Yesterday the firm announced that it is presenting the new cracker to retailers this week for a spring introduction – to cater for the nearly one in three Americans adults who want to cut down on gluten or go gluten-free, and the 77% of gluten-free food buyers who struggle to find tasty products.
Snyder’s-Lance said the world’s first gluten-free sandwich cracker comes in a Peanut Butter and Cheddar Cheese flavor, and is designed to provide consumers with ‘on-the-go fuel for the day’.
“This is major gluten-free product breakthrough as Snyder’s-Lance is the first company to pioneer this important innovation,” the company said in a statement yesterday.
Sandwich crackers and biscuits – Challenged in the US?
On February 12 the US salty snack giant reported in its full year results – full year net sales hit $1.75bn (+7.4%), net income was $77m (+12%) – and CEO Carl Lee said that sales of products under the firm’s second-largest brand, Lance’s sandwich crackers, began to improve in Q4 2014.
Given that Lance’s acted as a brake on Snyder’s FY 2014 results, Deutsche Bank analyst Rohini Nair questioned him on the health of the wider category. “We’ve heard from some of your peers that crackers and biscuits continue to be a bit challenging from a category perspective,” she said.
“I know you’ve had the additional challenges last year of going through your re-launch. Could you discuss the dynamics there, from your business as well as a competitive perspective?”
Lee said he believed the sandwich cracker category had a “very bright future going forward. I think it requires innovation, just like every other category”, since consumers were overwhelmed by the new number of snacking choices they have.
Still a great category, but you need innovation and consumer marketing…
Snyder-Lance’s launched its Bolds sandwich cracker range last year (‘bold flavors’ include Buffalo Wing and Blue Cheese) and its Quick Starts line of breakfast crackers this year Lee said.
“If you’re going to invest in innovation and…invest in consumer marketing, it’s still a great category with some pretty strong potential,” he added.
Describing 2014 as a transformational year for Snyder’s-Lance as it divested Private Brands (its private label and contract manufacturing cookie and cracker arm) and strengthened its branded business, Lee said the firm’s 2015 launches emphasize its recent focus on ‘better for you’ snacking.
The company has renovated packaging for Lance’s, he explained, moving from tray packs with clear cellophane wrap overtops to a new closed carton (see picture above) to enhance quality, advertize the brand more effectively and allow the launch of lines such as Bolds and Quick Starts.
While Lee admitted that the brand revamp had caused some confusion on shelf in FY 2014, he remains confident that new products in the Lance range “will allow sandwich crackers to go into many new areas, but with a completely different attribute and different dimension”.
Lance Quick Starts target ‘healthy breakfast’ segment
He cited one example: “Lance Quick Starts that we started rolling out in January allow us to introduce the Lance brand into morning snacking and a very early morning energy boost for consumers who are on-the-go, looking for healthy breakfast.
“It provides 13g of whole grain, a good source of vitamin B and a very good source of fiber. Very tasty, exciting products that deliver a quick start for someone who’s got a busy morning ahead of them,” he added.
Snyder’s-Lance announced the launch of three other new gluten-free snacks yesterday: Cape Cop Dipping Shells with whole grains, Pretzel Crisp Minis in two flavors and Eatsmart Naturals Sea Salt and Lime Dipping Chips.