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Healthier snacking raises the nutritional bar

BY Michael Johnsen

The business of nutritional bars is booming, with 9-of-the-top-10 brands trending at a double-digit annual growth rate. And that one bar not growing in double digits is the No. 1-selling bar — General Mills’ Fiber One — by a margin of more than $60 million in annual sales. Sales of Fiber One are up 7.3%, according to SymphonyIRI Group for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart).

Some of that significant growth can be attributed to increased interest in healthier snacking, which may explain why Clif’s mainstay bar, No. 2 in the category, contributed by far the most incremental annual dollar growth (more than $17 million). According to a February 2011 Mintel report, young adults are consuming the most nutrition and energy bars as meal-replacement solutions, and older adults are looking to nutrition bars as a healthy way to improve their overall diet.

The substantial growth is attracting new players. Joint Juice recently announced its acquisition of the Premier Nutrition Brand as that company’s entry into the sports nutrition and weight-loss category. “What is especially exciting about the brand is the wide breadth of consumers who purchase high-quality protein products, ranging from sports enthusiasts to dieters to healthy, busy people,” stated David Ritterbush, Joint Juice CEO, in announcing the acquisition.

And at least one of those new players is targeting pharmacy-friendly disease-state niches. NuGo Nutrition recently introduced a diabetic-friendly meal-replacement bar product line called NuGo Slim. The line is being billed as the first almost-sugar-free, high-protein bar made without maltitol or artificial sweeteners — the 2 g of sweet goodness comes naturally from real dark chocolate, the company stated.

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Bartell touts ‘next gen’ store

BY DSN STAFF

SEATTLE — Regional chain Bartell Drugs recently opened its "next generation" store format, a remodel of an existing store in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood. Developed in conjunction with Hartman Group, the store includes a "Fresh Beauty" cosmetics section with natural and organic product lines; a "Wellness Courtyard" for supplements, vitamins and healthy beverages; a "Sweets & Snacks" section with new displays and lighting; and an "Urban Market" the showcases unique and locally produced products. The store also features a more modern look with lower shelves and hardwood flooring.

For more photos, click here.

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Report: Kraft, Wrigley to cut chewing gum package size, prices

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Certain chewing gum companies are introducing smaller packs that will carry a lower price tag, according to a new report.

According to MarketWatch, Kraft Foods is expected to introduce five-piece packs of Trident and Stride gums, which will cost 50 cents. Additionally, confectioner Wrigley, which is owned by Mars, is expected to roll out smaller and more affordable chewing gum in 2012.

Kraft’s gum portfolio includes Dentyne, in addition to Trident and Stride. Wrigley produces such brands as Big Red, Doublemint, Extra and more.

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