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Period: December 15, 2020 to January 15, 2021
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Instacart’s Forecast Of Top Grocery Trends For 2021 Includes Keto

Among the grocery trends expected to gain prominence in 2021 – lower alcohol cocktails, bolder spices and condiments, greater selectivity by brand and store, etc. – is a dietary trend, according to the grocery delivery and pick-up service (San Francisco). Twenty-eight percent of those who tried a high-fat, low-carb keto diet in 2020 apparently liked it. Sales trends were consistent with the survey, as products with “keto” in the name saw a 72 percent increase in the Instacart marketplace. The 10 most popular keto products in the marketplace: KetoPint Salt and Caramel Keto Bar; Think! Keto Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie flavor; Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix; Sundae Shoppe Keto Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream; Sundae Shoppe Keto Cookie Dough Ice Cream; Lenny and Larry’s Keto Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie; Sundae Shoppe Keto Mint Chip Ice Cream; Epic Chicken Sriracha Protein Bar; Ratio Keto Friendly Strawberry Dairy Snack; and Ratio Keto Friendly Vanilla Dairy ...  More

"The Grocery Trends To Look Forward To In 2021", The Huffington Post, December 10, 2020

New Nightfood Packaging Emphasizes “Sleep-Friendly” Benefits

New packaging for the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based “sleep friendly” ice cream company’s products puts greater emphasis on better-for-you night-time snacking formulated for better sleep. The revamped packaging features the company’s familiar Cravemonsters in a bolder design with a new deep blue background for stronger shelf-presence. The packaging also suggests night-time cues to the consumer, according to the company. The “sleep-friendly” nutritional profile includes more prebiotic fiber, casein protein, calcium, magnesium, and zinc compared to regular ice cream, while containing less sugar, less fat, and fewer calories. These benefits are highlighted in detail on the back of each pint. During the 18 months the ice cream has been on store shelves, consumer reviews and company interviews determined that 95 percent of reviewers ticked 4 or 5 stars. Production of Nightfood pints in the new packaging is expected to appear on store shelves starting in March. The packaging update was executed by ...  More

"Nightfood Unveils New Packaging with Increased Emphasis on Sleep-Friendly Benefits and Nighttime Nutritional Profile", GlobeNewswire , December 09, 2020

Companies, Organizations  

Pretzel Pete Adds Seasoned Pieces To Lineup

The Hatboro, Pa.-based snack manufacturer has launched Seasoned Pretzel Pieces to its lineup of gourmet pretzel snacks. The pieces, made with soft red winter wheat flour, are available in three flavors: Smokey bacon and cheddar (buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, natural smoke flavor, and natural cheddar), Buffalo blue (hot sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic, vinegar, paprika, annatto, turmeric, and blue cheese), and cinnamon brown sugar (brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract). A 1/3-cup serving contains 150 calories, two grams of protein, eight grams of fat, and from zero to as much as four grams of sugar. All Pretzel Pete snacks are made from local, non-GMO ingredients and are free from artificial flavors, colors, flavor enhancers, peanuts, nuts, and sesame. Seasoned Pretzel Pieces come in multipacks that include four 10.5-oz packages for a suggested retail price of $19.50 per package. 

"Pretzel Pete launches Seasoned Pretzel Pieces", Food Business News, December 28, 2020

Canadian Company Announces New Amazon Strategy For Holy Crap Cereal

Toronto-based Plant & Co. announced it is making a strategic shift from Amazon's Vendor to Seller Central to grow existing Holy Crap cereal sales in Canada and position the product for expansion to the health and wellness market in the U.S. According to the company, Amazon's Seller Central will give it greater control over online product sales. Holy Crap cereal sales increased more than 120 percent in the second half of 2020 over the same period in 2019. Holy Crap contains certified organic, non-GMO, kosher, and gluten free ingredients, including hemp seed, buckwheat, chia seeds, and gluten-free oats. 

