Brands answer consumer call for healthier options
The snack aisle is getting healthier. Manufacturers have listened and answered the call from consumers, said Sally Lyons Wyatt, general manager in Client Insights at IRI. “They want simpler ingredients, transparent labeling and added nutrients. It’s all about the absence of the bad and the adding of the good.”
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Mondelez has made a commitment to grow its “better choice” foods to represent 25% of the company’s revenue by 2020. The company has increased whole grains by 23% across its global snack portfolio, almost reaching its 2020 goal of increasing whole grains by 25%. It also has implemented front-of-package calorie labeling on about 46% of its portfolio and is on target to cover 100% by 2016. Progress on decreasing saturated fats in its existing products by 10% has been less successful, although Mondelez has achieved a 40% reduction in saturated fats in certain Oreo varieties.
Other companies also are trying to satisfy the consumer demand for healthier foods. Competitor Frito-Lay vowed in 2011 to remove all artificial ingredients from its products by 2015. After committing to remove artificial flavors and colors from its entire cereals portfolio by 2017, General Mills announced plans to debut several wellness products this summer that will include such ingredients as dried fruits, toasted coconut, nuts and pumpkin seeds. The General Mills research shows that 49% of households are trying to remove artificial ingredients from the foods they buy. Even confectioner Nestlé said in February that it will become the first major candy maker to eliminate all artificial colors and flavors from its chocolates.
“Not only are companies, such as General Mills and PepsiCo, removing high fructose corn syrup from iconic brands, but they are acquiring these nimble and niche companies to add to their portfolios,” said Melissa Abbott, Hartman Group’s director of culinary insights.
The strategies are crucial in a market where consumers are demanding healthier options that deliver not only good taste but health benefits, as well. Half of consumers want snacks to offer benefits beyond basic nutrition, according to IRI data, with products boasting protein, calcium, energy and fiber driving the most growth in the snack category. “Snacking is becoming more purposeful, and that means higher quality ingredients and less processed/well-sourced protein,” Abbott said.
Research from Hartman Group revealed that when asked which ingredients they want to reduce or eliminate in their diet, fructose corn syrup ranked No. 1, with 56% of respondents citing it as the ingredient consumers want to decrease or reduce in their diets. Over half of respondents said they wanted to eliminate or reduce trans fats and saturated fats, saccharine, growth hormones and MSG.
About half cited artificial flavors as something they would like to avoid. At the same time, more than half of consumers asked had reported they wanted more vegetables, fruits, fiber, whole grains, Vitamin D and calcium in the foods they eat. “We’re seeing more consumer interest in plant-based proteins and ancient grains, Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-3 fatty acids,” said Wyatt. “Organic is also still a big deal.”
Coca-Cola partners with Suja Life
SAN DIEGO — Organic, cold-pressured juice company Suja Life announced its minority investment and distribution partnership with the Coca-Cola Company on Wednesday.
Coca-Cola will increase product distribution and manufacturing facilities, distributing it through the Odwalla chilled direct store delivery system. Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division has also made a minority investment in the company.
"When we started our home-delivery juicing company in San Diego about three years ago, we couldn't have imagined the incredible growth and consumer demand that we face today," Jeff Church, co-founder and CEO of Suja, said. "As we continued to innovate and find ways to democratize juice, we soon realized that for us to take the business to the next level in providing organic, cold-pressured juice to even more people, we needed to find the correct strategic partners. As these new partnerships begin, nothing will change in Suja's promise to its fans: our juice will always be organic, non-GMO, cold-pressured, and free of any additives."
Named the No. 2 Most Promising Company in 2015 by Forbes, Suja launched the first USDA organic, non-GMO, cold-pressured juice available for less than $4.
"Suja's commitment to excellence in its beverages, operations and mission has positioned it as a leader in the rapidly-growing organic juice segment," Mike Saint John, president of Coca-Cola North America’s value added dairy and natural health beverages division, said. "This, coupled with the resources of The Coca-Cola Company including our unmatched distribution system, will expand availability of this delicious beverage."
Inventure Foods to launch organic Jamba At-Home smoothies
PHOENIX — Inventure Foods on Wednesday launched USDA-certified organic varieties of its Jamba At-Home smoothies in Strawberries Wild and Razzmatazz flavors.
Organic Strawberries Wild contains strawberries, organic non-fat yogurt and bananas, while Organic Razzmatazz consists of a blend of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas and organic non-fat yogurt. The 100-calorie flavors are gluten-free and provide a 100% daily value of vitamin C.
"As American food demands change, we are seeing more organic options in grocery aisles," Dan Hammer, SVP and general manager of the frozen division at Inventure Foods, said. "Not surprisingly, the organics market has increased 12% from 2013-2014 and is projected to hit double digits again in 2015. Of course, with this growth comes supply demands. With our new Jamba At-Home organic varieties, made with simple ingredients like real strawberries and raspberries, consumers can enjoy their favorite Jamba smoothie in organic form anytime, anywhere."
The organic smoothies will be sold in 8 oz. packages with a suggested retail price of $4.99 to $5.99.