Posts tagged with "Food Dive"

WK Kellogg debuts new cereal brand in better-for-you push

January 16, 2024

WK Kellogg is ringing in 2024 with a new cereal brand, Eat Your Mouth Off. The vegan offering is the cereal giant’s first new product launch since spinning off into its own business last fall, reports Food Dive.

The “puff” cereal—targeted at Millennials and Gen Z—comes in two flavors, Fruity and Chocolate. Each contains 22 grams of protein and zero grams of sugar per bowl.

The launch comes as WK Kellogg works to establish itself as its own business by diversifying its portfolio and adapting to a greater interest in health foods as consumer tastes shift.

An array of nutrition and industry experts believe cereal is in long-term decline, with a growing number of consumers citing its high sugar content and high processing as negatives. Leaders in the category are working to maintain its status as a premier breakfast option by rolling out new offerings aimed at health-conscious consumers.

As a newly spun off company following its launch as a fully-cereal business last year, WK Kellogg is aiming to redefine its role in the breakfast space as one that provides nutritious offerings.

In a statement, WK Kellogg’s Senior Marketing Director Sadie Garcia said the new brand aimed to “deconstruct” traditional cereals and create a new alternative.

“Crafted specifically for Zillennials in pursuit of a brand that mirrors their unique personalities, our latest creation is an unfiltered expression of the no-nonsense ethos that we, as a brand, represent,” Garcia said.

The company’s CEO Gary Pilnick tells Food Dive that the company has also quietly lowered the sugar content of two of its most popular cereals, Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, by double-digits in recent years.

Other leading companies in the ready-to-eat cereal space are taking advantage of rising consumer demand for breakfast offerings that contain healthier attributes and unique ingredients.

For example, Post debuted a new offering last year aimed at helping consumers fulfill late-night cravings while preparing them for a solid night’s sleep. Its Sweet Dreams cereal—available in Honey Moonglow and Blueberry Midnight—contains a “nighttime herbal blend” and ingredients including zinc, folic acid and B vitamins, which the company claims melatonin production ahead of sleeping.

Research contact: @FoodDive

Snickers maker Mars to buy UK chocolatier for $665M

November 28, 2023

Mars is paying US$665 million (€534 million) to buy Royston, England-based Hotel Chocolat, as the U.S.-based Snickers and M&M’s manufacturer expands its presence in the U.K. and increases its exposure to premium confections. Mars has operated in the U.K. since 1932, reports Food Dive.

Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Snacking, said his firm has “long admired” Hotel Chocolat, which is known for its lower sugar and higher cocoa content. Clarke called Hotel Chocolat a “differentiated brand.”

While Mars is bes- known for its mainstream confections, the acquisition of Hotel Chocolat will give the New Jersey-based company a premium brand that it can expand in the U.K. and “potentially, in new geographies.” Mars said the purchase will add to its portfolio a brand with “distinctive capabilities in product development, luxury gifting, and immersive brand experiences.”

Even though premium offerings have been hit hard by inflation, having another brand that plays in this category could benefit Mars by complementing the lower-priced sweets synonymous with the more than century-old company.

At the same time, Mars acquires a chocolatier that has attributes that are increasingly popular with consumers, including the use of natural ingredients, a commitment to use every part of the cocoa bean, and guaranteeing its growers receive a living income in exchange for meeting sustainable and ethical labor targets.

In buying Hotel Chocolat, Mars will bring to the mix its larger global footprint, supply chain connections and relationship with retailers that immediately provide a platform to grow the nearly 20-year-old brand. Mars also will benefit from Hotel Chocolat’s physical stores and digital commerce platform.

Hotel Chocolat’s international expansion plans have run into problems before; so having Mars as its parent will be valuable, should it decide to grow into additional markets. CNBC noted that Hotel Chocolat shuttered its direct-to-consumer website sales in the United States in September 2022, months after closing its high-street stores in the country.

“We know our brand resonates with consumers overseas, but operational supply chain challenges have held us back,” Hotel Chocolat said. “By partnering with Mars, we can grow our international presence much more quickly using their skills, expertise and capabilities.”

Research contact: @FoodDive

Kim Kardashian’s private equity firm acquires minority stake in Truff

November 23, 2023

On Tuesday, November 20, private equity firm Skky Partners—founded by Kim Kardashian and business partner Jay Sammons—announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire a “significant minority stake” in truffle-infused hot sauce and condiment brand Truff, reports Food Dive.

