Store Brands

JAN 2016

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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Page 52 of 83 / January 2016 / Store Brands 5 3 Category Intelligence: Fruit and Nut Snacks Driving trends Consumers desire healthful, tasty fruit and nut snacks, says Mike Swiatkowski, vice president of sales for Hickory Harvest Foods Inc., Akron, Ohio. "Trail mixes and blends are favored because they offer multiple textures and flavors," he adds. "Customers want snack items that are 90 percent healthy with a little bit of bad. Trail mixes with dried fruits and nuts plus a few chocolate drops thrown in for that little something 'extra' makes for a tasty yet savory treat." Ingredient trends include non-GMO and organic items, as well as products containing little or no additives or preservatives, says Robert Larsen, director of sales, Brothers-All-Natural Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks, a division of Brothers International Food Corp., Rochester, N.Y. He points to a continuation of new products that feature fruit enrobed in coatings such as chocolate and yogurt. Alternative dried fruits such as baked and freeze-dried items are becoming common. "We see more nutrient-dense products and organic products both on the fruit and nut side of the category," says Stephan Broburg, general manager of Bellevue, Wash.-based Baobab Foods Inc., creator of nutrient-dense baobab-based superfood products. An African wild-harvested fruit packed with essential minerals and nutrients, baobab is used to make BaoBites Super Fruit Snacks, as well as private brand derivatives, baobab raw fruit powder and more. Target the younger demographic Millennials (age 21 to 38) represent the highest incidence of purchase (by generation) of the nuts, seeds, dried fruits and vegetables specialty food product segment, states "Today's Specialty Food Consumer 2015," an annual report published in September 2015 and based on research conducted by SFA and global market research firm Mintel. Dozens of trail mix options exist today, and there is enormous potential for new blends and combinations of mixes, Swiatkowski says when asked how Do target the trends toward meal replacement and healthful but slightly indulgent snacking. Dueling trends Fruit and nut snack demand ranges from meal replacement options to super-nutritious offerings with "a little bit of bad." By Bryan Salvage I ncreasing numbers of Americans are consuming smaller amounts of food more often — up to six times daily. And some of them are seeking better-for-you specialty food snacks to replace or supplement meals, while others are demanding healthful but slightly decadent snacks just for the pure enjoyment of it. Such trends bode well for retailers offering store brand fruit and nut snacks. "The time is now for specialty food," Ron Tanner, vice president of philanthropy, government and industry relations for the New York-based Specialty Food Association (SFA), said last April when launching the group's "The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2015" report. "Consumers are looking for new tastes, foods with fewer and cleaner ingredients, health attributes and products made by companies with values they care about," he added. Nuts and dried fruits, which the report states are among the 10 best-selling specialty food categories, definitely satisfy these demands. Sales of snack nuts, seeds and corn nuts totaled a whopping $4.2 billion for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 1, 2015, up 2.1 percent from the year-earlier period, relays Chicago-based market research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Dry fruit snack sales, however, slipped slightly (0.2 percent). Don't ignore consumers' growing desire for cleaner ingredient labels. D C t a M o I b h

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