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US: A raft of new smoothie snacks

Tapping into better-for-you snacking trends, Kraft Heinz has ventured into new territory and released a new range of “spoonable smoothies”, coined Fruitlove.

The new launch combines the benefits of creamy yogurt and real fruits and vegetables and features a convenient green spoon that accompanies the smoothie bowl.

The company markets each cup of Fruitlove as “packed with the goodness of three or more real fruits and vegetables.” With between 100 and 140 calories each, the smoothies provide a good source of protein and calcium and are an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, and B3.

Fruitlove comes in five flavours, including:

  • Strawberry Banana Twirl: Strawberry, Banana, Rhubarb, Raspberry and Carrot.
  • Harvest Berry Blend: Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Banana, Carrot and Beet.
  • Mango Medley: Banana, Pineapple, Carrot and Mango.
  • Pineapple Coconut Bliss: Banana, Pineapple, Squash and Coconut.
  • Blueberry Dream: Banana, Apple, Squash and Blueberry.

“We know that snacking is both functional and emotional and Americans want more from the foods they snack on – more flavour, nutrition and a better overall taste experience,” says Nicole Kulwicki, head of Brand Building at Fruitlove.

“Fruitlove was born from the idea that we could create a better and more exciting way to snack on smoothies.”

Fruitlove is already available in the yogurt aisle of grocery stores across the US and through select Amazon Fresh locations for an SRP of US$1.99. 

The new launch follows a difficult year at Kraft Heinz

The company – which is trying to expand into new categories – wrote down the value of the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands by $15-billion, posted a $12.6-billion loss and reduced its dividend by 36 percent in February. At the time, the company also revealed it had received a subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and cut its dividend by a third.

However, as of July 1st, former Anheuser-Busch InBev executive Miguel Patricio will take over as CEO. He will succeed Bernardo Hees, who will remain CEO through June 30, 2019, to ensure a seamless transition.

This smoothie product is unique for Kraft Heinz. Although the company is known for its Kraft Singles and ketchup, it does not do much in the yogurt space, which has seen substantial growth in recent years. It also hasn’t offered a lot of products in the juice category.

By releasing this product it seems that the company is looking to experiment in new segments as it works to find its focus and drive growth.

Spoonable smoothies and snacks trend

Consumers are seeking healthy, indulgent, yet convenient solutions that fit busy lifestyles, while brands increasingly expand their portfolios by creating snacking versions of their existing products.

Snacking is a central focus of innovation across all food and beverage categories, with 10 percent average annual growth of global launches with a snacking claim over the past five years (CAGR, 2013-2017), according to Innova Market Insights.

In this space, Dole Packaged Foods previously released ready-to-eat, spoonable fruit smoothie bowls. Designed for convenience, the Dole Whip Spoonable Smoothies make a quick and nutritious breakfast or snack, coming in at under 200 calories with 16g sugar. The smoothie bowls are available in two flavours, Pineapple Banana and Strawberry Banana.

In March, beverage giant Coca-Cola also debuted Odwalla’s Smoobucha in stores across the US, after having unveiled the line of products at Natural Products Expo in California. The beverage fuses smoothies and kombucha – an ancient Chinese fermented tea drink – creating a taste that hopes to entice consumers who may be wary of the “boldness” of the kombucha flavour.

Last year, frozen food company Dirafrost FFI (Dirafrost), part of Agrana Fruit and well known for its fruit and fruit purees, stepped out of its comfort zone and refreshed the food service smoothie market. The company already had a range of 11 smoothies, but released four more smoothies that do not only contain fruit but also vegetables and add-ins like spirulina, linden extract, bee pollen and echinacea.

Companies are finding success in fruit and vegetable applications. This market dynamic has led to a surge in new product development within potential categories. Consumers are often searching for new ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their favourite foods, as a way of boosting the nutritional values of foods and thus making them feel less guilty about their food choices.


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