This represents the first capital investment for Skky, which launched last year—aiming to make minority investments in consumer goods companies. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

Truff “singlehandedly brought truffle-infused products into the mainstream food scene,” and has the potential for continued growth, Kardashian said in a statement.

The investment comes as premium hot sauce offerings—particularly with unique, trendy flavors and ingredient—grow in popularit,y along with the broader spicy foods category.

Founded in 2017, the Truff brand sells “luxury” truffle-infused hot sauce, pasta sauce, mayonnaise, oil and salt—which are available in over 20,000 stores nationwide. It saw a significant boost in popularity on social media in recent years and grew a dedicated fanbase, with its @sauce Instagram handle.

Truff also collaborated with major brands including Clorox’s Hidden Valley Ranch, with a limited-edition Truffle Ranch product in 2022.

The success of Truff follows spicy flavors gaining more prominence, particularly with younger consumers. A Datassential report earlier this year found that Milennials and Gen Z are the first generations to prefer Mexican food to Italian.

The hot sauce category is projected to be worth over $5 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.42%, according to Fortune Business Insights.

While a select few hot sauce brands like Tabasco have enjoyed mainstream success in the past, the growth of the category continues to bring more players into the fold, touting distinctive flavors and occasions.

Kraft Heinz debuted a line of premium sauces and spreads in 2022 under the Heinz 57 banner, which includes Hot Chili and Black Truffle Infused Honey items. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a line of Spicy Ketchup items, adding spice from chipotle, habanero.

Research contact: @FoodDive

PepsiCo brings hydration juggernaut Gatorade into water

September 20, 2023

Gatorade is launching its first-ever water offering as the multi-billion-dollar PepsiCo brand works to aggressively expand its dominant presence in hydration. The electrolyte-infused beverage, which was developed by the consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant to help support all-day hydration, will start hitting shelves in 2024, reports Food Dive.

Gatorade Water is both electrolyte-infused and is alkaline with a pH of 7.5 or higher.

“People are looking for wellness solutions throughout the day, not just when they are active,” Emily Boido, senior director of marketing at Gatorade, said in an interview. “We’re looking to provide a suite of solutions across our [Gatorade] portfolio that really hit whatever your individualized needs are—whether that’s performance, wellness, somewhere in between.”

For now, Gatorade Water will not incorporate flavors as it focuses on consumers who don’t want them in their beverages. Gatorade also owns Propel, a line of flavored fitness waters with electrolytes, vitamins and antioxidants that meet this need.

While Gatorade has become a juggernaut brand with annual sales topping $6 billion and more than 70% of the sports drink market, the brand is looking for other ways to meet the needs of the consumer.

Gatorade is far and away the market leader, but competitors such as Coca-Cola’s BodyArmor are growing in popularity. This places the impetus on the decades-old PepsiCo brand to find ways to keep itself relevant with its core audience, who turn to it for hydration, while finding other ways to attract and retain other users.

The water is the latest in a series of new offerings from Gatorade. In 2022, it entered the energy drink category with its first caffeinated beverage called Fast Twitch; and, later, gummies, its first dietary supplement.

A year earlier, it launched Gatorlyte, a beverage with more electrolytes and less sugar than its traditional sports drinks that is aimed at athletes who want “rapid rehydration.”

Water is a $25 billion category, but there are more than 30 million “active consumers” who are not purchasing enhanced water whom the new Gatorade extension aims to bring into the category, according to PepsiCo, citing IRI data.

Boido said the trust consumers have in Gatorade, its widespread brand recognition and PepsiCo’s marketing heft will enable them to “get [Gatorade Water] into the hands of consumers.”

Research contact: @FoodDive

From the freezer to the kiosk: Nestlé tests a vending machine that makes DiGiorno pizza in three minutes

August 18, 2023

With more than $1 billion in sales, Nestlé is testing a way to make a hot thin-crust DiGiorno pizza on demand in places such as college dorms and airports, as the world’s largest food company looks to move the brand “beyond the freezer,” reports Food Dive.

The kiosk, which looks similar to a Redbox DVD rental machine, enables consumers to order a cheese or pepperoni pizza for $9 that is delivered through a slot in the machine ready to eat in three minutes. Nestlé launched a pilot kiosk at a Colorado Walmart in April; and introduced a second one three months later at a company facility in Ohio where it develops frozen foods.

