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ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Convenience store operators looking to boost profits should consider adding food bars to their shelves, according to "Food Bars in the U.S.," a new report from Packaged Facts. Retail sales of both cereal/granola bars and energy/nutrition bars reached $5.7 billion in 2011.
Some food bars have seen double-digit growth in both the mass-market and natural products channels, according to the report. Increased sophistication in marketing to different consumer sets, as well as continued innovation in formulas and formats are contributing factors.
"Food trends such as the blurring of meals and snacks, an emphasis on portion control, and increasingly informal, spur-of-the-moment and customized eating all favor the food bar market," commented David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts.
While cereal/granola bars tend to focus more on nutrition and incorporate functional ingredients such as protein and fiber, energy/nutrition bars incorporate more creative and decadent formulations to make them more appetizing. However, a main trend in the food bar market is the overall blurring between the two, according to the report.
Cereal bar manufacturers have begun targeting consumers looking for an energy boost, nutritious snack or fast meal replacement option instead of just a treat. Cereal bars that contain reduced calories, fat or sugar have performed well recently, although introduction of products that include these attributes has dropped sharply in the last five years.
Manufacturers have also begun to address more sophisticated concerns, such as supplementing nutritional deficits that might be incurred in a weight-loss program. High-protein, low-carbohydrate and balanced-gastrointestinal formulations have seen positive results, according to Packaged Facts’ research.
For the energy/nutrition bar category, new flavor and ingredient introductions, plus improvements in taste and mouthfeel have improved prospects. Functional ingredients used to vary the formula of nutrition bars include CoQ10, L-carnitine, omega-3, resveratrol and vitamin K2.
Packaged Facts gathered information for this report by consulting with industry sources and conducting an online consumer survey in February and March. It also evaluated and compared data and information found in financial, trade and government sources, along with company media. Its analysis drew upon mass-market, sales-tracking data from SymphonyIRI and national consumer survey data from Experian Simmons as well.
To purchase the full report, visit Packaged Facts' website.