"Plant & Co. Brands Announces Holy Crap Cereal Brands' 2021 Amazon Sales Strategy", MarketWatch, December 22, 2020

Freedom Foods To Sell Health Cereal, Snacks Businesses To Arnott’s

The beleaguered Australian food company, which recently stunned investors when it revealed it had a nearly A$600 million hole in its accounts, is selling off its health cereal and snacks business to Arnott's, a company that was carved from the Campbell Soup Company last year in a A$3.2 billion deal led by private equity firm KKR. Freedom Foods, which is facing a shareholder class action as it tries to raise capital, will also change its name to distance itself from a recent trading and financial mess that has seen its chief executive and chief financial officer quit in quick succession after hundreds of millions of dollars of impairments drenched the accounts in red ink. The sale includes various cereal and snacks manufacturing facilities in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as the Freedom Foods, Messy Monkeys, Heritage Mill, and Arnold's Farm brands. It does not include the Crankt Protein brand.

"Arnott's bites into Freedom Foods", BakeryandSnacks.com, December 18, 2020

Egg Innovations Acquires Hard-Cooked Egg Snack Company Peckish

The Warsaw, Ind.-based free-range eggs producer announced it will acquire the hard-cooked egg snack brand Peckish, which recently returned to Whole Foods Market nationwide with redesigned packaging. Peckish is the third incubated concept from growth equity firm Sonoma Brands, which will team up with Egg Innovations to support its new Blue Sky Family Farms brand. Several egg brands (Eggland’s Best, Wilcox Organic, Organic Valley, Crystal Farms, and Vital Farms) have launched ready-to eat hard boiled eggs in recent years. But Peckish is the first to pair eggs with culinary inspired dips (Salt & Pepitas, Everything, Ranch, Fried Rice, Rancheros), and features a slightly softer boiled texture, while retaining food safety, according to the company.

"Egg Innovations acquires Peckish snack brand", Food Navigator USA, December 17, 2020

Nestlé’s Functional Powdered Milk Product For Adults Approved In China

The company claims the product, introduced under the Yiyang Active brand, has been clinically proven to enhance mobility during aging by supporting bone health, muscle strength, and joint functionality. The move from the Swiss food giant comes as global consumers are increasingly concerned about healthy aging. The powdered beverage is the first Nestlé product with functional food approval in China. It was developed by Nestlé R&D and clinically tested in a collaboration between Nestlé and the Peking University Third Hospital.

"Healthy aging in China: Nestlé unveils functional milk beverage supporting mobility", Food Ingredients First, December 16, 2020

Hormel Foods Introduces Plant-Based Protein Puffs Snack

Happy Little Plants protein puffs from the Austin, Minn.-based company provide 16 grams of plant-based protein per serving, contain no preservatives, are gluten-free and come in three varieties: ranch, nacho cheese, and cinnamon & sugar. They are available on Amazon in a variety pack (12 1.25-ounce bags) for $28.77. Hormel introduced the Happy Little Plants brand in 2019.

"The Maker of the Happy Little Plants Brand Launch New Plant-Based Protein Puffs", PR Newswire, December 15, 2020

New Dried Fruit And Nut Snack Mix, Cranberry Seeds, From Ocean Spray Cranberries

The Mass,-based cranberry farmer cooperative’s Craveology Fruit and Nut Snack Mix will be available in three variations – Spicy Coconut Curry, Vanilla Chai and Tuscan Herb – that blend spices and seasonings with walnuts, pecans, roasted peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, and cranberries. Each serving delivers 3-6 grams of protein with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The cooperative also launched Ocean Spray Cranberry Seeds, a snack made from an upcycled ingredient rich in fiber (1.6 times the amount found in chia and flax seeds), a good source of zinc, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids. In addition, naturally red in color, non-GMO, allergen free, and have no additives or preservatives.  

"Ocean Spray Launches Craveology Fruit and Nut Snack Mix, Featuring Simple Ingredients and Plant Protein", PR Newswire, December 15, 2020

Healthy Snack From Mark's Mindful Munchies Features Ancient Grains

The Boston-based snack company, developer of Stacy’s Pita Chips, has launched Pop Bitties crunchy, air-popped chips made from 100 percent whole grain sorghum, brown rice, quinoa, and chia. Available in Pink Himalayan Salt, Maple & Sea Salt, Hickory BBQ, and Vegan Sour Cream & Onion flavors, the chips are Non-GMO Project Verified, certified gluten-free, vegan, corn-free, and tree nut and peanut-free. A serving contains 120 calories without trans fats or artificial ingredients. Pop Bitties are available in 4.5-oz ($3.69) and 1-oz. ($1.49) bags both online and at grocery stores in the U.S. 