“This is about moving beyond the freezer, and fundamentally shifting the opportunity for us to serve consumers in places and occasions that we don’t have immediate access to today,” Adam Graves, president of Nestlé USA’s Pizza & Snacking Division, said in an interview. “The early results are encouraging and there are any number of imaginable applications where this concept in tech could go in the future.”

Nestlé said of the roughly 100 customers it surveyed who have purchased from the kiosk, 95% of them believed some aspect makes the hot DiGiorno pizza a good value and 92% see themselves buying another pizza from the kiosk in the future.

Nestlé is using the two DiGiorno kiosks it has rolled out already to determine whether it will expand the pilot, the pace at which it would do it, and where the kiosks would be located. Possible areas where the vending machine could appear include college campuses and dorms, home improvement stores, and airports. Nestlé said it is the first major consumer packaged goods company to do a pilot for an automated pizza vending machine.

If Nestlé decides to roll out the kiosk more widely, it could allow the company to grab a larger share of the frozen pizza market. The machines also potentially could become a threat to pizza delivery firms such as Domino’s and Papa John’s. 

and the need to service the technology. It’s a drastically different process than Nestlé’s existing business model in retail, Graves noted.

The company also is keeping a close watch on the quality of the pizza to ensure it is the same as what consumers expect from the frozen DiGiorno they purchase in stores.

“We’re being very mindful about how and where we scale because of that and the quality and trust commitment we have with consumers,” Graves said.

Research contact: @FoodDive

Lactalis brings dairy brand Président into whipped cream segment

August 11, 2023

Lactalis is bringing its specialty cheeses and gourmet butters brand, Président, into the whipped cream category, reports Food Dive.

The new Président French-Style Whipped Crème contains only high-quality ingredients and does not contain corn syrup, the company said. It is available in two variations, Original with Madagascar Vanilla and Extra Creamy.

The debut builds upon a trend among food companies to introduce premium food and beverage offerings that contain recognizable ingredients.

Until 2017, Lactalis North America, a division of the 90-year-old French dairy company, had a minimal presence in the States—mainly through its popular shelf-stable milk brand, Parmalat, and Président.

But six years ago, Lactalis purchased Stonyfield from Danone for $875 million, which gave the company a strong foothold in organic. Lactalis followed that in 2018 with the addition of Siggi’s, the New York-based maker of Icelandic-style yogurts using simple ingredients. The company then doubled down on its U.S. presence after it agreed to acquire products, including Breakstone’s and Knudsen, from Kraft Heinz a few years later.

Despite its purchase of new brands, Group Lactalis has not lost sight of its core offerings, such as Président. The move to bring Président into whipped cream is a logical step for a brand known for its premier dairy offerings, the company says.

The global whipping cream market size was valued at nearly $6 billion in 2018 and was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% from 2019 through 2025, according to the latest data from Grand View Research. The firm cited increased consumption of foods such as ice cream, cakes, milkshakes and cupcakes to be the primary factor in driving the product demand.

Président Whipped Crème joins a crowded category where companies like Conagra Brands through Reddi-wip and Kraft Heinz in Cool Whip have major presences. Lactalis is aiming to separate itself from these market leaders by embracing a slimmed-down ingredients list; and eschewing corn syrup, which has been shunned in recent years by a growing number of consumers.

Lactalis noted that Président Whipped Crème can provide an “authentic restaurant-style experience right out of the can.”

Research contact: @FoodDive

Coca-Cola to build $650M Fairlife plant in New York State

May 23, 2023

Coca-Cola has selected New York State as its “preferred location” for a new Fairlife production facility costing an estimated $650 million, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has announced, reports Food Dive.

The 745,000-square-foot facility—to be located in Webster, New York, a suburb of Rochester—is expected to create up to 250 new jobs. Coca-Cola expects to break ground on the project this fall and to have the facility operational by the fourth quarter of 2025. It will be the largest dairy processing plant in the Northeast. 

Fairlife has been a big winner for Coca-Cola recently as the beverage giant evolves into a “total beverage company” and invests in brands that have a long runway for growth. Last year, Coca-Cola said Fairlife topped $1 billion in annual retail sales for the first time.

While Coca-Cola is best known for brands such as Sprite, Dasani and its namesake soda, the Atlanta-based company has moved aggressively to build out a portfolio that is broader and, in many cases, healthier.

