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  1. Research Suggests Breakfast Cereals Are Getting A Reputation Makeover
  2. Pretzel Sales Benefit From Pandemic Shopping Trends, But Also From Healthy Halo
  3. Gutzy Keep Moving’s Lineup Of Gut-Healthy Snacks Flourishes In COVID-19 Era
  4. Innovation – And The Pandemic – Drives Potato Chip Success
  5. China’s Dehydrated Vegetable Companies Get A Pandemic Shot In The Arm
  6. Pretzels Offer A Good Balance Between Indulgence And Better-For-You, IRI Says
  7. Comfort, Flavor, Value, Functionality Were Hallmarks Of Cracker Sales In Early-2020
  8. Coke Bottlers In U.S. Turn To Cost Cutting To Weather Pandemic Storm
  9. Coca-Cola Has Its Eye On Post-Pandemic Resurgence
  10. Market Researchers Reveal Snacking Trends For 2020
  11. COVID-19 Lockdowns Drive Growth Of Snack Market
  12. Costa Coffee Chain Plans Significant Layoffs As Pandemic Keeps British At Home
  13. Nut Snack Providers Faced With Tons Of Unwanted Product As Airlines Cut Flights
  14. Virtual Food Expo Spotlights Promising New BFY Snacks
  15. NatureBox Shifts Its Office Snacks Business To Company-Subsidized Home Snacks
  16. India’s Prataap Snacks Debuts Snack Augmented With “Omega”
  17. Sun-Maid Revamps Raisin Snacks Line For Pandemic Back-To-School Season
  18. Nature’s Bakery Introduces “Recess Edition” Of Snacks For At-Home Families
  19. Lucozade Ribena Suntory urns To Packaging Solutions To Deal With Loss Of Store Traffic
  20. Nestlé’s Pandemic Response Is To “Rethink” The Out-Of-Home Business, Not “Right-Size” It
  21. Coca-Cola Introduces Contact-Less Freestyle Vending Machines
  22. Indulgent Snacks Are A Form Of “Self-Medication” During Coronavirus Crisis
  23. Annies Reports Boost In Sales After Partnering With U.S. Subscription Food Firm
  24. Kerry Reports On Food Flavor Trends Including Emerging Snack Flavors
  25. Pandemic Wreaks Havoc On Healthful Snacks: Is There Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
  26. Starbucks To Close 400 Stores As It Expedites “Pickup” Store Concept
  27. As The Pandemic Grinds On, Coke Believes Even More Strongly in Innovation
  28. Coca-Cola Japan Is Now Using Virus- And Bacteria-Resistant Coatings On Vending Machines
  29. Big Producers Prosper As Pandemic Shutters Neighborhood Coffee Shops
  30. Nestlé U.K. Steps Up DTC Activities With Delivery Partnership
  31. Coca-Cola Adjusts Its Tactics As Recession May Last Longer Than Hoped
Breakfast cereal, long in decline as consumers turned to lower-carb, less processed breakfast foods,  is shaking free from some of its negative stereotypes as consumers look for relief from pandemic-related pressures. The research from General Mills found that these pressures include balancing tighter budgets due to lost jobs, maintaining family health in a time of spreading coronavirus, and preparing every meal at home. When the pandemic forced consumers to reduce the frequency of grocery trips, many people gave shelf-stable options – like cereal – a second look. More than half of the survey respondents (55 percent) said cereal was their children’s top choice for breakfast and one that many parents are confident offering to ensure their families consumed essential key vitamins and minerals. And many cereals now provide whole grain and fiber.
Market data from industry researcher IRI confirm the huge impact the coronavirus has had on stay-at-home snacking generally, and surprisingly on pretzels, which trailed some other snack categories in previous years. Heading into 2020, dollar sales of pretzels grew as volumes declined, mainly because of price increases. That trend was altered heading into May 2020, however, with dollar sales growing 20 percent. IRI projects that the category will grow 13 percent in the remainder of the year. After a lot of stockpiling, consumers are no longer facing shortages, and have added pretzels – soft and hard, large and bite-size – into their snacking mix as a more healthful alternative. Opportunities to keep pretzel sales growing beyond the pandemic may lie in that perceived healthier halo, IRI says. 
