lighter moods

January brings with it well intentioned New Year’s resolutions for consumers and an increased presence of healthy products on the shelves for wholesalers.

Lee Rolston, marketing director at M uuml;ller Dairy, says: “Healthy eating does undoubtedly come to the fore in consumers’ minds and purchasing behaviour in January/February partly to compensate for their over-indulgence at Christmas and the New Year, and also as part of the round of New Year’s resolutions. Despite it being mid-winter, consumers are aiming to eat lighter, healthier food in the post-Christmas period. At the same time, manufacturers of these products know consumers’ thoughts are turning to healthier options so you’ll see an uplift in marketing and advertising support for brands which are associated with a healthy, balanced diet.”

M uuml;ller is offering the chance to win a pound;1,000 shopping spree every day throughout January and February with its M uuml;llerlight brand. It will run on all M uuml;llerlight single pots as well as six packs and will be advertised on TV.

M uuml;ller is also introducing a third M uuml;llerlight Big Pot in Mandarin and in February will be introducing Honey Sauce and Rhubarb Fruit Corner to the M uuml;ller Greek Style Yogurt Corner range.

Rosie Tapp, innovation and research manager at Bel UK, says: “The opportunity for healthier cheese increases at certain points throughout the year. Generally, however, consumers will always remain focused on healthier options, as diet and nutritional content becomes increasing important for consumers.

“Healthier cheese is continually growing within the market place and the category has a total market figure of pound;134m.

“Bel aims to offer healthier options to coincide with most cheese opportunities such as snacking, convenience, lunchbox and cheese board to ensure that consumers can maintain a balanced, diet during any occasion.”

Bel UK has a range of light cheeses which are lower in both calories and fat. The Laughing Cow, Mini Babybel, Leerdammer and Boursin all have light variants available.

Another company looking to offer a healthy alternative is Empire Foodbrokers. It is introducing a new variant to its range of No-No Flatbreads, containing no added sugar, preservatives or additives.

Chandresh Patel, managing director of Empire Foodbrokers, says: “No-No Flatbreads have already proved to be very successful with UK consumers. This new No-No Mediterranean Style Tomato amp; Basil Flatbread has been developed to cater for the rising popularity of Mediterranean style cuisine and flavours here in the UK. We are sure our customers will see it as a welcome addition to the range.”

According to Empire Foodbrokers, with only 35 calories and less than 1g of fat per flatbread, No-No’s Mediterranean Style Sundried Tomato amp; Basil Flatbread offers consumers a new, guilt-free snack to enjoy with dips and toppings.

General Mills is planning a pound;4m marketing investment in 2011, in order to build on the Giant Tea Time theme introduced last year.

Ed Culf, marketing director at General Mills, says: “Green Giant sweet corn makes it fun and easy for mums to give their kids healthier meals, which is exactly the message we are portraying by building on the Giant Tea Time theme in 2011. New-look packaging will also be launched, which is designed to give better on-shelf impact

“We will be investing in above-the-line and below-the-line support in 2011 to create excitement and drive the brand forward, targeting consumers, many of whom have lapsed from purchasing the category in recent months, and also driving consumption and re-purchase habits.”

Suso provides healthy soft drinks in secondary schools across the UK made from carbonated fruit juice and has no preservatives, artificial colours and flavours or sugar added.

Sean Uprichard, chief executive office of Suso, says: “Suso meets all the nutritional standards for food and drink in schools and is one of the only fizzy drinks cleared for distribution in the education sector. Therefore, as the principal route to market for UK secondary schools, the wholesale channel is absolutely critical to Suso.

“Suso has gone from having no distribution within the foodservice sector 18 months ago, to having agreed national distribution with all the national foodservice providers alongside incredibly strong uptake in the regional wholesale channel. The sell-through momentum has been terrific, driving very positive word of mouth across the sector and we are hugely grateful for the support of all our delivered wholesalers.”

Nick Stuart, commercial manager at UBUK, says: “Some consumers don’t necessarily want to have to make a conscious decision about buying and eating healthier products. They’re looking for nutritional improvements to their old favourites. They want the manufacturers to make every effort to produce products that fit into their daily lives and help achieve a healthier balance. Healthy eating and healthier alternatives continue to be significant profit opportunities for wholesalers. Wholesalers that don’t stock the right mix of healthy products will see their business suffer as customers will 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.”

This month McVitie’s is launching go ahead Fruity Cake Slices in Apple amp; Sultana and Honey, Caramel amp; Sultana. The cakes are individually wrapped and are available in packs of five.

Heinz has its eyes on consumers looking to managed their weight with a new pack design for its Weight Watchers from Heinz (WWfH) range and two additions Salmon Mornay and Strawberry Meringue Dessert.

Paul Sternlieb, marketing director of Heinz Frozen UK, says: “Weight Watchers is the authority in weight management while Heinz is recognised for its food and taste values. WWfH combines the best of both and as a result the range has a broad appeal, from consumers looking for convenient frozen ready meals to those who are looking to manage their weight.

“Our new look packs and exciting TV campaign will provide us with a unique opportunity to drive new shoppers to the WWfH brand and grow sales.”

Last year Heinz introduced reduced salt alternative to its Classic Soup range in four varieties.

Matthew Cullum, marketing controller for Heinz soup, says: “The entire Heinz Soup range is already within the Food Standard Agency’s salt target for 2010 but we know that consumers are growing increasingly aware of the level of salt in their food.

“Our research identified that 42% would prefer to buy a reduced salt product if it was available and Heinz Classic Reduced Salt Soup has put a tick in all the right boxes by combining health, convenience and taste. The new range uses the traditional Heinz Classic Soup recipes, providing all the taste consumers have come to expect but with 25% less salt.

“We are confident that the Heinz Classic Reduced Salt range will bring new, health conscious consumers to the soups category, including those who are not currently frequent soup consumers.”

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