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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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November 01, 2020, to November 15, 2020

Hershey Links Licensing With Its Marketing And Business Strategies

The Pennsylvania candy and snacks giant is hoping to broaden its customer base by forging partnership and licensing deals in unexpected ways. Perhaps the most striking example of this strategy is its affiliation with brewery D.G. Yuengling & Son to create a limited-edition chocolate porter available in 22 states. The hope is that the mashup will attract younger consumers who like craft beers – and chocolate. Over the past several months, Hershey has also debuted pudding and whipped topping products with Kraft; Hershey's and Reese's cookie mashups with Mondelez International's Chips Ahoy brand; and an expanded line of candy-inspired Jolly Rancher and Hershey's Kisses cereals with General Mills. A Hershey licensing exec says "there are many more categories that we belong in, but we don't have direct access." The idea is to remind shoppers of Hershey brands “when they are shopping outside of our core competency.”

Numerous Health Benefits Claimed For Lotus Seed Snacks

Though consumers globally are trying to eat a more nutritious diet, they still have cravings for delicious snacks. But it’s definitely better if those snacks are also healthful. With that in mind several snack makers are offering versions of an East Asian seed/nut known as makhana, also known as fox nuts or lotus seeds, that deliver an array of nutrition benefits. Brands on the market include Phool Makhana (7 ounces, $12.00), Rani Phool Makhana (3.5 ounces, $12.99), Taali Himalayan Pink Salt Water Lily Pops (4-pack, 2.3 oz multi-serve bags, $18.99), and Taali Variety Pack Water Lily Pops (10-pack, 0.8 oz bags, $18.99). Health benefits and claims include: low-calorie, immunity booster, vegan, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, etc.

Highlander Partners Adds Miller Baking To Benestar Stable

The Dallas, Texas-based portfolio company says its Benestar Brands unit has acquired Miller Baking Company, the Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturer of Pretzilla soft pretzel bites and buns. Once a multi-product bakery, Miller unveiled the Pretzilla brand in 2010 and has since transitioned to a pretzel bread snack business offering a variety of soft pretzel products, including Burger Buns, Mini Buns, Sausage Buns, and Bites, distributed nationally to more than 10,000 stores. All of its products are non-GMO, allergen-friendly, vegan, and kosher. The company has invested significantly in R&D and operations, spurring innovation in the category in terms of both product introductions and product attributes. Benestar Brands operates as a holding company for a diverse range of snack products.

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October 25, 2020, to November 01, 2020

Velocity Snack Brands Extends Popchips Snack Line

The Los Angeles-based company, created by private equity firm VMG Partners as an incubating platform after it acquired Popchips last year, has launched additional varieties, including two grain-free popped chips made with cassava – sea salt and cajun honey – as well as an air-popped corn chip product. They will be available at more than 2,100 U.S. Kroger stores. Additional flavors will launch in other major retailers, including Albertsons’ Safeway, in the near future. According to VMG, Popchips has achieved 89 percent brand awareness with its distribution in nearly every domestic retailer. Popchips products are not fried, have clean taste profiles with simple ingredients, and are gluten-free and non-GMO. VMG plans to launch the new products with an integrated, data-driven digital and in-store marketing campaign, in addition to a new website for Popchips in the coming weeks. The company is doubling down on efforts to help brands increase their e-commerce revenues because of decreased foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores.

Mavericks Snacks Introduces Brand Targeting Preadolescents

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company  is debuting a snack brand for pre-teens at Target stores after a successful introduction at Whole Foods Market locations in April 2020. Created by Green Park Brands, a holding company started by Livio Bisterzo, Mavericks markets two peanut-free, school-safe products that meet USDA Smart Snacks requirements. Crackerz contains eight grams of whole grains per serving; Cookiez has “40 percent less sugar than the leading natural competitor and 60-75 percent less than iconic conventional brands.” The brand is also available on Amazon. The target demographic is the “older sub-segment of 8-11-year olds” within a broader target demo, 4–11-year olds (middle childhood years). The biggest marketing challenge is reaching young children and raising product awareness without in-store sampling and fewer parents shopping with kids. But the company says it saw a “crescendo in unit velocities” at Whole Foods using a “back to school” promotion and velocities have so far continued.