The New York, N.Y.-based maker of the Gutzy organic brand of gut-healthy fruit, vegetable, and botanical snacks says its products are now available on refrigerated shelves at Meijer and Ingles retail stores, as well as online at Amazon. The accelerated distribution growth is a result of COVID-era consumer trends, especially the surge in shopping activity that reflects consumers proactively managing their own health. Each pouch of Gutzy snacks has five to six grams of prebiotics. The trend has helped the company expand its distribution to the produce and grab-and-go refrigerated snack sections of about 650 stores and has driven its DTC ecommerce business. The company now offers several DTC flavor options in 32-pouch packs. 
An almost overnight change in snacking behavior brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has driven potato chip sales through the roof: up $51 billion for the first quarter of 2020, compared to last year. Innovation in the category with products like kettle-cooked chips has also played a major role in fueling the trend. And producers have responded to consumer preference for healthier snacks by lowering salt and using quality oils with health benefits. Utz’s Boulder Canyon kettle-cooked potato chips, for example, are cooked in healthier oils like avocado, coconut, olive, sunflower, safflower, and rice bran. But flavor is what keeps customers coming back for more. Herr Foods has launched a new Flavor Mix that includes Cheddar and Sour Cream and Onion; Barbecue and Salt and Vinegar; and Red Hot and Honey Barbecue.
Thanks to the pandemic, consumers in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and South Korea have increased their snacking. This, in turn, has boosted sales of dehydrated vegetables, a major ingredient in most of the convenience food products. During the first four months of this year, a city in China’s Zhejiang province exported more than 800 metric tons of dehydrated vegetables, up 81.3 percent on a yearly basis. The export value of the products was $2.94 million. Huzhou Fresh Food's dehydrated vegetables were mainly exported to the U.S. and Europe, including dehydrated tomatoes, red peppers, and cabbages to Belgium. Major Chinese snack makers such as Wuhu, Anhui Three Squirrels Electronic Commerce Co Ltd, and Bestore Food Co Ltd, have also benefited from the trend: they have been developing healthier high-quality snacks like fruit and vegetables crunches in recent years.
Analysts at IRI advise pretzel bakers that shoppers looking for a balance between indulgent and better-for-you snacks, especially during the pandemic, can find that balance in pretzels, for several reasons. Pretzel snacks often feature savory and higher-protein doughs that fit well in several trending diets, including low-sugar, high-protein, and plant-based diets. As bakers struggle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, they can implement several tactics to drive growth for the category and their own sales. Highlighting health and wellbeing claims on snack packaging is a good place to start. They can also share at-home consumption ideas with consumers that will engage and excite them with options for versatile shelf stable and frozen pretzels. Lastly, bakers should adapt prices and sizes “to ensure a good mix, price and value in conjunction with private label across channels to maximize foot and click traffic as well as sales,” said IRI analyst Sally Lyons Wyatt.[Image Credit: © Couleur from Pixabay]
As homebound shoppers stocked up on familiar and traditional shelf-stable snacks that deliver comfort, nostalgia, and flavor during the pandemic, dollar sales for crackers leapt 14.1 percent for the four months ending April 5, 2020, year-over-year. Sales were up 6.8 percent over the previous quarter ending June 14, 2020. Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Snacks has introduced more than a dozen new cracker products this year. Traditionals like Kellogg’s Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Nabisco’s Ritz Crackers earned the most dollar sales. Pepperidge Farm Flavor Blasted Goldfish sales rose 19.6 percent. But customers were also looking for healthful attributes, e.g. fiber as a functional benefit. TH Foods’ Crunchmaster brand launched a line of fiber-rich Grain-Free Crackers. Also high on the shopping list were functional snacks that boost energy or satiate hunger mid-morning or afternoon. Another cracker shopping trend: larger package sizes. Crunchmaster launched a 10-oz Party Pack of its bestselling Multi-Seed Original Crackers to appeal to value-seekers.  [Image Credit: © WikimediaImages from Pixabay]
