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Kraft expands health drive for kids

By Lorraine Heller , 06-Oct-2006

Kraft Foods has taken another step in the direction of health and wellness, introducing single serve healthy snack packs of some of its popular products, designed to appeal to the growing numbers of health-conscious American parents.

The products in its Back to Nature line are based on the principle of no artificial flavors or preservatives.

The move is in line with the US manufacturer's announcement earlier this year that it will focus on areas that yield higher revenue-per-pound, such as wellness, value-added and on-the-move products.

"There is growing interest in creating healthier lifestyles for our children. In response, many parents are choosing natural and organic snacks," said the firm.

Kraft's Back to Nature brand comprises a line of granolas, cereals, cookies, crackers and dinners, which are found in natural and organic stores as well as mainstream grocery stores. The line comes with a Total Taste Promise - love the taste or get your money back.

Its new single serve packs include three cookie products - Chocolate Chunk, Classic Cream and Honey Graham Sticks - as well as two cracker products - Crispy Cheddars and Crispy Wheats. The cookies are marketed as having no trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or cholesterol. The crackers claim to have no trans fats and no hydrogenated oils.

In February this year, the US food giant announced a "fewer, bigger, better" policy, concentrating on crucial brands in key areas in an attempt to boost its lagging performance.

To further develop an ongoing restructuring and cost-saving plan, the firm said it would build up brands that are in line with the key trends of health and wellness, value-added and on-the-move products.

"While our financial performance has lagged…I'm confident that strong execution of our strategies will deliver improved results in 2006 and beyond," CEO Roger Deromedi had said.

Earlier this year, the firm announced a massive extension to its existing three-year restructuring plan that will see a further 8,000 jobs and 20 production plants go, as the company struggled to absorb rising energy and ingredient costs.

The expanded plan, together with new brand focus, follows revelations that despite Kraft's rigid economy drive, fourth-quarter net revenues were $9.7bn, up only 3 per cent on last year.

Another initiative designed to re-engage with consumers and tap growing health and wellness trends was the launch in June of a customer-led research and development program, as the company looked for fresh ideas for products, packaging and business processes that could be brought to market quickly.

Kraft hoped the innovation drive would build brand loyalty and help offset the 24 per cent fall in profits over the past two years.

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