Cheese gaining popularity in the snack category
PLYMOUTH, Wis. More and more consumers are saying “cheese,” according to the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. Their statistics show that 4.5 percent of the population is snacking on tasty wedges and slices, compared to 2.5 percent a decade ago. Cheese sales have skyrocketed 9.5 percent from last year’s figure of $779 million to this year?s figure of $853 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 4.
Major cheese manufacturers Kraft and Sargento are catching on. Sargento is using the holiday to encourage rising cheese sales. This season, Sargento will be selling holiday-shaped cheese cubes, including snowflake and Christmas tree shapes. Kraft has developed in-store, four- to twelve-foot long cheese displays and plans to include these cheese snacking centers in 1,000 of its stores by the end of the year.
“We feel cheese represents an untapped opportunity in terms of the overall snacking trend, but also because cheese is a wholesome snacking alternative,” Tyler Williamson, brand manager for Kraft’s cheese business unit said.
Several food producers to adopt front-of-pack nutrition labeling
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., and MINNEAPOLIS Unilever and General Mills today announced positive actions towards adding front-of-pack nutrition labels to their products.
General Mills and Unilever both signed on as “likely implementers” of the program which advocates adding food nutrition information, such as calorie content and other details of additives and ingredients, to front-facing labels. The labels are part of the Smart Choices Program, a system of nutrition labeling developed by academics, food and beverage manufacturers, health organizations, retailers and scientists.
Unilever has been a participant in the Keystone Food and Nutrition Roundtable which launched its “Eat Smart/Drink Smart” initiative in the United States and globally with the Choices Programme.
The Smart Choices Program symbol will be added to packaging by participating food companies in 2009.
More information is available at www.smartchoicesprogram.com.
Mars sets $1 million Halloween online sweepstakes in motion
MCLEAN, Va. Mars has launched an online sweepstakes at HalloweenMillion.com that features a grand-prize of $1 million and an instant-win game with 20,000 other prizes.
Visitors to the site can enter UPC codes from select Mars candies such as M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers and Starburst for a chance to win.
After entering the UPC code, the site automatically directs the visitor to a special room in the Million Dollar Mansion. For example, M&Ms consumers get routed to the M&M’s Ballroom and Milky Way fans go to the Milky Way Observatory where a button is revealed that can deliver instant prize winnings. Instant prizes include coupons and $1,000 Visa debit cards featuring the M&M’s logo. All participants are automatically entered into the drawing for $1 million.
A TV ad campaign featuring the Headless Horseman and the Red and Yellow M&M’s ill be on the air through Friday to support the promotion.