COVID-19 has toppled the decades-old business model of the more than 70 independent Coca-Cola bottlers in the U.S. As lockdowns pushed customers to grab cases of Coke, Fanta, and Sprite at grocery stores rather than at gas stations, restaurants, and stadiums, bottlers were forced to keep stores stocked with bigger, often less-profitable packages. Profitable sales to restaurants and convenience stores remain down, only a fraction of what they were before the pandemic hit the United States. A resulting body blow was the shortage of aluminum cans thanks to surging demand for canned drinks by people staying home. Workers at bottling companies have borne the brunt of these conditions. Coca-Cola Consolidated, the biggest U.S. Coke bottler, reported a 3.6 percent slide in quarterly net sales, but was able to increase adjusted operating income by 5.4 percent after furloughing about 700 people without pay.[Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company]
CEO James Quincey told investors at a Barclays conference recently that his company is determined to emerge from the pandemic with more customers and a more engaged, slimmed down organization. Coke restructuring during the pandemic crisis involved streamlining its portfolio and its global organization. The changes, which include easing its customer supply chain through reduced SKU management, offer a “golden opportunity” for the No. 13 consumer goods company to accelerate the focus on portfolio winners that attract and keep customers globally.[Image Credit: © Business Wire, Inc./The Coca-Cola Company]
The major trend uncovered by recent snack market research data is the pervasive impact of the coronavirus pandemic – and associated stay-at-home behaviors. Because of the pandemic, and ensuing panic buying, consumers bought indulgent treats like salty snacks in larger quantities. Salty snacks – potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese snacks, etc. – have been the No. 2 food item contributing to dollar growth at retailers since early March, according to IRI, and tallied $21 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ending June 14. As the country reopens, Industry observers expect continued: demand for large package sizes and multipacks; reliance on ecommerce; strong emphasis on flavor, especially bold flavors, international and regional; and reliance on good quality, cheaper private label snacks. Lastly, “In the long-term, pent-up demand will reignite consumer preference for the new and different, the unusual.”[Image Credit: © Thomas B. from Pixabay]
A Transparency Market Research (Albany, N.Y.) report finds that the global lockdowns associated with COVID-19 will be a long-term boon for the snack products market. Companies will be able to expand across untapped regions and opportunities over the next decade. Consumers working from home have fueled a preference for “indulgence on-the-go.” Other trends to watch over the next ten years include: growth in the popularity of vegan snacks; increased focus on sustainability and food packaging; more collaborations between food delivery partners and snack companies; growing interest in clean-label and allergen-free foods; and a surging popularity in ready-to-eat products[Image Credit: © Steve Buissinne from Pixabay]
Coca-Cola’s Costa Coffee chain, which employs about 16,000 people at 1,600 stores in the U.K., announced plans to lay off as many as 1,650 workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes the elimination of the assistant store manager position in U.K. stores. Coffee shop business in town centers and cities has been battered as many workers remain home, despite the encouragement of the British government to return to places of employment. Costa said it will try to find alternative jobs within the business for those at-risk where possible and will provide support for those leaving the business.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]
The coronavirus pandemic has forced airlines to reduce flights and limit onboard services to cut costs. These changes have affected a variety of companies that support the airline industry, including suppliers of nut mixes to first-class passengers. They have been stuck with a glut of unneeded products at risk of spoilage. For example, GNS Foods, a woman-owned, family business that supplies United Airlines, was stuck with more than fifteen tons of warehoused baggies of mixed nuts and raw ingredients. The company has turned to retail channels, selling its goods at what it says are "near-cost" prices. Nut lovers can find two-pound bags of the Elite Status mix (that's whole cashews and whole almonds) for $7.99 on the company's online storefront, and of the Elite Status Hawaii mix (whole cashews, whole almonds, and large whole macadamia nuts) for $10.99, a lot less than the prices at Whole Foods Market.[Image Credit: © GreatNuts.com]
The coronavirus pandemic may have put the kibosh on live food industry shows, but Sosland Publishing sidestepped the problem with its online Food Entrepreneur Expo, an interactive event for retail buyers, marketers, product developers, ingredient suppliers, and company founders. The company made sure “dozens” of registrants were able to sample new products, including cauliflower crisps, sprouted buckwheat clusters, crispy salmon skins, and more. Among the show winners were 12 Tides Seaweed Co., a maker of puffed seaweed snacks in savory flavors including sea salt, black pepper and everything seasoning; and Mavericks, a better-for-you children’s snacking brand offering a range of low-sugar cookies and crackers with eight grams of whole grains. [Image Credit: © 12 Tides]