British Business Accelerator Picks Seven Healthy Snack Brands Targeting Obesity

The Good Food Fund, a London-based business accelerator, has picked seven snack start-ups it believes can help tackle the U.K.’s childhood obesity problem. The £1.8 million ($2.3 million) venture fund that backs healthier food and drinks brand was launched in March by the U.K. food and drink accelerator Mission Venture. Selected start-ups get intensive support, including help establishing new manufacturing partners, advice on reduction of costs and RSP, retailer partnerships, and increased distribution, among other aids. The seven brands are: Insane Grain (puffed snacks made with sorghum); JimJams (chocolate spreads made with 83 percent less sugar); Lexi’s Treats (low-calorie snacks made from puffed rice and marshmallows); Naturelly (jelly pots with inulin fiber from chicory root); Nombots (wholegrain lentil puffs for kids); Rootles (light and crispy biscuit covered in Belgian chocolate and made with carrot and sweet potato); and Snackzilla (fiber-rich, low-sugar oat cookies). 

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October 18, 2020, to October 25, 2020

CCBA Suspends Acquisitions In Kenya

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has decided to emphasize integration of businesses it has acquired recently so will not make new acquisitions in the local market in the near term. The company is said to be aligning Nairobi Bottlers and Almasi Beverages’ operations to those of the parent company’s systems and policies following its acquisition from Centum Investment Company a year ago. Through its subsidiary, Coca-Cola Sabco East Africa Limited, CCBA acquired 53.9 percent and 27.6 percent of the stake held by Centum at Almasi and Nairobi Bottlers respectively at a value of $200 million. The company says sales and revenue slid by 50 percent for carbonated soft drinks, juice, energy drinks and fuze tea bags because of the pandemic. Government-imposed lockdowns led to disruptions in production, supply chains, and reduced demand for the products.

Vegan Cereal From U.K.’s GO Superfoods Wins Taste Award

The Great Taste Awards, sponsored by the Guild of Fine Food, has recognized a vegan cereal made by the British firm, which trades as Green Origins and Rainforest Foods. The company’s Bambeanies Super Crispies is a baked vegan cereal made with beans, rice, coconut flour and baobab, sweetened with coconut blossom nectar and apple juice. The cereal has 11 percent less sugar than Rice Krispies, the company says, as well as 285 percent more fiber, 85 percent more protein, and 98 percent less salt. Also recognized was the organic 70 percent Dark Chocolate Drops with turmeric and maca made by GO Superfoods for allergen free brand, Before Chocolate.

Whisps Snacks Extends Line Of Baked, “Real Cheese” Snack Crisps

The new Hot & Spicy flavor of baked cheese crisps from the New York-based company features 100 percent cheddar cheese exclusively made for Whisps. The Hot & Spicy variant, which “provides a cleaner, more delicious version of a flaming hot & spicy chip,” the company said, is available exclusively at Target and Target.com (MSRP $3.99). 

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October 11, 2020, to October 18, 2020

Good To Go Launches Savory Nut & Seed Bites

Available across Canada this fall in four flavors, the Toronto-based company’s organic, keto-friendly Savory Bites contain an assortment of nuts and “super seeds,” including sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and chia. Available in Zesty Pecan, Almond & Sea Salt, Herb & Garlic, and Everything flavors, the Bites contain no added sugar, 130-140 calories, 11-12 grams of plant-based fat, and 3-4 grams of net carbs per 25-gram serving. SRP is $6.49 CAD ($4.95).

Love Good Fats Raises Nearly $11M In Funding Round

The Canadian maker of low-sugar, keto-certified, non-GMO snacks made with fats from nut butters and coconut oil has secured a $10.7 million investment led by InvestEco Capital Corp. and Export Development Canada to “help accelerate the company's already rapid growth in North America.” The three-year-old firm sees its products as alternatives to the traditional high sugar, high simple carbohydrate snacks. The product line includes dark chocolate-coated and plant-based Truffle bars, White Chocolate Trufflebars, Chewy-Nuttybars, and shakes. Keto-friendly products have 4-5 grams of net carbs and are gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, contain no artificial preservatives or sugar alcohols. They are available at Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Kroger, CVS Pharmacy, and Costco.

