KANSAS CITY — Seasonal and seasoning are two words that come to mind when looking to describe innovation in the crackers category.
Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. finds itself participating in both trends. In May, Kellogg launched Cheez-It Snap’d Scorchin’ Hot Cheddar snacking crackers for a limited time this summer. The hot cheddar flavor joins double cheese, cheddar sour cream and onion, jalapeño jack and barbecue varieties in the Snap’d product line. Made with 100% real cheddar cheese, the hot cheddar crackers are spicy and garlicy, according to the company.
“Lunch has become the mundane or forgotten meal, but with the cheesy, thin and crispy crunch from Cheez-It Snap’d we’re bringing that ‘I can’t wait until lunch’ feeling back,” said Erin Storm, senior marketing director of Cheez-It.
Kellogg will hope the new flavor adds more fuel to the fire that has seen dollar sales of Cheez-It climb above $1.35 billion in the 52 weeks ended July 10, up nearly 15% from the same period a year ago, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Cheez-It unit sales also were higher, up 3.5% from the same period a year ago, which was in contrast to the overall cracker category, which experienced a 2.2% decline in unit sales over the past 52 weeks, according to IRI.
Seasoning also was at the heart of a new flavor launch within Kellogg’s Club Crisps lineup. Club Crisps debuted in March 2021 in sea salt and ranch flavors. A year later, Kellogg rolled out a limited-time variety: sweet and salty.
Club Crisps Sweet & Salty is the first-ever sweet and savory flavor within Kellogg’s expansive Club crackers portfolio. The wavy crisps are baked light and thin, and combine the taste of sweet, caramelized flavored sugar with a pop of salt that blends with a buttery base, according to Kellogg.
Meanwhile, Kellogg is giving consumers a seasonal option this fall with the introduction of Town House Game Day Dippers. The specially-shaped football-themed crackers feature four seasonal designs, including footballs, goal posts and helmets. The limited-edition crackers continue Kellogg’s expansion of the Town House Dippers brand, which debuted in June 2020 and expanded with Town House Dipping Thins in March 2021.
“Town House is always looking to innovate and deliver new experiences for our dedicated cracker fans,” said Zach Wyer, director of brand marketing for Kellogg’s Crackers. “With successful launches of Town House Dippers in 2020, followed by Dipping Thins in 2021, we took a fan-favorite product to the next level by introducing the first-ever football-shaped crackers to the Town House portfolio — just in time for the return of football season. We are excited to hear what consumers think of the new Town House Game Day Dippers.”
At Camden, NJ-based Campbell Soup Co., a growing partnership with McCormick & Co. is keeping things “spicy.” In May, the two companies partnered on another new Goldfish flavor: Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish crackers.
The new limited-edition variety includes Old Bay’s blend of 18 herbs and spices, including black pepper, paprika, celery salt and red pepper, giving the crackers what Campbell Soup describes as a “big, bold flavor combination that complements the classic, premium quality taste of Goldfish.”
“What I find most exciting about this partnership is that once again Goldfish is showing up for our flavor enthusiasts in a big, bold way,” said Janda Lukin, chief marketing officer of Campbell Snacks. “Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish harnesses the fandom of two iconic brands and brings consumers a new way to experience their favorite zesty flavor on their beloved fish-shaped cracker, just in time for summer.”
The partnership between Campbell and McCormick is the second in the Goldfish lineup. In April 2021 the two companies partnered to launch Frank’s RedHot crackers.
In a June earnings conference call, Mark A. Clouse, president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup, said he expected the company to get a boost from Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish, Goldfish Family Size and Goldfish Mega Bites.
“We quickly created a buzz among a passionate consumer base, logging more than 1 billion impressions in 48 hours,” Mr. Clouse said. “The product sold out within nine hours on Shop McCormick, with velocities very strong across all retail outlets.”
Sales were strong as well for Goldfish Family Size and Goldfish Mega Bites, he said.
“Family Size is overdelivering across all metrics, with strong velocity, distribution and trial,” Mr. Clouse said. “Goldfish Mega Bites continues to outpace our target and overdeliver on our expectations, driven by strong velocity, trial and repeat rates. Our strategy to broaden our consumer base is working, as evidenced by more than half of buyers being households without children and Mega Bites performing well with older consumers.”
Dollar sales of Pepperidge Farm crackers totaled $1.11 billion in the 52 weeks ended July 10, up 9% from the same period a year ago, according to IRI. Unit sales, though, fell 2.4% during the most recent period, IRI noted.