Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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INNOVATE TO ACCELERATE GROWTH! Q. What is currently capturing the most attention in terms of a snacking occasion/day part and why? A. While aernoon snacking is the largest single occasion, I think what has been capturing the most attention recently is how snacking is growing across all day parts. IRI reported earlier this year that 46% of consumers (up five points in the past year) eat more than three snacks per day. 1 These occasions range from early morning to late evening. As consumers look for ways to fuel their busy lives, they are seeking portable solutions that provide nutrition that will sustain them through their next activity. Protein and simplicity are at the top of their list in terms of wants in snacks, which is why I think we've seen portable, protein-rich solutions grow so quickly. Examples include Greek Yogurt and Jerky. Q. Which snacking occasion and day part offers the best opportunity for retailers to find organic growth? A. Consumers are reporting increased snacking across all day parts, so there is plenty of opportunity. Traditionally, aernoon snacking occasions have dominated retailers' and manufacturers' offerings. Since 2010, however, the percentage of consumers reporting snacking during morning occasions has more than doubled 1 . So we believe morning has a lot of untapped opportunity. Q. What does Jack Link's need from its retail partners to best support and grow through product innovation? A. Jack Link's looks for a category-partnership mind- set with its retail partners. Our goal is to grow our retail partners' categories. If we are effective in doing this, our partners benefit. And as the category leader, we naturally benefit as a by-product of growing the category as well. I think our best partnerships start by having open and honest dialogues about how the categor y and the brands within are performing and aligning the cate- gor y, through data on how the retailer judges perfor- mance. With this mutual understanding we can then brainstorm solutions, either tailoring existing assort- ments, or developing new offerings based on consumer insights to take advantage of opportunities that we see. Retailers have the benefit of being the first point of contact with consumers, so hearing their feedback and their customers' feedback is incredibly helpful as we develop new offerings. Additionally, we want to push the boundaries of categories for growth, so we love partnering with retailers to test in market. Q. What are some innovations or opportunities retailers can expect to see in the meat snacks category in the short- and long-term future? A. The meat snacks categor y is ver y well positioned for continued growth. A mentor of mine is fond of saying: "Let the trend be your friend." When you think of the tailwinds the meat snack categor y has — portable, simple ingredients, great taste, protein rich and low in sugar and fat — it's not surprising that meat snacks have been one of the fastest-growing categories over the past 15 years. However, meat snacks have typically been typecast as the snack for hunting and road trips, generally by males. I think the next phase of growth for the categor y will be found by appealing beyond the traditional meat snack consumer and by being more relevant to more people in more occasions. Jack Link's was the categor y pioneer in the jerky segment, and we are determined to push and grow the categor y. I think you'll see us experiment and tr y many ideas. Likely not all of them will work, but inevitably some will and we believe our categor y, and as a result our retail partners and our company, will benefit from them. CHRISTIAN FITCHETT VP INNOVATION, JACK LINK'S PROTEIN SNACKS 46% of consumers (up five points in the past year) eat more than three snacks per day. (IRI, Chicago) Q&A 1 IRI Report: "How America Eats: 2016 State of the Snack Food Industry", April 6, 2016.

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