Lori's Potato Chips Finds Winning Recipe For THC-Spiked Snacks

It wasn’t long after recreational cannabis was legalized in Washington State in 2012 that consumers began to look for alternatives to smoking pot. They turned to THC-infused edibles, a trend that proved to be a shot-in-the-arm for companies selling sugar-based items like gummies and hard candy. Seattle-based Craft Elixirs, which began by making pot-infused syrups, introduced a potato chip line in 2018, but it didn’t catch on. A reformulation and re-introduction finally got the brand – Lori’s Potato Chips – on track. The new lineup includes Roasted Garlic Chips fried in THC-infused olive oil and a Sweet Potato Chip seasoned with cinnamon, brown sugar, and sea salt. All are vegan, kosher, and made with organic potatoes. One of the benefits of the chips is that they offer THC newbies the option of micro-dosing. A single $7 bag contains 10 milligrams of THC, with roughly 15 chips per bag. Needless to say, demand for all Craft Elixirs products has increased since the pandemic hit.

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October 04, 2020, to October 11, 2020

Chulitos LLC Says Its Low-Cal Tortilla Chips Are Healthy, Sustainable

To achieve that result, the Laredo, Texas-based snack company replaces some of the traditional corn used to make tortilla chips with cactus and bakes it without oil. The technique results in a chip with half the calories (75 total), triple the fiber (six grams), and a lot of micronutrients and antioxidants. The key ingredient is cactus, the company says, “an ancient Aztec superfood” that is said to boost immunity, improve gut health, and reduce inflammation. Chulitos, sold in recycled packaging and made with water-saving ingredients, are available on Amazon and will soon be in the snack aisle of specialty grocery stores.

A Teen’s Search For Natural Nut Butters Results In A Lucrative Business

A 15-year-old with a fondness for peanut butter who wanted to do something about her weight problem started looking closely at ingredient labels. The “ton of artificial ingredients” were a turn-off, so she began experimenting in her family’s kitchen with cashews, coconut, honey, almond, dates and pecans to create her own all-natural nut butters. From the kitchen to farmer's markets, to grocery store shelves, and eventually online, Abby Kircher’s business – Abby’s Better Nut Butter – has grown tenfold in the past five years, moving its operations into a manufacturing facility in 2018 and cultivating a huge online following with more than $400,000 in ecommerce sales since the beginning of the year. In addition to its 11 nut butters, the North Carolina-based company has launched a line of grab-and-go Nut Butter Snack Bites that come in four flavors. 

Gutzy Keep Moving’s Lineup Of Gut-Healthy Snacks Flourishes In COVID-19 Era

The New York, N.Y.-based maker of the Gutzy organic brand of gut-healthy fruit, vegetable, and botanical snacks says its products are now available on refrigerated shelves at Meijer and Ingles retail stores, as well as online at Amazon. The accelerated distribution growth is a result of COVID-era consumer trends, especially the surge in shopping activity that reflects consumers proactively managing their own health. Each pouch of Gutzy snacks has five to six grams of prebiotics. The trend has helped the company expand its distribution to the produce and grab-and-go refrigerated snack sections of about 650 stores and has driven its DTC ecommerce business. The company now offers several DTC flavor options in 32-pouch packs. 

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September 27, 2020, to October 04, 2020

Wellness Natural Acquires SimplyProtein Snack Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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September 20, 2020, to September 27, 2020

BFY Snack Formulators Have A Natural Ally In Almonds

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

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

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

Coca-Cola Has Its Eye On Post-Pandemic Resurgence

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

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September 13, 2020, to September 20, 2020

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

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

Amplify Snack Brands Revives Super-Hot Paqui Tortilla Chip Challenge

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

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

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

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September 06, 2020, to September 13, 2020

Nestlé To Invest Millions In Transition From Use Of Virgin Plastics

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

Nature's Path Unveils Superfood Granolas, Oatmeal Cups

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

Piccolo Extends Kids’ Snack Range

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

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August 30, 2020, to September 06, 2020

Coca-Cola’s Reorganization Elevates Three Executives

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

Nestlé Appoints New CEO Of Central And West Africa Business

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

Justin’s Enters Refrigerated Plant-Based Protein Bar Market

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