Fruit snacks show strong growth worldwide

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Fruit snacks show strong growth worldwide

Fruit products are among the best performing categories worldwide for sweet and savory snacks, according to a report by Euromonitor International.

By the end of 2012, fruit snack earnings are expected to grow 5%, surpassing even french fries at 3% growth. According to the report, the Asia-Pacific region anticipates 13% growth and Latin America takes the lead with 20% projected growth.

The study explains that a large part of Latin American growth is due to Pepsico's brand Natuchips, which represents half of 2012 regional sales at US$20 million. Although the products are not exactly considered healthy, they are made from local products such as bananas and yuca.

The brand is prominent is Colombia and Venezuela, and now has a presence in other countries in the region.

While a trend toward healthier food is growing in Latin America, the study recommends caution, given the research and investment that will be required to keep such snacks on retailer shelves.

The Euromonitor study shows healthy snacks are an important portfolio piece for "big players" on the market, explaining that success is not only shown through star products but also through dedication to health issues.

The key is to have realistic sales expectations and to know the target public.

"The fact that snack food products are primarily an impulse purchase is an important consideration," the study said.

One way to counter this is to promote the concept of "planned snacks."

"If a healthy fruit snack becomes a staple component of someone's packed lunch, or takes up permanent residency in their car's glove compartment for on-the-road snacking, then a health conscious consumer will be far less tempted to visit the next petrol station for calorie-laden indulgences at the spur of the moment," it explained.

The idea is for these products to be available in various formats, which will allow consumers to try before committing to them.

A key group to keep in mind is children. The study said the number of fruit-based snacks for them is increasing and some interesting developments have come along.

An example is Nim's Fruit Crisps which sells dried fruit chips made with whole fruits, including apples, strawberries, pineapples, mangos, oranges, melons, kiwifruit and pears.

A trend has also been observed in private labels. In 2011, Sainsbury's launched a range of fruit snacks for children. The snacks included blueberries, apricots, strawberries and raisins.

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