"New Ancient Grains-Based Pop Bitties Offers Earth-Friendly, Plant-Based Snacking", PR Newswire, December 14, 2020

U.K.’s Fairfields Farm Introduces Meat-Flavored Potato Chips

The company’s Rib of Beef Crisps are made from potatoes harvested on the farm only meters from the chip factory. Calling the chips a “taste of a delicious roast dinners in a bag,” the arftisan potato chips are priced at 80p ($1.08) a bag and are available at the East of England Co-op and online from www.fairfieldsfarmcrisps.co.uk. Fairfields Farm's other vegan flavors include Bacon & Tomato, Lightly Sea Salted, Sweet Chilli and Sea Salt & Aspall Cyder Vinegar.

"Essex crisp manufacturer launches new beef flavor (and it is vegan)", East Anglian Daily Times, December 12, 2020

Planet FWD Garners Additional Funding, Unveils “Climate-Friendly” Crackers

The San Francisco-based food startup founded by Zume co-founder Julia Collins has unveiled its first product, the “climate-friendly” crackers called Moonshot Snacks. The crackers are carbon neutral, organic, kosher, plant-based, non-GMO, and contain no added sugar. Available in sourdough sea salt, rosemary garlic, and tomato basil, a box costs $5.99. The company also announced an additional $2.5 million in funding led by Emerson Collective, Concrete Rose, MCJ Collective, and Arlan Hamilton, as well as existing investors, including BBG Ventures, January Ventures and Kapor Capital, among others. The company raised $2.7 million earlier this year. Collins says she hopes her success in climate-friendly foods will would encourage more farmers to implement regenerative agriculture practices.

"With another $2.5 million in funding, Julia Collins’ Planet FWD launches climate-friendly snack brand", Tech Crunch, December 10, 2020

Pretzels, Inc., Signals Expansion Plans With Investment In New Kansas Factory

The Indiana-based manufacturer of pretzels and other snacks announced “a significant investment” in the building of a state-of-the-art production facility in Lawrence, Kansas. In addition to creating new jobs, the 150,000-square-foot facility will increase the company's capacity across a range of products and formats. The factory is expected to be operational within a year. Pretzels, Inc. is a portfolio company of an affiliate of Peak Rock Capital, a middle-market private investment firm. The company makes a variety of flavored and stuffed pretzels for private label and national brands, and also sells pretzels under the Harvest Road brand.

"Pretzels, Inc. Announces Significant Expansion With New Facility In KC Region", PR Newswire, December 09, 2020

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

British Snack Maker Sold To Irish Food Company

Ireland’s Valeo Foods Group, owner of the Kettle chips, Jacob's biscuits, and Rowse honey brands, has acquired the Gateshead, U.K.-based snack manufacturer It’s All Good, which employs 265 people. The company, which makes pita chips and tortilla snacks, was backed by Newcastle private equity group NVM. The deal, which takes Valeo's annual sales above the €1 billion ($1.2 billion) mark, will see It’s All Good’s workers transfer to Valeo's snacking business. Since its founding in 2010, Valeo Foods has expanded rapidly, now selling food in more than 100 countries. The deal marks the exit of NVM, which backed former Union Snacks managing director Calum Ryder, who launched It’s All Good with two partners. 

"Snacks firm bought out by food giant Valeo", Business Live (U.K.), December 24, 2020

Innovation & New Ideas  

Nature's Path Installs UV Light Sanitation Technology To Protect Three Factories

The Canadian organic breakfast and snack food company says it is the first food manufacturer to install a state-of-the art sanitization technology in its North American production facilities. Far-UVC 222nm light technology, developed by Healthe, Inc. (Melbourne, Fla.) will increase the protections for employees against the spread of harmful airborne pathogens in its Delta, British Columbia, plant as well as facilities in Blaine, Wash., and in Sussex, Wis. Healthe AIR combines the germicidal properties of ultraviolet light and carbon activated filtration to improve air quality in indoor spaces. A fan draws air through a HEPA/carbon filter and into a sanitization chamber where UVC LEDs target and inactivate remaining pathogens. 

