Habor Wholesale Foods


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What’s On Trend For 2019? Meat Snacks.

January 9, 2019

Meat Snacks continue their explosive growth, averaging 7+% growth per year for the past 5 years, and is projected to hit $3 Billion in 2018. Meat Snack growth is in the top 5% of all food category growth in retail stores. Meat Snacks remain the top seller in c-store alternative snacks, with sales racking up more than double that of health, energy and protein bars. In the 52 weeks ending on September 22nd, 2018 meat snacks sales in convenience stores totaled over $1.5 billion, a 3.6% increase from the same period in 2017, according to Nielsen.

Meat Snacks are up 30% in sales growth over the last 5 years.

Consumer lifestyle changes are one reason for Meat Snack growth. High protein, paleo, keto and mediterranean diets are popular. There are 35 million

households with at least one person on a diet. Claims fueling the growth are all natural preservatives, and clean label ingredients.

Meat Snacks are growing +1.1% in Northwest convenience store market this year. Harbor Wholesale Meat Snacks growth is +6.0%, six times the growth of NW
Convenience. Most notably, consumers are switching to larger sized packages. For example, standard (3-5 oz.) size jerky sales declined ($783,555) in the Northwest, while large and extra-large (>5.0 oz.) jerky/sticks grew +$1.2 million! Large and extra-large sizes now represent 28% of jerky sales, which is double from a few years ago. Popular large size products on the Harbor schematic include Oberto 9 oz. jerky and Old Trapper 10 oz. jerky. These items are a great way to increase basket ring in the store.

American households spend an average of $25.81 per year on meat snacks. Their pre-trip spend on sticks and jerky at $7.42 is also twice as much as it is on staples like potato chips, which are at $3.61, and popcorn, which totals $4.01, according to Nielsen. In terms of age groups, baby boomers are the biggest buyers, spending $28.48 per year, making them 10% more likely to buy meat snacks than the average shopper.

Meat Sticks grew +0.7% in the Northwest this year. Oberto Cocktail Pep and Smok-A-Roni are the top two selling stick items which can be merchandised either in a caddy or pegged, and have the highest dollar growth within Harbor Wholesale Meat Stick products. Slim Jim Monster 1.94 oz. items are highly ranked items that are growing in the Northwest and in the Harbor portfolio.

Bulk products account for 22% of sales dollars.

Bulk, or unwrapped jerky represents 22% of total meat snack sales. The Tillamook bulk program is the most popular modular floor display.
The Oberto Cocktail Pep acrylic counter top display is the highest volume at Harbor.

Candy And Snack Trends for 2018

November 8, 2017

By: Melissa Molnar, Digital Marketing Specialist

The candy and snack aisles are staples in any C-store, so how can you make your aisles stand out from the competition? Staying on top of snacking trends is a great way to differentiate your stock of these products. Harbor’s Category Manager for Candy & Snacks, Angela, recently attended NACS and shared what is happening in this category. The big trends impacting candy & snacks in 2018 are spicy and sweet, clean label, and surprise egg collectibles.

The spicy and hot candy trend began with Hot Tamales, last year Butterfinger released spicy cups, and the spicy trend is continuing in 2018. Palettes are continuously changing in the United States, and currently spicy foods are what’s hot. Customers looking to add some heat to their candy will welcome products like new Skittles Sweet Heat that add a kick to a classic candy. Skittles Spicy Sweet are available through Harbor in the December Retail Solutions book for pre-order.



Collectibles have been a huge trend over the last two years for kids, and now this trend is coming to a candy aisle near you. Both Kinder and Bazooka have begun offering surprise egg candies. They contain a toy, carefully sealed of course, and a delicious chocolate treat for both kids and adults to enjoy. Bazooka Toy Surprise also has Frozen, Peppa Pig and Star Wars options. Kinder Surprise Eggs and Bazooka Toy Surprise are perfect for the customer with a sweet tooth looking to add some fun to their candy consumption!



Clean-label was a popular trend in 2017, and this trend will still be important in 2018. Customers are constantly seeking healthier options for their snacks, are more aware of their calorie counts, and the less ingredients in a product the better. Classic snacks like potato chips have become healthier with Kettle Brand Chips, plus these are gluten free. For customers looking to snack on the go, Sahale Bars and Nature Valley XL Protein are easy to transport and are full of healthy flavors. Healthy offerings will keep regular customers happy and bring new customers into your store.


Spicy & Sweet, Clean Label and Surprise Egg Collectibles are just some of the most exciting things happening in the convenience store candy and snack aisles. Harbor currently has many offerings that fall into these categories, and can help you get the best product selection into your store for your customers.

How Brands Can Deliver on the Good-Food Promise

August 7, 2017

As claims of miracle ingredients and nutritious products abound, restaurants must toe the line between promoting and overpromising.

Whether it’s açai, juice cleanses, or spiking your morning coffee with yak butter, our culture loves the notion of fast-track solutions to better health. But as more consumers than ever make eating decisions with wellness in mind, restaurants must strike a balance between touting foods’ verifiable health benefits without straying into snake-oil territory.

