Amanda Topper
Amanda Topper is the Director of US Research: Food, Drink, Foodservice, Flavors & Ingredients, responsible for overseeing all of Mintel’s foodservice offerings, as well as providing insight and competitive analysis across scheduled deliverables, and client and industry presentations.

The nuts and trail mix segment has been growing (53% from 2008-13) and is expected to continue as consumer awareness of the segment’s health and nutritional benefits rise. In the US, Planters is taking advantage of this growth, but isn’t resting on their laurels. This May, Planters launched a line of flavored peanuts featuring both sweet and savory varieties to appeal the power of the peanut to all taste buds. Flavors include tasty creations like salted caramel, cocoa, chipotle and smoked.

As consumers snack more frequently, trading three meals a day for smaller, more-frequent snacks, they look for products with better-for-you claims that can help them feel good about snacking more often. Common product claims include natural ingredients, and high protein or fiber. The nuts and trail mix segment is one of the fastest-growing snack segments because it can naturally offer these benefits.

Planters, known for its line of nut-based products including peanuts, cashews, almonds, nut mixes, and nut butters, launched the brand’s “Power of the Peanut” campaign in August 2013 as a way to promote the nutritional benefits of peanuts. The brand campaign shifted attention from other nuts, toward the benefits of peanuts, or what the brand calls “six essential nutrients.” These include protein, fiber, niacin, and magnesium. One in five (20%) US consumers who purchase chips, popcorn, nuts, or dips indicate a new flavor is important to them when purchasing these types of products. Consumers who may have never considered peanuts a nutritious snack may be interested in this line of new flavors.

Snacking trends indicate increased competition among food manufacturers to gain consumer dollars. Planters’ latest campaign makes it a strong competitor by launching on-trend flavors of existing products that make their products taste better, while still appealing to health-conscious consumers. In this case, marketing nutritional information, combined with a variety of new, trendy flavors, may be compelling enough for consumers to consider “the power of the peanut.”

Amanda Topper is an analyst specializing in the food industry. She is responsible for writing monthly analysis reports providing strategic insight and consultancy across several categories from gluten-free foods and cheese to cereal and snacks.