KANSAS CITY — Interest in traditional saltine crackers may be waning, but demand for interesting and innovative products continues to climb.
In the 52 weeks ended June 12, dollar sales in the crackers category totaled $7,377,201,152, up 1% from the same period a year ago, according to Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm. The crackers with fillings category experienced a 1% increase in dollar sales during the period, climbing to $1,091,422,208, while graham cracker sales rose nearly 3% to $456,768,800. The increases were in contrast to the saltine cracker category, where dollar sales in the 52 weeks ended June 12 fell 5% to $519,509,632.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Pepperidge Farm, Inc., a subsidiary of Campbell Soup Co., has grabbed consumers’ attention over the years with different colors and flavors for its Goldfish brand of crackers. Now, the company is looking to capitalize on another segment of the broader food industry: organic.
In June, Pepperidge Farm launched Goldfish Crackers Made with Organic Wheat in three varieties: Cheddar, Parmesan and Saltine. The crackers are sold in 8-oz resealable bags for $3.99 at all major retailers nationally. Pepperidge said the crackers are 70% organic and are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
“Goldfish Made with Organic Wheat expands our offerings to meet the needs of America’s evolving young families, while delivering the same delicious taste children and parents have grown to expect from Goldfish,” said Brian Blanchard, vice-president of cookies and crackers at Pepperidge Farm. “As with the introduction of Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain last year, we are always looking to provide wholesome snacking fun and smiles to all families.”
Mondelez International, Inc., Deerfield, Ill., is the nation’s largest cracker maker, with more than $1 billion in annual sales generated through its Nabisco unit that includes such brands as Ritz, Triscuit and Wheat Thins. But with consumer demand for more wholesome savory snack options increasing, Mondelez in March went beyond those recognized cracker banners to launch its first new snack brand in over a decade: Good Thins.
The baked crackers are made with potatoes, chickpeas or rice and contain no artificial flavors, colors, cholesterol, partially hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup.
“We launched Good Thins in March, and it has already reached a 1.4 share of the U.S. cracker market,” said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Mondelez, during an April 27 earnings call with financial analysts.
A focus on building brands through product innovation and renovation is one of five key strategic initiatives at Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company is the largest maker of crackers with fillings, and in the 52 weeks ended June 12, dollar sales for the company in that category totaled $298,255,264, up more than 11% from the same period a year ago, according to I.R.I. The company’s innovation has extended to the gluten-free category, where last year Snyder’s-Lance made a splash with the introduction of the first gluten-free sandwich cracker, marking a “major gluten-free product breakthrough.” The gluten-free peanut butter and cheddar cheese sandwich crackers combine “the great Lance taste in a bite-sized snack,” according to the company.