“Any new food that’s pitched as healthy is often overblown,” says Jordan Feldman, founder of Springbone Kitchen. “There isn’t one, magical cure-all out there. People would benefit greatly if they started thinking about food more as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Feldman and cofounder Sam Eckstein opened Springbone last May in New York City as a nutrient-dense antidote to fad diets and sugary juice cleanses. The brand’s core product is drinking broth made from chicken or beef bones. The health benefits come from simmering the bones for at least 15 hours to extract collagen—the compound Springbone focuses most of its claims on, based on research-backed advantages of drinking about a cup of broth per day.

“For me, the highlight is always collagen, which is the form of protein that makes up connective tissue, which is found in bone broth,” Feldman says. Its uniquely beneficial amino acid composition includes glycine and proline, which have been linked to immunity, digestion, muscle repair, and cognitive function.

Feldman owns to the hype surrounding the term “collagen,” given its anti-aging connection, adding that bone broth isn’t immune to “miracle cure” claims, particularly among those looking to profit. At the same time, its relative simplicity and ubiquity across cultures makes it just as easy to pick on as a fad.

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Three Ways to Share Your Healthful Products With Customers

July 17, 2017

Although I’m impressed by the large number of convenience stores that provide access to fresh, healthful products, there’s still a disconnect in communicating this to customers. Many stores offer little to no indication that they carry healthful products—unless customers physically walk inside.

Last summer, when I was near the Oklahoma City airport, I reluctantly stopped at a location from a major brand that had questionable curb appeal and an enormous promo about a deal on 32-ounce fountain drinks. But when I ventured inside, I also discovered salads, fruit, vegetables, mixed nuts, low-sugar snack bars and other similar products.

This made me wonder how many customers might have come inside if they knew these products were available? How many would have purchased food in addition to fuel?

Part of the issue in not promoting healthful options is that such marketing comes at the expense of tried-and-true traditional products. But that’s incorrect. It’s not about promoting one over the other, but rather telling customers that you have something for everyone.

The good news? This doesn’t have to be complicated. And it can begin with a few simple steps.

Step 1: Reach customers at the pump. You may already have promotions displayed at or near the pump, but do any of them show your healthful offerings?

At my local HyVee Gas, each pump’s hose has a small plastic frame attached to hold inserts for various promotions. Some of these show traditional products, but many show healthful products as well. It’s a great strategy, because even if a customer doesn’t want the salad and bottled water I saw on one promotion, they know other healthful products are likely sold inside.

Kum & Go does something similar. As I write this column, I’m using the outdoor seating at one of their new marketplace stores. Across the parking lot, a customer is pumping gas into his SUV and staring at a poster for one of their new salads.

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Alternative Ingredient Snacks Woo Customers

June 9, 2017

Consumers’ quest for healthier snack options is changing the face of traditional c-store offerings.

A new national study by Amplify Snack Brands and the Center for Generational Kinetics indicates Millennials have been the driving force behind the growth of the better-for-you snack category.

Among the findings, 64% of Millennials—more than any other generation—believe that fewer ingredients mean a snack is healthier. In addition, 79% of Millennials said that understanding all the ingredients increases their level of trust in a packaged snack.

This trend has created a thriving market for so-called alternative ingredient snacks—those made using vegetables and grains such as chickpeas, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach, as well as pulses (including dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches and lupins).

Indeed, according to Packaged Facts, sales of alternative ingredient snacks in 2017 are forecasted to reach $1.2 billion.

For the second consecutive year, alternative snacks, a category driven by protein- and energy-rich items, reached the top 10 in-store merchandise categories, also signaling a desire by consumers for immediate/healthier snacking options.

The growth of variety in the sub-category has understandably resulted in slowed sales for some traditional snacks. For instance, for the 52-week period ending Feb. 19, 2017, market research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI) reported that c-store sales of snack nuts surpassed $618 million, a dip of 1.19% from the previous year. Sunflower and pumpkin seed sales totaled $314 million, a 3.63% decline during the same period.

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Health Consciousness Drives Protein Alternative Consumption

March 6, 2017

As more consumers adopt healthier lifestyles, interest in meat substitutes is growing.

While not fully committing to a meat-free lifestyle, ‘Meatless Mondays’ seem to be catching on among Americans as a way to cut back with new research from Mintel revealing that the top reason U.S. consumers use meat alternatives is because they occasionally like to have meat-free days (31%).

Health reasons are also driving interest, with three in 10 protein alternatives consumers saying that they are watching their cholesterol (30%) and are worried about eating too much saturated fat (29%). Indeed, Mintel research indicates that more than one third (35%) of Americans are eating protein more from sources other than red meat. However, while more than two thirds (66%) of protein alternatives consumers agree they are healthier than real meat, nearly half (46%) say that protein alternatives products are too high in sodium.

