Mars adds sweet and salty addition to its Combos’ pretzel snack line
MCLEAN, Va. — The combination of sweet and savory flavors has become one of the hottest trends in snacking in recent years. And nowhere has this been more evident than in the pretzel segment.
(To view the full Category Review, click here.)
Following on the heels of last year’s launch of its Combos caramel crème and vanilla frosting pretzel snacks, Mars Inc.’s North American chocolate division is extending the line further with this fall’s rollout of Combos Sweet and Salty chocolate fudge pretzel.
Scheduled to launch in November, the newest Combos item will incorporate a creamy fudge filling inside of a salty, crunchy pretzel shell.
Mars is offering Combos Sweet and Salty chocolate fudge pretzel in 6 oz. bags and will provide retailers with a 72-count mixed floorstand with tear pad. The company will employ a multifaceted marketing campaign for the newest Combos flavor, including customized shopper programs, social media support and promotions.
“Mars answers consumer demand for bold, indulgent flavors in the sweet and salty category,” a spokeswoman said, noting the company’s research found the newest flavor to be consumers’ top choice among salty snacks, and an independent study by new product development researchers at Affinova showed that nearly 70% of shoppers would purchase the product when it was available at retail.
Consumers prefer healthier options
Americans are snacking more than ever.
According to a recent consumer survey, nearly half of people across the country skip at least three traditional meals every week in favor of so-called “munchies.”
(To view the full Category Review, click here.)
As a result, the snack foods found in the nation’s drug stores have slowly been getting a makeover with suppliers putting greater emphasis on health and convenience.
“As the world’s largest snack company, we know we have a critical role to play in empowering consumers to snack mindfully,” said Diane Striegel, senior manager of industry development for Mondelēz International, the producer of more than 40 snack and confectionary brands, including Nabisco, belVita and Cadbury.
“Our approach is to create foods that fit the way people eat today — to bring joy to those small-eating moments,” she said. “The balance of foods and nutrients within the overall diet, along with adopting a healthy lifestyle, is important for well-being.”
According to the market researchers, snacking is a $146 billion-a-year business and is growing at nearly 4% annually. With the average person snacking three times a day, the industry is helping to address the country’s changing eating habits.
Larry Lupo, Mars Chocolate North America’s VP of sales for the grocery, convenience and drug channels, said consumers are demanding more from snack foods than ever before. For snacks to succeed today, they need to be healthier than traditional snacks and must provide portability, convenience and portion control.
“Our product innovations are driven by shopper insights, and we’re expanding our portfolio to include a range of innovative snacking options,” he said.
Mars is among several snack food suppliers that are bringing a slew of new products to the category to address these new preferences. For instance, Lupo noted, after testing its Goodnessknows snack squares in several markets over the past few years, the company is rolling out the line nationwide. Made with whole nuts, real fruits, toasted oats and dark chocolate, the latest entry into the snack bar segment contains 150 calories per bar and is available in three flavors — cranberry almond, apple almond and peanut, and peach and cherry almond.
Similarly, Hershey Co. debuted a snack bar under its Brookside brand this spring. Hershey’s stated its Brookside bars are made from real fruit, contain no artificial flavors, and provide a good source of vitamins A, C and E.
Market researchers say the rollout of the newest crop of healthy snacks is being driven by consumers across the demographic spectrum. According to a recent report from the NPD Group, the types of snacks consumers of all ages prefer has not changed that much in recent years. What has changed, according to NPD, is the way shoppers look at these products.
“Salty, sweet, high, low, or no calories are all contenders for attention, as long as they have a perceived health benefit,” the report notes.
“Snacking today is a prevalent behavior and there is an opportunity in every snack category,” NPD food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer said.
Mondelez gains large stake in Vietnam’s leading snack business
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Global snack brand Mondelēz International has closed its acquisition of an 80% stake in Kinh Do, Vietnam’s leading snack business, the company announced Thursday.
The Vietnamese company is known for its Kinh Do mooncakes and biscuits, Cosy biscuits, Solite soft cakes and AFC crackers.
“This acquisition is a perfect fit for our growth strategy in Asia Pacific, strengthening our core snacking categories in a high-growth dynamic market,” said Tim Cofer, executive VP and president of Mondelēz’s Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa division.
In the acquisition, Mondelēz will gain access to 90 million potential consumers in Vietnam.
“The addition of Kinh Do’s deep understanding of Vietnam’s consumers and routes to market enhances our capabilities in the region,” Cofer said. “Combined with our global knowledge and resources, including world-class innovation, marketing, food safety and quality, the future is bright for our business in Vietnam.”