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Favor Flavor.

Byline: R. Hofbauer

Retailers looking to sell more frozen novelties need to pay special attention to flavor when developing products.

Although more than half of U.S. consumers who purchase frozen treats say a product's price plays an important role in their purchase decision, flavor is what truly rules, says Beth Bloom, food and drink analyst with global market research firm Mintel, in Mintel's July 2014 "Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties -- US" report. So if retailers wish to develop must-have store brand frozen novelties that fly off the shelves, then they need to look beyond price -- and create truly unique products with the right flavors and ingredients.

Trends with traction

On the national brand side, smoothie-shop chain Jamba Juice recently introduced its own unique products to the frozen novelties category with its Jamba frozen novelty bars. Amanda Osorio, marketing manager with J&J Snack Foods Corp., Pennsauken, N.J., says this launch is a good example of how many QSR chains are expanding their brands and crossing into retail.

"Consumers like familiarity, and Jamba Juice leads the nation's QSR chains of smoothie shops," she states. "We also expect that more and more licensing relationships will be developed and will saturate the market, bridging the gap between foodservice and retail."

Also a hot topic in the frozen novelties category is bridging the gap between generations. It's important to both the foodservice and retail industries that retailers develop products that can be enjoyed "across the board," Osorio explains.

"In the years to come, the buying behavior will shift, and it is important to make sure we can keep up with the wave," she says.

Speaking of generations, 35 percent of U.S. parents say they have trouble getting their children to eat vegetables, according to Mintel's August "Category Insight: Ice Cream" report. And 44 percent say they appreciate new ideas on how to get their children to consume more fruit and vegetables.

One national brand responding to this demand is Ruby Rocket's with its Frozen Fruit & Vegetable Pops with Probiotics. According to the Mintel report, the pops contain a blend of orange, carrot and sweet potato; are free from artificial colors, flavors, added sugar, dairy, gluten, GMOs and fat; and are said to be an excellence source of vitamins A and C. Retailers could take development and promotional inspiration from this new product.

Trends on the horizon

Down the road, expect to see innovative products taking an "outside-the-box approach," as more research than ever is going into flavor profiling. Particularly when catering to millennials, retailers will be challenged to provide healthful and innovative frozen novelties that give "a taste of the future," Osorio says.

"You can expect to see new flavor combinations being introduced to the market, with "sweet and heat' at the top of that list," she states. "We see this happening in beverages and on the foodservice side, and it's only a matter of time [until] it will be in the frozen novelty section."

"You can expect to see new flavor combinations being introduced to the market, with "sweet and heat' at the top of that list."

-- Amanda Osorio, marketing manager, J&J Snack Foods Corp.

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Author:Hofbauer, R.
Publication:Progressive Grocer's Store Brands
Date:Dec 1, 2014
Words:623
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