As the office snacks business collapsed amid pandemic lockdowns and closings, the California  company shifted to a new business model: delivering subsidized snacks to employees working at home. NatureBox says the approach didn’t work in every case, mainly because keeping remote-working employees stocked in snacks is not a top priority with all the pressure to cut costs. But many firms are eager to continue offering snacks to show appreciation for staff working at home. For $25 per employee each month, the company delivers customized snack boxes directly to employees at home or at the office. A second option is to give a free corporate membership to employees who can buy discounted better-for-you snacks themselves.[Image Credit: © NatureBox]
Acknowledging the healthful food trend and a snacking surge induced by the coronavirus pandemic, the Indore, India-based snacks company, known for its potato chips and other savory treats marketed under the brand Yellow Diamond, plans to launch “Omega fortified Potato Chips,” its first healthy offering. According to the company, “a set of people have started looking for a 'better for you' version of snacks,” so “we also want to have that product in our portfolio." The healthful food trend notwithstanding, the company says it is working on products in the sweet and salty snacks category.[Image Credit: © Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay]
Adapting to new consumer food shopping behaviors, the Fresno, Calif.-based cooperative of raisin growers is targeting moms navigating the new normal of the back-to-school season with a new marketing campaign touting a repackaging initiative that includes multi-pack products.  As of March, demand for Sun-Maid products was up considerably, the company said, spurring the company to ramp up production.  The company has also benefited from the at-home cooking trend. Sun-Maid Raisin sales were up 18.2 percent in the last fiscal quarter. The 108-year-old brand is promoting options such as Sun-Maid Bites (snack-bite clusters of whole fruit, oats, and nuts), which come in four flavors and in a multi-serve pack. The full marketing campaign includes a partnership with the author of the Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker children’s books, about looking at situations from a new perspective.[Image Credit: © Sun-Maid Growers of California]
The Pasadena, Calif.-based fig bar and soft-baked snacks maker’s Snack Sized Adventures: Recess Edition kits, designed to support back-to-school families during the pandemic, are available free to parents who apply online. The free limited-edition kits contain supplies, activities, and snacks to “encourage much-needed at-home recess breaks whether kids are hybrid or distance learning this fall.” The company says the recess kits offer parents a chance to “put their own spin” on recess that children don't have to miss out on because they're not at school. Eligible participants can enter for a chance to win one Recess Edition box online until September 30, 2020. The kits contain a variety of Nature's Bakery snack bars and materials, such as chalk, cones, bean bags, and more, “to create a world of imagination and play whenever the recess bell (figuratively) rings.” [Image Credit: © Nature's Bakery/PRFoto]

Hurt by pandemic-induced store closings in downtown business districts all over the U.K., the soft drink manufacturer is focusing now on its portfolio of larger take-home bottles and multipacks. The closings and decline of impulse-driven soft drink purchases has led to dramatic growth in online shopping. The company says one-liter bottles and multipacks of Lucozade and Ribena squash had experienced “great growth” after the business increased availability for those products online and in-store. Out-of-home consumption of the two brands started to return in June and July as lockdown restrictions eased and non-essential retailers reopened along with restaurants, cafes and pubs.[Image Credit: © Lucozade Ribena Suntory]
Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider told investors recently that the company has no plans to “right-size” its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is definitely “rethinking” categories like coffee and water and will adapt wherever possible in the out-of-home business. That means less hotel and restaurant business “for a while going forward,” Schneider said. But he noted that many more consumers have ordered in from restaurants and dark kitchens during the crisis, so “there's almost like a blurring of the lines between what is in-home consumption and what is out-of-home consumption.” Nestlé’s out-of-home sales declined by as much as 60 percent in the first half of the year as offices, restaurants, and hotels closed. The company’s year-to-date profit increased 18 percent to 5.9 billion Swiss francs ($6.5 billion); earnings per share increased 22 percent to 2.06 Swiss francs ($2.29). [Image Credit: © Nestlé]
