Diet detox days

The annual January detox gives suppliers an opportunity to introduce consumers to the healthier options they they have on offer.

Nick Stuart, commercial manager at United Biscuits UK, says: “Healthy eating and healthier alternatives continue to be significant profit opportunities for wholesalers, especially at the beginning of the New Year when consumers are feeling guilty after over-indulging during the Christmas period. Wholesalers that don’t stock the right mix of healthy products will see their business suffer as their customers go elsewhere to get what they want. While historically women have been seen to be the main purchasers of healthier alternatives, we are witnessing strong sales growth among men so wholesalers should be stocking products that cater for them accordingly.

“It is clear that healthier biscuits are proving significant results for wholesalers. We recognise this and, with the reduced saturated fat ranges and nutritional upgrades, we expect the segment to continue to show strong growth throughout the next year.”

UBUK’s Fruit Bakes now contain one portion of fruit per bake. The golden baked bar range is also under 131 calories. The range includes Apple, Apple amp; Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Strawberry and Cherry.

Stuart adds: “Wholesalers shouldn’t forget the eating on the go opportunity. Consumers want to eat snacking products to fit in with their time poor, hectic lifestyles but don’t always want chocolate or crisp options. go ahead! Yoghurt Breaks and Crispy Fruit Slices snack packs provide wholesalers with the perfect proposition and format to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Arla has added to its Lurpak range with the introduction of Lurpak Lightest Spreadable. The new spread is available in 500g tubs and can be used for baking, spreading, mashing and as a topping.

According to Arla, the campaign for Lurpak Lightest Spreadable educates consumers that healthy eating isn’t about calorie counting and depriving yourself of tasty food, but is bigger, much more exciting and more creative than that.

Simon Stevens, senior vice president for Arla UK, said: “Lurpak Lightest Spreadable is Arla’s biggest launch in 10 years. It has taken over a decade to develop and is a response to UK consumer demand for healthy products that don’t compromise on taste.

“When tested against similar products in the market, consumers are genuinely excited at the prospect of a low fat spreadable made with real butter that tastes great. We’re convinced that this is the right product to allow us to continue growing our brand, as well as the category. This is why we’re backing the launch with our biggest ever marketing campaign for a new product.”

Pankaj Sharma, spreads category director at Unilever UK, says: “Health products now occupy a 27% share of the overall butters and spreads category highlighting that health is a real priority for shoppers, and is being reflected in their shopping patterns. This reinforces that price is not the only factor to influence shopping habits; consumers will pay more for a perceived benefit of health, taste or convenience.”

Last year Unilever launched Flora Cuisine, a blend of linseed, rapeseed and sunflower oils which has 45% less fat than olive oil. Since the launch in March last year, Unilver reports value sales of over pound;4m.

Sharma says: “The interest in healthier products presents a real opportunity to drive volume and value sales in the category by stocking new products, while still catering to consumers demand. Innovation and competition in spreads is strong and there is now enough choice to suit every consumer need and desire.”

Colin Smith, commercial director at M uuml;ller Dairy, says: “Research throws up a lot of mixed messages when it comes to healthier eating trends. Findings from the Food Standards Agency reveal that there are generally good levels of awareness among consumers about the factors which contribute towards a healthy lifestyle 90-95% of the population says that it’s important to cut down on food and drinks with high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat, and a similar percentage believe keeping physically active is important.

“There’s also been a long-term steady increase in ‘healthy’ being cited by consumers as an important consideration in choosing what to eat and drink. ‘Health’ now accounts for 23% of the decision-factor more than double the 11% share recorded in 1995.”

According to M uuml;ller, throughout the year, average weekly sales account for 1.5% of M uuml;llerlight annual sales but sales of the leading fat free yogurt brand tend to double during January and February with more consumers buying M uuml;llerlight during this period.

Smith says: “It’s these sharp uplifts that catch wholesalers and retailers out if they haven’t taken into account seasonal adjustments to purchasing patterns.”

