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Graze brings its healthy snacks to U.S. retailers.

LONDON -- Graze, a multichannel seller of healthy snacks, has rolled out products at more than 3,500 U.S. retail stores, including leading food and drug chains, according to chief executive officer Anthony Fletcher.

Through the website, the United Kingdom-based company provides customized snack boxes for consumers using a unique taste algorithm. Now graze products can also be found on shelves at Walgreens, Big Y, ShopRite and Hannaford stores.

The launch of graze into retail outlets comes on the heels of the brand's "hugely successful" entry into the U.S. through the company's online subscription model in December 2013. That launch generated a $34 million run rate in its first year and evoked a further $50 million investment in the U.S. operation to meet the growing demand from major U.S. retailers, according to the company.

In response to that demand from retailers, launching into retail and repheating the success of the U.K. multichannel strategy was the natural next step, Fletcher said.

The online graze business, Fletcher noted, has created over 1,700 products, and all are free from artificial additives and preservatives, are 100% GMO free, and have no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup.

For the retail launch graze has customized a range of 17 exciting and healthy products, based in part on the 170 million reviews received online from its U.S. customers, or "grazers." Products in the new retail range include Sweet Memphis BBQ, Dark Chocolate Cherry Tart and Veggie Protein Power.

When new food trends emerge, graze is perfectly placed to identify these changes early and adapt, with its ability to bring new products on far more quickly than traditional food manufacturers. Turnaround of a new snack can take as little as 48 hours.

The new in-store snacking category opens up a significant revenue opportunity, allowing graze to meet the demand of both existing and new consumers who want to have multiple activation points for purchase.

Fletcher said that graze began testing its products in the U.S. early in 2013 with an email sent to 100 friends. Within 24 hours the company had customers in 48 American states, and it had over 20,000 customers after two weeks. Over 100 people are now employed by graze U.S.

Built for scale and agility, Fletcher said the graze vertically integrated business model is well placed to meet the logistical challenges of evolving from an online only channel to launching simultaneously into over 3,500 retail stores.

Fletcher said that "graze starting online and going from clicks to bricks shows how technology can rapidly create brands and products which are relevant to the U.S. customer today. "

He added, "For the past two years we have been collaborating with our grazers to launch hundreds of products into the U.S. market through online. Now it's time to sell the winners in retail stores." Fletcher also said the company plans to spend $10 million annually in the U.S. on advertising.

With the estimated value for the healthy snacks market in the U.S. at $38 billion--reflecting wider wellness trends across the board--graze is fulfilling the demand for drug and grocery stores to cater for the health obsessed consumer. The snacking company has a permanent U.S. operation in New Jersey, where consumers can choose and rate snacks from a selection of more than 100 that are then sent to them by mail with no need to sign at home or work. The company's U.S. office is located in Silicon Alley in New York.

The innovative start-up, according to Fletcher, has gone from a bedroom to an international business in less than five years. is majority-owned by American investor The Carlyle Group, with Octopus Investments and DFJ Esprit and Management owning the remaining share.

Graze was created as a direct-to-consumer, healthier, online snacking company. It was founded in the U.K. in 2008 by the developers and logistics experts behind the technology that powered LoveFilm, a U.K.based provider of DVD-by-mail and streaming video on demand, who wanted to apply the intelligent use of big data to the online food industry.
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Title Annotation:Supplier News
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 2, 2017
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