- Mondelez International will sell a controlling stake in its SnackWell brand of cookies and crackers to Brynwood Partners, a private equity firm specializing in food-brand investments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Brynwood said it would combine SnackWell with its Back to Nature cookie and granola brand. Brynwood took control of Back to Nature in a similar deal with Mondelez last year.
- The move comes as Mondelez faces pressure from dissident shareholder Nelson Peltz, who has called for Mondelez to cut costs and merge with PepsiCo's Frito-Lay brands.
It's hard to remember now, but there was a time in the early 90s when SnackWell cookies seemed to make sense. The idea was that people were overweight because they ate fat-filled cookies. So let's give them a low-fat cookie instead! The pounds will just fall away! Sales were great, apparently, for a very long time. But then consumers must have looked around and noticed that they were all still fat.
But the difference between being overweight in 1993 and being overweight now is that today you have the Web. And just asking a question on the Web like "are SnackWells healthy?" or "are SnackWells good for you? or "will Snackwells help me lose weight?" will get you answers like nope, of course not and we know better now.
How the folks at Brynwood plan to get past this is unclear. But as they make their plans they should note that the top return we got on the Web today for "Is Back to Nature brand healthy?" is a site about "health-washing" -- when a brand uses marketing and health/nature nomenclature to try to convince consumers that something unhealthy is good for them.