"Nature's Path Becomes the First Food Manufacturing Company to Install Far-UVC Light Technology in its North American Facilities", GlobeNewswire, December 17, 2020

Market News  

India’s Slurrp Farm Raises $2M To Fund Further Growth

The four-year-old healthy cereal and snack maker (Gurugram, Haryana) has raised $2 million from multi-stage venture fund Fireside Ventures, in its Series A funding round. The company in June 2018 raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round from various Indian investors. The company says the funds will be used for product innovation, marketing, and increasing inventory to meet ”increasing demand,"  It will also look to strengthen its team and fortify its direct-to-consumer channel. Slurrp Farm’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) grew 300 percent during the last six months and the company is “looking to grow at the same rate to an ARR of $5-$6 million in the next 12 months."  The Slurrp Farm portfolio of 25 products includes porridges and cereals, puffed snacks for children, millet pancakes, millet dosa, and cake mixes, available in India, UAE, and Singapore.

"Slurrp Farm lands $2 million Series A funding from Fireside Ventures", The Economic Times, December 24, 2020

Coca-Cola Lays Off 17 Percent Of Global Workforce

The company said it is laying off 2,200 workers – half of which are in the U.S. – as part of a larger restructuring aimed at paring down its business units and brands. As of the end of 2019, Coke employed 86,200 people worldwide. The restructuring process was accelerated by the pandemic, causing sales at places like stadiums and movie theaters to dry up due to lockdowns. Revenue fell nine percent to $8.7 billion in the July-September 2020 period. The company is also reducing its brands by half to 200. The layoffs won’t impact Coke’s mostly independent bottlers.

"Coca-Cola laying off 2,200 workers as it pares brands", Associated Press , December 18, 2020

Coca-Cola Philippines Names New Country Chief

The Taguig-based beverage company has named Antonio “Tony” V. Del Rosario, Jr. the country president starting in January.  The first Filipino to lead the Philippine operations in almost three decades, he will also serve as vice president of franchise operations for Coca-Cola East Region, representing the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Del Rosario is a 20-year veteran of Coca-Cola in the country, having served as general manager positions in Coca-Cola across Southeast Asian markets since 2008.

"Coca-Cola Philippines appoints new country president", Business World Online, December 11, 2020


Nature’s Fynd Invests In Commercialization Of Foods, Beverages Containing Fy

The Chicago-based a food technology company, formerly known as Sustainable Bioproducts, has big plans for its fungi protein called Fy, made by fermenting the fusarium strain flavolapis. According to the company, Fy contains all nine essential amino acids, and is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Nature’s Fynd plans to commercialize food and beverage products that contain Fy across the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack occasions. Fy has been shown to work in meat alternatives and dairy alternatives. To realize its commercialization plans, the company recently hired four executives with more than 60 years of combined experience working for food and ingredient companies, including Baljit Singh Ghotra as senior vice president of food innovation. He previously was vice president of food research at Archer Daniels Midland Co. 

"Fungi protein company adds four to executive team", Baking Business, December 19, 2020

Products & Brands  

Floor Foods Specializes In Innovative Nut-Based Snacks

The Middelburg, Netherlands-based producer of nut snacks is devoted to innovation in nut products in an era of increasing consumer awareness of health and diet. The company, whose main product focus is responsibly-produced fruit and vegetable snacks, innovative rice crackers, creative nut mixes, and seaweed snacks, recently developed a nut mix that includes cheese croutons. Another of its products is a nut mix with no added salt that is flavored with Dutch seaweed. New offerings must meet several conditions: vegan, low fat, gluten-free, and “trendy.” The company’s 50 products, marketed under the brand “Snaqs,” are supplied to the European retail, foodservice, and business-to-business sectors, can be served at any occasion, and can be used as an ingredient in meals. 

"Florus Zwartbol, Floor Foods: "Consumer trends lean toward innovative, responsibly produced snacks"", FreshPlaza.com, January 24, 2021

India’s Tapas Foods Hopes To Internationalize Healthy Snacks

The ambitious mission of the Udupi-based start-up is to make available its superfood snacks – makhana, also known as foxnuts or lotus seeds – globally. Makhana, which comes from a plant called euryale fox that grows in stagnant water, is said to be low in cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fats, and a good source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous. and protein. Tapas Foods offers two brands of makhana snacks – Tapas and Nummy – in plain and roasted varieties, and as ready-to-eat makhanas in cheesy, spicy, and tangy flavors, in small, medium, and large packs, among others. A three-pack (225 grams) is priced at Rs 369 ($5.04) on Amazon.

