Snyder’s-Lance Inc. plans to grow its better-for-you snacks offering to 40 percent of its total portfolio sales within the next year, according to Carl E. Lee Jr., president and CEO.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company has been expanding its health-oriented offerings for the past two years, building it to about one-third of total sales in 2016, up from 25 percent in 2014. Expansion has come mostly through product renovation and the acquisition of Diamond Foods earlier this year.
This expansion puts the company ahead of industry trends for non-GMO, organic products that also include gluten-free, whole grain and reduced-fat. In the salty snacks category, better-for-you products generated 16 percent of sales last year and is expected to grow to 22 percent by 2020, said Lee, citing data from IRi. He discussed his company's efforts during a presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on Sept. 7.
Consumers now expect non-GMO claims and are beginning to expect organic claims on the snacks they buy, he said.
“That is something very clear, and we’ve been able to transition to that much faster than our competition,” he said. “But beyond that, the consumers are not going to give up taste. They’re not going to give us quality. And while they’re looking for better snacks, and it may be a better traditional snack or it may be a very high-protein beneficial snack, but they’re clearly looking for something more out of what they are eating than ever before.”
“So, this is where the growth is going to be — I don’t think anyone would dispute that — but the question for us is, are we staying ahead of that as a company?” Lee said. “Are we leaning in the right amount? Not leaning in too much, obviously, but making sure that we’re staying very relevant there, because we will be a mainstream company with mainstream brands, but we will also want to be the leader on the cutting edge in delivering the nutrition and the value consumers are looking for based on their ingredients.”
He added that the company has been moving to a clean label on Snyder’s of Hanover, making “some significant improvement in a well-established brand, but linking it to what consumers and retailers are looking for to make sure we continue to grow the category and, very importantly, grow our brand.”
In addition to Snyder’s of Hanover, Snyder’s-Lance’s brands include Lance, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps and Late July. The Diamond Foods acquisition added Pop Secret, Emerald, Diamond of California and Kettle Brand.