M uuml;ller Dairy is introducing a new Toffee flavour as a limited edition Vitality yogurt four-pack and as a permanent line in Vitality yogurt drink six-pack.

M uuml;ller is also introducing a new look with all Vitality yogurt four-packs and yogurt drink six-packs featuring the blue M uuml;ller pack designs launched across M uuml;ller Corner, M uuml;llerlight and M uuml;ller Rice.

Lee Doherty, head of specialist accounts at Kellogg’s UK, says: “Mintel has estimated that the size of the UK diet and weight control market in 2011 was a staggering pound;1.6bn. These figures have been steadily increasing since 2008 and are likely to continue. This is why it is such a good opportunity for wholesalers to capitalise on this demand and stock healthier options such as the Special K range.

“Our products are performing better than ever demonstrated by the fact that the symbol and wholesale sector has seen 7% growth and is now the fastest growing sector in the company.

“Healthy options are popular in the wholesale channel as the level of demand for these items is generally consistent across the board, although there are obvious peaks post Christmas time and in the summer when diets are common among consumers. It therefore makes sense for wholesalers to have a strong portfolio of top selling variants. Innovation also plays a very important role here too and wholesalers are always hungry for more of it.”

The Special K Original and Special K Red Berries now have smaller case sizes and smaller pound;2.39 price-marked packs.

Kieran South, wholesale director at PepsiCo UK, says: “Healthy messages are everywhere and the drive to encourage consumers to adopt healthier diets and lifestyles is evident, not only in the food industry’s healthier NPD programmes, but also in its efforts to reformulate existing brands.

“PepsiCo has been working towards creating a healthier and more sustainable future for some time, leading the way on reducing levels of salt and saturated fat as well as developing new healthier snacks.”

According to PepsiCo, 2011 has been a year of rapid growth for its SunBites range with sales up by 48% since April, exceeding pound;20m, resulting in massive gains in market penetration and a substantial increase in brand perceptions around quality and taste.

South adds: “SunBites is the fastest growing ‘better for you’ brand from Walkers and is achieving the highest repeat purchase rate in the BFY segment. SunBites has benefited from a host of marketing activity this year, a colourful pack redesign accounts for 44% of the value sales uplift experienced, while last summer’s engaging series of ads featuring X-Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson had a hugely positive response resulting in August sales being up 74% year-on-year.”

According to Yoplait, four out of five consumers are either on a diet or watching what they eat. It adds that obesity is set to rise to 60% of men and 50% of women by 2050.

Yoplait is launching Weight Watchers single pots into the convenience channel in January. There are four flavours, Strawberry, Lemon, Apricot and Vanilla. The yoghurts contain two of the Weight Watchers ProPoints and the flavours have been chosen from within the existing Weight Watchers range, with Apricot being added.

The single 150g pots have an RRP of 61p and will be supported with TV adverts later in the year. Yoplait expects the single pots to do well in convenience as consumer can purchase them for lunches or snacks.

Yoplait has been linked with Weight Watchers for 11 years and reports that 67% of Weight Watchers consumers said that they would buy Weight Watchers single pots.

Richard Jones, managing director of Reh Kendermann (UK), says: “Reh Kendermann GmbH is exclusively licensed to produce Weight Watchers Wines, which are the only wine range to include Weight Watchers ProPoints values on the label. Weight Watchers Wines benefit from the massive Weight Watchers brand support campaign, reaching target consumers throughout the media spectrum and at point of sale. No other wine brand entering the low calorie sector is able to provide this level of support to the trade.”

Weight Watchers range of 8.5% ABV wines have a ProPoint value of two per 125ml glass.

In October last year Heinz launched Weight Watchers from Heinz’s ‘Even More’ range.

Sarah Davies, brand manager for Weight Watchers from Heinz, says: “We have invested in this new frozen ready meal range in response to the growing demand for convenient meals that can be cooked quickly. The launch of the ‘Even More’ range is important, particularly as consumers want to have a quick, convenient meal without having to buy, prepare and cook a separate portion of vegetables. For a ProPoints value of just nine per meal, our consumers can enjoy a substantial meal and get one of their five a day.