In addition to health reasons, protein alternatives seem to be playing a part in leading a healthier lifestyle as more than one quarter (28%) of those who use protein alternatives are trying to lose weight. Indeed, some 29% of new meat substitutes in 2016 featured a low-calorie or low-carbohydrate claim, up from 7.1% of new products in 2015, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

“Americans are embracing popular trends like ‘Meatless Mondays’ as an easy and consistent way to include meat-free meals into their diets in an effort to reduce meat consumption as health concerns surrounding red meat continue to grow. With so many consumers turning to protein from sources other than meat and poultry, there is an opportunity for marketers to reach a sizable group with concerns related to health, particularly cholesterol and fat content,” said Billy Roberts, senior rood and drink analyst at Mintel.

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What Does Healthy Mean in 2017?

January 30, 2017

More than one quarter of consumers say health concerns influence their choice of food and 23% are more likely to buy food with a health claim on the package.

A new report by research firm Mintel found less than half (42%) of Americans consider their diet to be healthy, even as interest in healthy food soars.

Indeed, less than two in five (38%) consumers agree that healthy foods are worth the added expense and just 44% pay attention to serving sizes. Americans also generally appear to be largely distrusting of food brands as only 14% believe regulatory approval indicates a food is healthy and just 16% trust the health claims on food and beverage packages. What’s more, a mere one quarter (23%) of consumers agree that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are good for them.

“Despite the fact that we’re seeing such a widespread and growing interest in healthy foods, relatively few Americans believe their diet is healthy. With consumers largely wary of even regulator-approved health food options, marketing healthy foods to skeptical consumers requires far more than merely an on-pack promise,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The key to attracting these consumers is convincing them that products actually deliver on the healthy attributes they promise and that they are truly good for consumers and their families.”

Today’s health-conscious consumers are staying away from products containing high-fructose corn syrup (50%), sugar (47%), trans fat (45%) and saturated fat (43%). What’s more, over one quarter (28%) believe a food is unhealthy if it has artificial ingredients, with consumers actively avoiding products with elements described as “artificial,” such as artificial sweeteners (43%), artificial preservatives (38%) and artificial flavors (35%).

While genetically modified (GM) appears farther down on the list of ingredients consumers avoid when shopping for healthy foods (29%), consumer dislike of GM foods nearly matches their dislike for foods with artificial ingredients. More than one in five (22%) Americans say that they would not feed GM foods to people in their household. What’s more, nearly half (46%) agree that GM foods are not suitable to eat, rising to 58% of consumers with a household income under $50,000.

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New Product Trend of the Year: Organic

January 27, 2017

Organic products aren’t new to your shelves—organic produce and fresh products have been around for a long time. But the trend that those products started years ago came to a climax in 2016. Products with organic attributes grew in sales volume by more than 13% last year, according to Nielsen. And they’re growing in more than just the fresh categories. Beverages were the seventh top-selling organic category in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 29, 2016.

While price is still a factor, consumers that are focused on health and wellness are willing to pay that premium. Chicago-based Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows that 44% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase, and are willing to pay at least slightly more for, a menu item with organic claims. And they think they taste better, with 40% of consumers saying organic food is tastier than nonorganic food, up from 33% of consumers in 2014.

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Americans Question ‘Healthy Diet’

January 23, 2017

CHICAGO — Less than 42% of Americans consider their diets healthy, according to new research from Mintel. In addition, less than 38% agree healthy foods are worth the added expense, and only 14% believe regulatory approval constitutes a healthy product. Moreover, 16% of consumers trust health claims on packaging, and 23% believe the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are good for them.

“Despite the fact that we’re seeing such a widespread and growing interest in healthy foods, relatively few Americans believe their diet is healthy,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “With consumers largely wary of even regulator-approved health food options, marketing healthy foods to skeptical consumers requires far more than merely an on-pack promise. The key to attracting these consumers is convincing them that products actually deliver on the healthy attributes they promise and that they are truly good for consumers and their families.”

Fifty per cent of health-conscious consumers avoid high-fructose corn syrup, 47% stay away from sugar, 45% steer clear of trans fat, and 43% avoid saturated fat, according to the research. Artificial ingredients such as artificial sweeteners (43%), artificial preservatives (38%) and artificial flavors (35%) also are on the healthy consumer’s list of ingredients to avoid.

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Functional Foods, Beverages Set To Grow

January 9, 2017

Adults become more health conscious and parents are increasingly concerned about the health of children, fueling the growth of functional products.

Technavio research analysts are forecasting that the global functional foods and beverages market will grow at a CAGR of close to 8% from 2017-2021.

The Technavio report segments the market into two broad categories consisting of functional foods and functional beverages. These foods and beverages are formulated with special ingredients to provide improved health.

“The growing demand for functional foods coupled with the introduction of innovative products and ingredients is driving the market,” said Manjunath Reddy, a lead analyst at Technavio for non-alcoholic beverages research. “Other factors that will fuel market growth include an increase in the demand for functional foods from older people, increase in the number of health-conscious adults and increased concern about the health of children.”

Technavio food and beverage analysts highlight the following three drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global functional foods and beverages market:

Product innovations

Health benefits associated with functional foods and beverages

Emergence of non-traditional fitness activities

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