- PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division has introduced a line of children's snacks under the Imagine brand, FoodBev reported. The better-for-you products are meant for busy families and offer kid-friendly flavors, the publication noted.
- Imagine's Yogurt Crisps and Cheese Stars contain no artificial colors or flavors, are packaged in 4.5-ounce resealable bags, and are available for a $3.49 suggested retail price. The Cheese Stars are made with real cheese and come in parmesan and white cheddar varieties. They have 6 grams of protein per serving. The Yogurt Crisps come in mixed berry and apple cinnamon flavors and contain 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of whole grains per serving.
- "We know that parents today have a hard time finding snack options for their kids that not only taste great, but also deliver positive nutrition like protein or calcium," Sarah Guzman, Imag!ne senior marketing director, told FoodBev. "That's why Imagine features real ingredients like yogurt and cheese that kids and parents will love — as well as fun shapes and packaging to help make snack time, imagination time."
The Frito-Lay division has been a bright spot for PepsiCo in recent months, with Cheetos, Tostitos and Doritos helping to boost the company's earnings. While those products fall squarely in the junk food category, PepsiCo's introduction of the better-for-you Imagine treats will help the company further expand its offerings in the snacking segment and respond to consumer demand for more than sugary soft drinks.
As Imagine's senior marketing director told FoodBev, parents are looking for healthier snacks that their children will like and still provide protein, calcium and whole grains, as well as contain real ingredients and no artificial colors or flavors. Besides checking those boxes, the new snack lineup offers an online "Imagination Center" featuring coloring pages, art projects and creative ways to "play with your food."
The new children's snack brand fits in with some of PepsiCo's recent acquisitions that are repositioning the beverage giant toward a more health-oriented portfolio. Just yesterday, PepsiCo bought Richmond, Virginia-based Health Warrior, which produces plant-based nutrition bars, mixes and snacks. The company also announced in May that it would acquire Bare Foods, a San Francisco-based maker of baked fruit and vegetables snacks, for an undisclosed amount.
By emphasizing the cheese and yogurt aspects of the snack, PepsiCo is staying on-trend. Dairy-based ingredients — whether from milk, yogurt, whey protein, milk protein isolate or cheese — are popular because they provide protein and a label item consumers recognize.
The snacking category, currently valued at about $89 billion, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 3%, IRI market research found. Dataessential has estimated that consumers are snacking four to five times a day, so the appetite for more, different and healthier snack products appears to be insatiable.