company that specializes in protein-rich, low-sugar, dried beef snacks announced it will merge with publicly traded Andina Acquisition Corp. III (NASDAQ: ANDA) to become a public company listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SNAX. The companies say they have agreements with institutional investors for an oversubscribed common stock private-investment-in-public equity (PIPE) of $42.5 million at $10 a share. Stryve also borrowed $10.6 million from investors “for general working capital purposes.” The bridge note for the loan will convert into common stock prior to closing. Stryve’s so-called “disruptive” snack platform features air-dried meats, mostly beef, including biltong from South Africa and carne seca from Latin America. Air-drying meat vs. cooking, as is done with beef jerky, yields a product that has 40-50 percent more protein per serving than beef jerky, the company claims. Stryve’s meat snacks are made with 100 percent uncooked beef, contain no sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gluten, nitrates, nitrites, or preservatives and are keto- and paleo-diet friendly. 

PeaTos Marches On With $12.5M Investment From Post Holdings

The Los Angeles-based chip brand, on a mission to loosen Cheetos’ stranglehold on the salty snack market, and less than six months after raising $7 million in a Series A round, has convinced Post Holdings to lead a $12.5 million Series B round of funding. PeaTos adds nutrient-dense peas to the traditional corn base and replaces artificial colors and flavors with more natural ingredients. The company says its snack has “all the flavor and fun” of Cheetos and Doritos, but with the nutrient claims of better-for-you options. PeaTos have twice the protein and three times the fiber of traditional salty snacks. The brand is available in more than 4,700 retailers, including Kroger and its affiliate stores, Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons, Safeway, Sprouts, and Sam's Club. 

N.C. Entrepreneur Creates “Macronutrient”-Rich Snack

A Charlotte entrepreneur and fitness buff who was having a hard time finding a snack chip good for his body has developed Macro Snacks, a gluten-free, vegan-friendly chip that comes in seven flavors. Each bag of Justin Wiesehan’s Macro Snacks has 11 to 12 grams of protein and a 45/35/20 carb/protein/fat ratio, making it easier for those who track macronutrients in their diet (or just want to eat a healthy snack). The seven flavors are based on popular snacks, Wiesehan says: BBQ Sauce, Pizza Pie, Churro Loco, Cheddar Cheese, Rockin' Ranch, Sour Cream & Onion, and Spicy Chili Lime. The brand was recently chosen out of more than 100 applicants to participate in an Austin, Texas-based accelerator program called SKU that began last week.

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January 31, 2021, to February 07, 2021

Cash Infusion Will Help Fuel Plantain Snack Company’s Move Into Mainstream Markets

The British investment firm S-Ventures has acquired a majority share of We Love Purely with a goal of speeding its move into the mainstream snacking sector. We Love Purely has experienced solid online sales growth during the pandemic with its range of healthy plantain snacks. It has now begun selling in retail outlets in the U.K. and abroad, including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Ocado, Holland and Barrett, Spinneys in Dubai, and The Craft Gin Club. The chips contain 30 percent less fat than typical potato crisps and no palm oil. They are made in Ecuador from locally sourced plantains to support local communities and provide income for small farmers.

Bubba's Fine Foods Introduces Six Keto Snacks Online

The Loveland, Colo.-based grain-free snack company has launched six keto nut mixes and three keto granolas, available on their Amazon store. The 1.2-ounce nut mix packs feature a seasoned blend of walnuts, pecans, and healthy seeds containing as much as seven grams of protein, three grams of net carbs, and 19 grams of nutritious fats. Flavors include Pepperoni Pizza, Traditional Recipe, and Sour Cream & Chive. The sweet glazed nut blends come in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Maple Cinnamon Praline, and Thai Sweet Chili. The new keto granolas are made with coconut, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds and come in Lemon Blueberry Tart, Maple Cinnamon Crunch, and Double Chocolate Chip flavors.

Native Snacks Widens Distribution Network In U.K.

The London-based better-for-you snack producer’s aggressive strategy to become a serious player in the mainstream savory snacks area includes expansion of its U.K. distribution network by 1,500 percent. The company has secured listings with Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barret online. and Ocado for its range of better-for-you Popped Lotus Seeds. The seeds are roasted rather than fried and contain fewer than 90 calories a pack, 60 percent less fat than regular potato crisps, and are protein rich, vegan, and low GI, with no artificial ingredients, or preservatives. They are also free of allergens, gluten, palm oil, MSG, and GMOs. To further its overall strategy the company has also implemented a rebrand and hired a commercial consultant to provide guidance on driving snack sales.

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January 17, 2021, to January 31, 2021

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

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

Campbell Soup Company To Shutter Georgia Snack Factory

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

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

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

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December 20, 2020, to January 17, 2021

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

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

New Nightfood Packaging Emphasizes “Sleep-Friendly” Benefits

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

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

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