Store Brands

FEB 2017

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 69 / February 2017 / Store Brands 5 1 Category Intelligence: Frozen Appetizers and Snacks A wellness wall Retailers seeking to maximize private brand frozen snack and appetizer revenues must address shopper health concerns By Rich Mitchell he frozen snack and appetizer sector is facing an identity crisis. While many consumers are embracing products and category sales are forecast to increase over the next few years, a base of shoppers still perceives frozen selections as unhealthy, which has limited revenue growth, notes Mintel, a global market research firm. Mintel is projecting sales of frozen snacks to reach about $5.1 billion in 2020, up from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2015. Unlike the total snack sector, which is generally immune to health matters, many potential frozen snack customers say they have issues with product ingredients, Mintel notes in its April 2016 "Frozen Snacks, US" report. In its January 2016 online survey of 2,000 adults, Mintel states that consumers expressed concerns about calories (cited by 40 percent of respondents), fat (36 percent) and salt (33 percent). Nevertheless, the prospect of vibrant category activity remains. "There is a strong consumer sentiment that snacks are, by their nature, an indulgence," Mintel states. "But by that same token, brands have an opportunity to leverage healthier attributes and to appeal to consumers looking for snack options with fewer, or devoid entirely of, artificial ingredients." Snacks with cleaner labels and relatively few ingredients will particularly resonate with parents seeking snack options for their children, Mintel indicates. Though 40 percent of consumers view frozen appetizers as convenient and 35 percent as tasty, just 13 percent rate the items as kid-friendly, the Mintel survey found. However, because more private brand manufactur- ers are adding organic lines, the category is on track to garner a more positive wellness perception, Mintel notes. "While younger consumers are a mainstay of the frozen snack category, consumers of all ages appear interested in, if not healthier frozen snacks, then at least options with fewer artificial ingredients and the appearance of being less processed," Mintel states. The interest in wellness is making it increasingly important for retailers to provide shoppers with ample product details. "We are living in the informa- tion age and consumers want information," notes Erin Ronzheimer, director of marketing for West Liberty Foods LLC, a West Liberty, Iowa-based supplier. "The most challenging part is knowing and understanding which information they want or need, which infor- mation they can understand and, therefore, which information should be included on packaging without becoming overwhelming or over-informed." Ingredient decks with minimal elements can be especially attractive as they often indicate the absence of processed additives, says Michael Silverman, vice president of sales and marketing for Bylada Foods LLC, a Moonachie, N.J.-based supplier of frozen mini pizza bagels and filled potato skins. "The more products that retailers can offer with short decks, the better," he notes. Packages also should list product certifications and health claims, adds Denise LeBrun, executive vice president at The Fillo Factory Inc., a Northvale, N.J.-based frozen appetizer supplier. "Consumers seem to prefer clean, easy-to-read packaging," she states. "They also want to know case counts, ingredients and nutritionals. Among the most popular items are those with clean ingredients and are vegetarian, low sodium, non- GMO and gluten-free." Do develop offerings that are less processed. Don't be hesitant to offer exotic and bold flavors.

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