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    Free-from Products Riding High

    February is turning out to be a banner month for better-for-you products.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    February is turning out to be a banner month for better-for-you products.

    Mighty Mondelez International announced that it’s acquiring Enjoy Life Foods, the successful maker of allergen-free snacks. Nestle USA declared it would be removing the artificial flavors and colors from its iconic candy brands and, not long after, Hershey affirmed its commitment to simple ingredients. And snack giant Snyder’s-Lance created a new division, Clearview Foods, to focus on healthy products.

    Among retailers, Wegmans announced it’s making healthy snacks a priority in 2015, Supervalu is refreshing the image of its Wild Harvest brand of free-from products, and Whole Foods is enlisting the talents of a renowned children’s author to get kids jazzed up about its private brand healthy cereals.

    Meanwhile, the latest Market LOHAS MamboTrack Research Survey revealed that today’s health-seeking shoppers are prioritizing “values” over “value” by choosing brands based on key product and ingredient factors over cost and other drivers. 

    As PG’s Meg Major wrote in a recent online column, brand choice for healthy-minded shoppers is being increasingly driven by taste and healthy product factors, including ingredients and non-GMO, ahead of organic in purchase priority for the second year in a row, according to the study. All-natural products are also losing cachet, and price is becoming less important to conscious consumers.

    In addition, PG looks at how retailers can capitalize on all this momentum in its latest “free-from” report, in its soon-to-be-released March 2015 issue.

    And it’s all happening in the run up to the next Natural Products Expo West, which runs March 4-8 in Anaheim, Calif. I’ll be there to bring you the latest product news; follow me on Twitter – @jimdudlicek – for from-the-floor reports. 

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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