Hain Celestial: ‘Chia is red hot… Coconut's been on fire’

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Hain Celestial: ‘Chia is red hot… Coconut's been on fire’
Hain Celestial has unveiled a raft of new products utilizing hot ingredients from chia and quinoa to coconut pulp and almonds, including organic gluten-free chia seed corn tortilla chips under the Garden of Eatin' brand, and coconut almond butter under the MaraNatha brand.

Speaking at the UBS Global Consumer Conference last week, Hain Celestial USA CEO John Carroll said: “Chia is red hot. Our Garden of Eatin' business is growing double digits since we restaged it two years ago.

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"Put chia and Garden of Eatin' together and come out with a Chia Tortilla, and that's what's coming out. So we feel pretty good that we have a very strong innovation queue to keep growing the top line."

Hain Celestial​ has also seen significant growth in nut butters, and will seek to increase its manufacturing capacity in this area, said Carroll, who said a new coconut almond butter will tap into two of the hottest trends in natural products right now.

“Our MaraNatha business has been on fire. Coconut's been on fire. So you got almond and coconut, two very hot trends, put them together ​[to make] coconut almond butter.”

An indulgent kefir…

New products launching under the Greek Gods brand include a drinkable kefir, he added: “Greek Gods has been a great success for us, ​[we’re] on a run rate this year to do $100m. We're now bringing it into a drinkable kefir.

“And again, we're going to remain true to the keys about Greek Gods, which are Greek Gods is going to always have an indulgent profile…  so you'll get an indulgent kefir.”

Quinoa, pearled spelt and almond milk

Other products launched by the firm at Natural Products Expo West this month include a new beverage containing almond, cashew & hazelnut milk; Yummy Tummy organic fruit and fiber purees and organic fruit yogurt smoothies with DHA under the Earth's Best brand; Sleepytime decaf blackberry pomegranate green tea; Sleepytime snooz shots with valerian and melatonin and ENERJI green tea energy shots. 

It is also tapping into the ancient grains trend with new Arrowhead Mills gluten free quinoa and oat instant hot cereal and sprouted wheat berry & quinoa flakes, along with a new organic pearled spelt and organic white popcorn. 

Greek Gods yogurt sales surged 39% in Q2

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Speaking at the firm’s second quarter earnings call last month​, Carroll reported rocketing sales growth for Greek Gods yogurts and Earth’s Best babyfood pouches, but warned that almond and chia prices were going through the roof.

He said: “Second half almond and chia pricing will be up over 30% versus the first half, so not just versus a year ago, but versus the first half, due to higher demand and lower crop yields.”

While some of the biggest packaged food brands have suffered volume declines in mature markets such as the US and Europe, Hain Celestial generated strong growth in the second quarter, posting a 57.8% rise in net income to $31.6m on net sales up 24.8% to $455.3m in the three months to December 31 (Q2, 2013).

Sales in the US were up 9.4% to $280.4m in the quarter, while at 7.5%, Hain’s latest 12-week AOC (all outlets combined) sales growth in the US significantly outpaced that of rivals, claimed Simon.

Just some notable mentions, our Greek Gods yogurt sales were up 39%; Earth’s Best pouches were up over 15%, and Celestial Seasonings, we’ve had some of the strongest key numbers that we’ve ever seen.”

Much of this was driven by availability improvements and distribution gains in Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Target, Publix, Sams Club and Giant Eagle, he said.

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