“We are confident that the selection of modern recipes and ‘one of your five a day’ benefit will attract a wider consumer demographic to the category, while still appealing to our existing consumers, boosting overall sales.”

Heinz has also been running a campaign to drive sales by highlighting that three tablespoons of Heinz Beanz contains one portion of five-a-day.

Paul White, marketing manager of Heinz Beanz, says: “We want to ensure that consumers are fully aware of the nutritional benefits Heinz Beanz offer. We wanted to use the fairytale storyline of Jack and the Beanstalk to ensure the advert resonates with both adults and children. By playing to people’s imagination, we can communicate that Heinz Beanz give families a tea they love, while also providing them with one of their five-a-day.

“Heinz Beanz have always been low in fat and meet the 2010 Department of Health Responsibility Deal salt targets. It’s important we all enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, but sometimes it’s difficult to get children to eat their greens. Heinz Beanz gives the best of both worlds.”

Rosie Tapp, group product manager at Bel UK, says: “The Laughing Cow is the number one selling cheese triangle brand on the market, with a share of 63% in value sales. With two healthier options for consumers, the Laughing Cow Light and Extra Light, the cheese triangles are perfect for consumers interested in maintaining a balanced diet, with The Laughing Cow Light containing 25 calories and Extra Light 20. The Laughing Cow Extra Light has one of the lowest fat and saturated fat contents in the market, is suitable for vegetarians, and now contains 2% fat rather than 3%, making it an obvious choice for health conscious consumers.”

According to Red Bull, January can often be a quiet time as people around the country look to cut down on the spending, and calories.

Tom Smith, trade communications manager for Red Bull, says: “With January and early new year a time when consumers certainly look for low calorie options, Red Bull Sugarfree is the perfect product to give consumers energy, without the sugar. It has all the benefits of Red Bull with only eight calories, perfect for long car journey’s late nights, on the go and studying.”

Red Bull Sugarfee will be backed by a pound;1.5m investment and form a through-the-line campaign to drive awareness of the product, focusing on the low calorie message for consumers who want a low calorie, functional energy drink.

Accolade Wine is investing in its Banrock Station Light brand. The pound;1m marketing campaign is focusing on the “60 calories per 125ml glass 100% taste” message which is highlighted as a category and consumer driver.

Neil Marolia, brand manager for Banrock Station, says: “We are delighted to announce this heavyweight programme of investment in Banrock Station Light a brand that is leading the way in the lighter drinking category.

“We are confident that with a quality product and an on-target marketing strategy, Banrock Station Light can take the lead in the market, as the number one lighter drinking option with a taste consumers enjoy.”

buyer’s viewpoint

Richard Booth, senior negotiator grocery category, Bestway and Batleys Wholesale

Products that are marketed as “diet” and “healthy” are often scrutinised by the media and criticised. However, there are many everyday products that are inherently healthy, simple straight forward foods such as Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, Scots/Quaker Oats, Muesli and Rice Krispies.

Canned foods such as canned sweet corn, tomatoes, olives and canned fish especially, mackerel, and sardines and of course canned fruit, dry pasta, rice, olive oils, and a decent range of herbs and spices are the types of products that offer convenient and healthy meal solutions for customers.

These products combine health and convenience, a strong combination.

Other products that take this a step further are Uncle Ben’s microwave rice’s, that have become a major category over the last few years. Brands like Dolmio are now marketing as “all natural” and this shows the important of health provenance.

Within other categories such as hot beverages we have very strong sales in products like Twinings fruit and herbal teas peppermint and green tea are the best sellers for us.

A resurgence in home baking means flour and brown sugars are good lines to stock. Tate Lyle are launching a revolutionary new sugar and “Stevia” blend called “Light at Heart” in January. It looks and tastes exactly like granulated sugar, has all the same attributes required for baking as normal sugar, but is twice as sweet so only half as much is needed therefore half the calories. This will be a big launch in the supermarkets, but Bestway and Batley’s will be the only cash and carries with this product until February. We will be on promotion too.

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