Interact Category Specialists: Cookies & Candy

Interact Category Specialists: Cookies & Candy

As consumers grow more health-conscious, one might think that the cookie and candy category has seen its heyday. But has it? A revolution of alternative solutions for how we satisfy sweet cravings is underway – be it for advanced palates, discerning sweet tooth’s, or health conscious foodies.   GROWN-UP FLAVOR PROFILES As candy and cookie lovers have grown up, so have their tastes! With more adventurous palates, consumers are leaning toward sweet foods with exotic and complex tastes, often with contrasting flavors such as sweet, spicy and salty. These unexpected flavors are coming from all directions. Big brands like Toll House, Oreo, and Ghirardelli are releasing flavors like blueberry lemon, jelly donut, and bourbon caramel. Smaller brands like Little Secrets, Chuao and Smash Mallow now offer flavors like pumpkin pie, spicy maya and lemon chia seed.     PREMIUM SWEETS Sharper looking brands excite and inspire consumers by standing out in busy retail environments. As this category becomes more competitive, innovative sweet brands must not only provide solutions for a limited retail space, but also tell more of a story than their CPG counterparts. Small batches and niche followings give premium bakers and confectioners the flexibility to try new things without much risk. The demand for premium sweets is at an all-time high, with provenance and origin being key to their stories. We are seeing plenty of brands are adapt to consumer desires through elevated product positioning.   BETTER-FOR-YOU INDULGENCE Ultimately, consumers want to have their healthy food and eat their cookie, too. If you ask the average person whether he or she wants to eat healthier, the answer is almost always yes. However, not everything associated with cookies is trending toward Crossfitters and marathoners....
Tune into Tokyo Food

Tune into Tokyo Food

We had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Tokyo recently. We left feeling beyond energized and a bit frazzled due to the language barrier, but inspired nonetheless. Here are few stand outs from walking down dark alleys and hanging out in small rooms over four days. SQUEEZE PACKS GALORE! While we have seen these slowly taking off State side, typically in the form of kid’s snacks, they have hit the Japanese market head on with unusual food/drink categories. It was an eye opening experience to see all kinds of products including water, cold brew, ice cream, energy packs, and protein. It made us think we are a bit behind the curve on the squeeze pack trend. One of the juice spots we visited, Sunshine Juice, even put their freshly made smoothie in a to-go pack. INSTANT COFFEE We’ve been eyeing instant coffee in the States recently, with the launch of Alpine Start, Sudden, and INIC, seen here in Tokyo. We are seeing this as the third wave of instant coffee, post Folgers and Starbuck’s VIA. VENDING MACHINES The convenience fueled beverage theme in the Japanese market continued as we saw vending machines everywhere. These mostly contained coffee, water, and juice. SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS! We spotted tons of shot-sized servings on the shelf, with various benefits including ginseng, energy, and amino acids, which differ slightly from the commonly seen ginger shots in the US. SHELF MADNESS We were baffled by this juice shelf set. While it’s extremely organized and many of the brands have dual facings, it felt very cluttered coming from the US, where we have different structures, images and hierarchy to help avoid this mess.   TRUST IN AMERICA Japanese based brand, Lombard Popcorn, touts San Francisco quality...