During CEO James Quincey’s tenure, Coca-Cola has purchased or acquired the remaining stakes in brands it didn’t already own—including Fairlife, sparkling water offering Topo Chico, and sports drink line BodyArmor.

Coca-Cola acquired the remaining stake of Fairlife, which makes ultra-filtered milk and dairy products, from its joint venture partner Select Milk Producers, a dairy cooperative, in 2020. Coca-Cola previously owned a 42.5% minority stake. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The ultra-filtered milk process removes the lactose and much of the sugar, and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium.

Fairlife, which launched in 2012, started with a high-protein milkshake aimed at athletes and has since expanded into other value-added dairy products, including its popular milk and ice cream.

The brand has grown nearly 30% year to date and currently a quarter of all U.S. households purchase a Fairlife product, Coca-Cola said, citing Nielsen data.

The New York plant would be Fairlife’s third in the United States. Coca-Cola has facilities in Coopersville, Michigan, and Goodyear, Arizona.

“Consumer demand for Fairlife products is at an all-time high, and a new production facility will allow us to significantly increase capacity and deliver fairlife to even more households across the country,” Tim Doelman,Fairlife’s CEO, said in a statement.

He added that as the brand continues its expansion in the Northeast, the New York location’s proximity and access to dairy farmers “make it an excellent location to support our next phase of growth.”

Coca-Cola is the latest large CPG company to build a new plant or expand an existing facility to prepare for an increase in sales of a product. Mondelēz International, Nestlé, J.M. Smucker, and Post Holdings are among the food and beverage to make multi-million-dollar announcements in recent years.

Research contact: @FoodDive

How Bazooka gum uses nostalgia to drive sweet success

May 2, 2023

In 1947, Topps created a bright pink bubble gum square with an initially tough chew, a sweet smell, and powerful sugary taste of fruit and cotton candy. A few years later, the company added to its wrapper the now iconic comic featuring Bazooka Joe and his gang, reports Food Dive.

Now, 76 years later, consumers are still chewing those hard-then-soft sweet squares and rectangles of Bazookagum. And while the confectionery space and consumer trends have changed considerably in the last three generations, Bazooka has not.

Rebecca Silberfarb, vice president of marketing in the Americas for Bazooka Candy Brands, said Bazooka has been able to maintain its iconic nature through the decades.

“What people knew about it 75 years ago—or in their childhood, however many years ago that was—is still true to the core of the brand,” she said. “We are a brand that brings, what we call in our company, edible entertainment.”

The children of today—as well as the children of yesterday—open the red, white and blue package of gum, read the comic, and chew the gum until it’s soft enough to try to blow a bubble, she said. The gum’s original formula is the same, the packaging is similar to that of decades ago, and eyepatched Bazooka Joe and his gang are still making people groan with comics full of dad jokes and sometimes head-scratching fortunes — like “You may want to wash your old sneakers.”

From a corporate standpoint, the company has been through a variety of changes. Bazooka was created by Topps, which also morphed into a well-known trading card company. Topps’ candy division became known as Bazooka Candy Brands in 2009. Through the years, it added brands including Ring Pop—its biggest seller — and Push Pop. Bazooka is actually one of the company’s smaller brands, Silberfarb said.

But for the most part, the company found their consumers wanted the classic Bazooka gum they’d known for years. Some of the less popular changes were walked back, while a few new innovations—like flavors and sugar-free gum—stayed around.

“It’s kind of keeping true to our consumer and what the product is, but really bringing it along for the ride as times change,” she said.

Bazooka’s sales are still growing, Silberfarb said. In the last year, Bazooka’s sales were up 10%, compared to the year before, she said. Today, most people who buy Bazooka are adults who enjoyed it years ago. “There’s a lot of adult nostalgia,” she said.

Research contact: @FoodDive

One-third of consumers can’t find a plant-based dairy product they like, survey finds

April 25, 2023

One-third of consumers say they have not found a plant-based dairy product that they want to drink, according to a survey by Singapore-based ingredients provider Ofi.

Indeed, Food Dive reports, while milk alternatives, such as almond and oat, have become popular over the past decade; barriers remain for some consumers, including taste, mouthfeel, and affordability.

Still, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they purchased at least one plant-based dairy product each week—and the same numbers reported buying milk alternatives along with regular dairy. Health and nutrition were listed as the most important factors when deciding to buy them.

Conversely, while 82% of those surveyed said they use animal-free products at least once a month, 7% said they went back to dairy after they did not enjoy their first plant-based alternative.