The new Freestyle beverage dispensers allow consumers to pick and pour drinks using their smartphones without having to sign up for a membership or download an app. Coca-Cola’s goal is to provide a safe and hygienic “touchless fountain experience” during the coronavirus pandemic. The software that powers the RFID chip-equipped machines will be pushed to more than 10,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers this summer, and eventually to all Freestyle dispensers by the end of the year. The company said it is also is giving customers access to various touch-free safety solutions, including hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, and disposable stylus pens.The new Freestyle beverage dispensers allow consumers to pick and pour drinks using their smartphones without having to sign up for a membership or download an app. Coca-Cola’s goal is to provide a safe and hygienic “touchless fountain experience” during the coronavirus pandemic. The software that powers the RFID chip-equipped machines will be pushed to more than 10,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers this summer, and eventually to all Freestyle dispensers by the end of the year. The company said it is also is giving customers access to various touch-free safety solutions, including hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, and disposable stylus pens.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]
Consumers are increasingly turning from healthful snack options to indulgent ones during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the NPD Group. Thirty-seven percent of surveyed consumers told NPD in April they wanted to make sure they were well-stocked on salty snacks, frozen sweets, and sweet or savory foods more than other, more healthful items. Snack food consumption has risen eight percent during the pandemic. Research has shown that people turn to comfort food, a form of “self-medication,” because of stress, and gravitate toward products with high fat or sugar. Chips, cookies, and other indulgent, inexpensive foods have a long shelf life, making them more attractive to homebound consumers.[Image Credit: © Shutterbug75 from Pixabay]
The New Zealand-based snack maker shifted its business model and marketing strategy in response to the COVID-19 crisis and is now enjoying a million-dollar revenue turnaround. Annies saw its retail fruit bar and snack sales sputter early in the pandemic as consumers stayed home. The company then struck a deal with California-based subscription food box company Imperfect Foods in February. Annies sends products to Imperfect Foods under a private label, and puts its own branding on products delivered in a weekly food box. The U.S. is Annies' fastest-growing market: the company, owned by Māori food and beverage producer Kono, expects a 420 percent growth rate in the current financial year. [Image Credit: © Annies]
Food and beverage flavor company Kerry (Teterboro, N.J.) says the pandemic’s crimp in consumer travel plans is fueling a desire to sample the world’s many exotic flavors, a trend known as “geo-based taste desires.” Global flavors include tropical notes such as dragon fruit, mangosteen, natsumikan, citrus, yuzu, matcha, and acai. Other international flavors likely to gather interest in the snacks world include za’atar (Middle Eastern spice blend), seaweed, bird’s eye chili, carom, edamame, and shichimi. Carom is an Indian herb commonly dry-roasted or fried in clarified butter. Shichimi, a common Japanese blend of roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seed, hemp, poppy seed, ginger, and seaweed, is used traditionally to flavor soups, noodle dishes, meats, and seafood. And now, maybe, snacks.[Image Credit: © Kerry Inc]
The coronavirus pandemic’s stay-at-home orders gave a boost to conventional comfort foods, including salty snacks. Cracker sales jumped nearly 40 percent Y-O-Y in March; sales of Lay’s and Tostitos were up 32 percent and 42 percent, respectively. But that had a dampening effect on sales of new healthful snacks with ingredients like cassava and chickpeas, and with flavors such as basil, avocado, and sweet chili. Over time, consumers are likely to come back to these innovative BFY snacks, though a persistent economic downturn may keep consumers from buying non-essentials, including snacks of all kinds. The good news? A post-recession period could spark demand for premium, innovative options, including snacks that deliver vitamins and minerals, probiotics, fiber, collagen, and cannabidiol.[Image Credit: © UpliftFood]
