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    Granola Bars Put Crunch on Other Snacks

    IRI: Fastest-growing snacks in nine metro areas.

    Granola-bar sales are booming, especially in Los Angeles, according to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc.

    Although the market-research firm didn't provide any commentary with the study, the Associated Press noted the results clearly show granola bars to be the fastest-growing snack category in the nine metropolitan areas where data were compiled.

    The study comes with Americans consuming fewer cookies and trying to eat more healthful snacks, such as fruit, yogurt, breakfast bars and baked snack crackers, Bob Goldin, an analyst at Chicago-based food consultancy Technomic Inc., told AP. "Granola bars are a classic case of a product that people consider to be pretty healthy -- even though a lot of them are a lot like candy bars."

    According to the study, sales of granola bars rose strongly across the board in the 52 weeks ended Oct. 2 and jumped 23.8 percent from a year earlier in the Los Angeles area, where shoppers shelled out a total of $26.3 million for them. Houston and San Francisco-Oakland were not far behind, with increases of 19.2 percent and 19 percent.

    Brand-wise, the results show a close competition between Quaker, which had the No. 1 granola bar in five of the nine cities, and Nature Valley.

    Breakfast bars also have been selling well, especially in Houston and Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and more modestly elsewhere

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