"This Udupi-based healthy snack brand wants to make natural superfoods like makhana available worldwide", Yourstory.in, December 25, 2020

U.K.’s Cheeky P’s Unveils Rebranded Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

The London-based snack company has rebranded its range of flavored crunchy chickpeas with “brazen and colorful packaging” to reflect a “playful style” and bold taste credentials. The Kickin’ Curry flavor will roll out alongside the brand’s latest addition to the range, Lip-smackin’ Cheese, in Sainsbury’s Taste of the Future trial bay in selected stores and online. Each of the flavors, which are fiber- and protein-rich, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly, are available in 40-gram bags at an RRP of £1 ($1.36).

"New look Cheeky P’s secures major listing in Sainsbury’s", Retail Times, December 21, 2020

Ferrero Group Acquires Eat Natural Snacks Company

The Luxembourg-based confectionery company has agreed to acquire the British maker of cereal bars, fruit and nut bars, toasted muesli, and granola for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is said to be part of a strategy to expand its footprint in the healthier snacking space to maintain its value among consumers who are increasingly focused on their health and what they consume. According to Bloomberg, the global healthy snacks sector – which has experienced a surge in sales recently, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – is expected to surpass $33 billion in value by 2025. Ferrero plans to build on Eat Natural’s (Epping, U.K.) strong brand authenticity, while pushing its expansion into new markets and category segments.

"Ferrero adds Eat Natural snacks to burgeoning better-for-you portfolio", Confectionery News, December 17, 2020

Bio & Me Extends Line Of Porridges, Mueslis

The Chester, U.K.-based gut-friendly granola brand has unveiled four new products – two porridges and two mueslis – set to roll out in 2021. The new additions provide a “diverse range of plant-based ingredients,” such as nuts, seeds, and grains on top of fruits and vegetables. The four products – Apple & Cinnamon Porridge, Super Seedy & Nutty Porridge, Fruit & Nut Muesli and Super Seedy & Nutty Muesli – will launch at Booths and Planet Organic in January, priced at £3.75 ($5.09) for the porridge and £3.99 ($5.42) for the muesli (both 450 grams). Both new ranges will feature the European Food Safety approved Good for the Gut health claim, in line with its granola products.

"Bio & Me adds porridges and mueslis to gut-friendly lineup", thegrocer.co.uk, December 16, 2020

Cereal Companies Try Positioning Breakfast Fare As Anytime Snacks

To combat shrinking breakfast cereal sales, companies like General Mills and Kellogg have been working to reposition product portfolios as on-the-go snacks. General Mills, for example, has partnered with Hershey to launch five new cereals and Kellogg launched big format cereals as it steadily works to convert its breakfast brands into snacks. Gaining traction in the market are out-of-the-box flavors and indulgent choices, according to Food Dive, and the indulgence trend is enduring as the pandemic strengthens consumption of sweet snacks. Cereal makers have indulgence-type snackers in their sights as a primary market. With 30 percent of cereal already eaten outside of breakfast, Kellogg and General Mills are targeting Millennials looking to relive their childhood with new sweet varieties of cereals or snacks remembered from years past

"New launches highlight cereal's use as a snack", Food Dive, December 11, 2020


Snack Companies Experiment With Carbon-Neutral Products

Snack companies young and old are trying to keep up with the conscious consumerism trend by introducing carbon neutral – or “climate-positive” – snacks. Among the bigger food players offering the innovation is PepsiCo and its Walkers Chip line in the U.K. The company has partnered with British clean tech firm CCm Technologies (Oxford) , which is using carbon-capture technology to help  Walkers turn its leftover potato peelings into new low-carbon fertilizer. Walkers is installing CCm’s equipment at its Leicester-based factory in 2021 to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 70 percent in its crisps line. Other companies dabbling in carbon-neutral technology include Mondelez and its recently-launched NoCOé crackers brand, Planet FWD and its Moonshot Snacks, and start-up Impact Snacks.

"Carbon-Neutral Snacks Are Coming To A Supermarket Shelf Near You – The Rise Of Climate Positive Food", Green Queen, December 21, 2020

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