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Starbucks says it is speeding up the rollout of its new mobile-ordering-powered “Pickup” store concept. It will also expand access to curbside pickup, drive-thru, and walk-up counters in less dense, suburban markets. The company said it will close up to 400 company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada over the next 18 months, as it rolls out the new format stores and makes other changes. In its 2nd fiscal second quarter, Starbucks opened approximately 200 net new stores in the Americas, and it plans a total of 300 net new stores in fiscal 2020, down from the original expectation of 600 stores, an indicator of the effect of the pandemic.[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation]
Coca-Cola is committed to innovation as a growth engine, especially now during the coronavirus pandemic. By staying local, by reacting quickly to developments, by staying tuned to consumer needs, and by determining “what behaviors are short-term versus those that may stick” as the pandemic drags on, the company will be able to turn challenges into opportunities. An example is hygiene, a particular concern of consumers now. "Building touchless solutions in the away-from-home channel is a big opportunity we need to tap into,” says Coca-Cola CFO John Murphy. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, Coca-Cola vending machines have started to accept bitcoin to reduce the number of contacts consumers need with the machine. [Image Credit: © The Coca Cola Company]
Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. announced it is making 30,000 of its about 700,000 vending machines in the country resistant to viruses and bacteria as hygiene awareness grows amid the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Product selection buttons and dispensing slots of the 30,000 vending machines located in public spaces like hospitals and train stations across the country will be covered with antiviral and antibacterial film coatings. The company says the coatings’ strong antiviral and antibacterial properties are effective against the new coronavirus. The film coatings will be replaced every six months. Beverage firm  Ito En Ltd. started using antibacterial coatings comprising used tea leaves on some 30,000 vending machines in Japan starting this month.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

As pandemic lockdowns force closures of smaller specialty coffee shops, bigger coffee makers like Nestlé and Starbucks with ready access to retail could see their brands grab a bigger share of the market. Supermarket coffee sales have risen since March, as consumers buy more coffee to get their fix at home. In the 13 weeks ended May 17, U.S. retail coffee sales at supermarkets and other outlets rose 15 percent from a year earlier, according to IRI data. But “at-home increases for coffee will never compensate for food-service loss,” according to Judy Ganes, the president of J. Ganes Consulting, which follows the coffee industry. “Recovery won’t be quick.”[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation]

Nestlé U.K. has joined forces with Deliveroo’s Essentials delivery platform so that stay-at-home British consumers can have a variety of its brands delivered to their door during the pandemic. Customers place orders via the Deliveroo app with deliveries available from 11 sites in Leeds, London, Manchester, and Nottingham. Other big food manufacturers that have turned to the direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel in recent months include PepsiCo rolling out new websites selling its snacks and drinks in the U.S., and Kraft Heinz launching an e-commerce operation (Heinz to Home) in the U.K. giving consumers a chance to buy its products. The move to DTC at least partly replaces lost revenue from the closure of some retail stores and most hospitality venues during the pandemic.[Image Credit: © Nestlé]
Two months ago, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said he expected a V-shaped recovery from the pandemic-caused recession, but was preparing for more of a U-shape. He now sees an extended U, which means "a protracted adjustment coming along" that could require working remotely through the end of summer. Usually, sales are split roughly 50-50 between beverages consumed at-home and those consumed at restaurants, cafes, events, and stadiums. But, despite upticks in beverage sales for at-home and e-commerce, he said it's been "not nearly enough ... to compensate for the away-from-home sales that we're losing." He also noted that given current conditions, it would be both ineffective and "tone-deaf" to spend much on advertising for Q2, so much of the funding is being redirected to "community support actions." He expects an increase in marketing activity and "some channel shifts" in the second half, with a focus on "where does reactivation occur" and lowering price points. [Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]
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