The survey from Ofi—the producer of the ingredients such as coffee, edible nuts and dairy—asked more than 1,500 adults about their adoption of plant-based dairy. Interest is rising, as 63% said they expect to purchase more products during the next two years.

The survey results indicate there are key areas plant-based dairy producers should concentrate on when conceiving new products, particularly flavors and health benefits, said Sonali Dalvi, Ofi’s vice president of Innovation.

“This is a call to action to the food and beverage industry. You need a fresh, creative approach to flavor creation, color, and texture development to make products that captivate consumers,” Dalvi said in a statement.

Given consumers’ prioritization of nutritious and functional aspects when choosing a dairy alternative, Dalvi said there is potential for formulations made from ingredients such as cocoa, nuts, and spices that feature clean-label attributes.

Affordability and accessibility also provide a barrier to entry for some consumers, the survey indicated, as 57% of those who eschew plant-based dairy said the prices are a significant factor.

As Gen Z moves away from dairy milk, the leading plant-based dairy alternatives continue to grow their sales. Large consumer packaged goods companies like Nestlé, Chobani, and Danone have leaned into the dairy alternative category with new products in recent years.

Oat milk, one of the leading product categories, is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 15.4% through 2028, according to Grand View Research.

The increase in consumer adoption of plant-based milks has resulted in more recognition for the category from federal regulators. In February, the FDA said plant-based milk products can can be labeled as “milk,” while recommending that producers add nutritional disclosures to their packaging to help consumers discern it from dairy milk.

Research contact: @FoodDive

Post moves from breakfast to nighttime with new sleep-promoting cereal

March 1, 2023

Post Consumer Brands has made a name for itself on supermarket shelves with popular offerings such as Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Grape Nuts. But a new product launch brings the cereal commonly associated with the morning breakfast table to late night as consumers wind down and prepare for bed, reports Food Dive.

The company’s new offering is called Sweet Dreams and, according to Post, it is the first ready-to-eat cereal designed to encourage a healthy sleep routine while satisfying late-night hunger.

The cereal comes in two flavors—Blueberry Midnight and Honey Moonglow—and contains ingredients such as whole grains and a nighttime herbal blend; and vitamins and minerals including zinc, folic acid, and B vitamins, which are meant to support melatonin production.

The cereal is the latest addition to a growing lineup of products on shelves that are designed to help sleep-deprived consumers. According to Life Extension data cited by Post, nearly 60% of people said they feel tired most of the time.

“As a brand that’s been helping early-risers crush their morning routines for over 100 years, we’re thrilled to now help fans also establish healthy nighttime habits by providing a nutrient-dense before-bed snack made to support a sleep routine they could only dream of until now,” Logan Sohn, senior brand manager at Post Consumer Brands, said in a statement.

According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of American adults in 2020 were not getting enough sleep on a regular basis — defined as seven hours or more per day. The agency added that 15% of adults at the time had trouble falling asleep most days or every day in the past 30 days.

Sleep difficulties are associated with chronic diseases, mental disorders, health-risk behaviors, limitations of daily functioning, injury, and mortality.

It’s a potentially large market and a big reason why companies are aiming to capture a slice of it. In 2020, PepsiCo launched a functional water called Driftwell, aimed at combating stress and inducing relaxation. The enhanced water contained 200 grams of L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea; and some herbal mushrooms; and 10% of the daily value of magnesium.

Additives to help people fall asleep are an increasing popular product enhancement these days. Several tea companies, including Hain Celestial and Twinings, have introduced products that contain value-added attributes, including ones that promote sleep. And in 2019, Nestlé tested a new chocolate called Goodnight, described as a “bedtime snack” that helps the consumer “drift off to dreamland.”

For Post, the new cereal provides the St. Louis-based company with a way to extend its reach beyond the morning, where it has a significant presence, to a different part of the day. A shopper looking to buy food for the morning with Post’s cereals could see Sweet Dreams sitting nearby and decide to toss a box in their cart during the same trip down the aisle.

While cereal in the morning typically touts the addition of vitamins and minerals, Sweet Dreams prioritizes ingredients that support natural melatonin production. It also simultaneously helps an individual who craves a snack before bed. With many people looking to eat anyway in the evening, having a cereal that also has a sleep-inducing benefit could prompt consumers to wake up to Sweet Dreams as part of their late-night routine.

Research contact: @FoodDive