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Health a factor in single-serve snacks

BY Barbara White-Sax

The back-to-school season brings a focus on single-serve snacks, and healthy snacks become a bigger part of the business every year. A recent report from Mintel revealed that while children are a major influence on the buying of multipack/bulk salty snacks, “given the increased concerns regarding nutrition, manufacturers can appeal to parents with products offering a better-for-you selling proposition.” Christine Brown, a spokeswoman for Natural Snacks said the company, which focuses on all-natural products, sees “a double-digit spike once school starts.”


In a back-to-school circular that devoted five pages to lunch and snack foods, Target featured Crunch Pak’s bagged apple slices, Clif Kid Z Bars and private-label Mandarin orange fruit cups. Whole Foods devoted endcaps to a cross promotion for Honest Kids and Pirate Brands’ Booty and Veggie Booty.


Nut-free snacks may be an area to watch as more elementary schools adopt nut-free policies for some lunch tables.


 

 The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Back-To-School Snacks Sell-Through Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Seasonal, novelty sweets flavor sales

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumers still have a sweet tooth despite a sour economy. U.S. confectionery sales at food, drug and mass stores continue to grow at a pace of 4.2%, outpacing overall store sales, according to data from the National Confectioners Association.


Chocolate is the key growth driver, with sales up nearly 8% in the drug channel, according to SymphonyIRI Group data for the 52-week period ended July 11. Sweet and savory combinations are one of the segment’s top trends, according to NCA.


The seasonal segment accounts for 50% of confection sales for the drug channel. “More than half of Christmas candy dollars come from the gifting segment,” said Tim Quinn, VP trade development for Mars Chocolate North America. “Consumers can pick up a last-minute hostess gift or stocking stuffer at their local drug store.”


NCA spokeswoman Jenn Ellek said seasonal and novelty products offer retailers a big opportunity for higher margins. “This area is almost purely impulse, so retailers need to merchandise well and make an early commitment so they have the right merchandise at the right time,” she said. Ellek also said that sales of nonchocolate novelties were up nearly 11% in the drug channel for the 12-week period ended July 11.


Licenses — always an important part of the category — will see a boost this fall from the Blu-ray release of “Star Wars” and the release of one movie in 3-D in February. “CandyRific’s M&M’s Star Wars Lightsaber is our No. 1-selling novelty item in the United States, and Darth Vader and Darth Maul are the two best-selling characters,” said Rob Auerbach, Candy­Rific’s president.

 

 The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Candy Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Developing ‘First Tastes’

BY Barbara White-Sax

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, U.K. — United Kingdom-based organic kids’ brand Ella’s Kitchen is rolling out a number of products that were launched exclusively in Target in July. The First Tastes line, which includes squeezable fruit and fruit-and-rice combinations, was created for babies transitioning to solid foods.


Toddlers and preschoolers also have developed a taste for Ella’s “smoothie fruit” squeezable products, and moms are including them as take-along snacks in lunchboxes.


Ella’s also has introduced a Baby Brekkie line that contains a blend of organic fruit puree, natural yogurt and whole-grain rice in four flavors.


The products, which are organic and made with all-natural ingredients, will be rolled out nationally in October.

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