“We believe the continued expansion of our business reflects a renewed focus on quality and healthy eating in today’s health-conscious society and we expect that trend to continue,” said owner and CEO, Nan Gardetto.
The planned expansion will double the size of the bakery and create 200 new, full-time jobs. The project has yet to clear the final hurdle with the city planning authorities, but if the expected approval goes through later this month, work will begin in October.
Baptista’s specialises in product development and the contract manufacturing of baked, better-for-you snacks for snack companies and retailers. The company’s confidence ties in with recent research into the demand for healthier snacks.
For example, the latest snack report from Mintel confirmed that 55 per cent of US consumers who buy salty snacks such as crisps, pretzels or nuts say that the fact that a snack is baked and not fried is “important” or “very important” in their purchasing decision. Meanwhile 62 per cent of those surveyed were looking for “natural” snacks and 58 per cent were influenced by “lower fat” claims.
Specialist publisher Packaged Facts also reported recently that US retail sales of packaged snacks reached $64 bn in 2010, up from $56bn in 2006, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 per cent. The report also predicted that US retail sales of packaged snacks will reach $77bn by 2015, with annual growth rates edging up from 3.5 per cent in 2011 to 4 per cent by 2013.
The report examined consumer attitudes, and found that health continues to be a strong motivator for food and beverage purchases among US consumers. The pursuit of wellness spans all age groups, according to the researchers: “The aging population is seeking ways to feel younger and more vital, and the nation as a whole has realized that healthy eating habits need to be taught early on to fight the obesity epidemic.
Packaged Facts found that the majority of adult consumers surveyed are actively working to improve their physical health (69 per cent) and incorporate wellness goals and concerns into their daily routines (52 per cent):“As consumers seek ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle, snack foods that are marketed as better-for-you will remain popular.”