Say Cheez! '90s favorite Cheez Balls are back
- Kraft Heinz Co. is bringing back Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls to grocery store shelves nationwide for a limited time following demand from online groups and petitions, according to the company. The snack product was removed from store shelves 12 years ago.
- To kick off the return and build hype, the company's Mr. Peanut used social media to tease fans by hiding the first 59 available canisters across the internet. It took 24 hours for winners to find the canisters. Mr. Peanut also gave some fans who went above and beyond to help bring Cheez Balls back one of the first deliveries of their favorite ‘90s snack.
- Beginning in July, Kraft said it will roll out Planters Cheez Balls in 2.75-oz canisters and Planters Cheez Curls in 4-oz canisters at a suggested retail price of $1.99. “We heard many impassioned pleas for us to bring Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls back over the years and we wanted to give our fans a chance to reunite with their most-missed cheesy snack,” said Melanie Huet, Planters's head of brand building.
With the snacking category already at $89 billion annually, and growing at a 3% clip, manufacturers are paying attention. Although a growing number of "free-from" products are appearing on store shelves, many companies are turning to the retro snacks of the '80s and '90s to help them grab a bigger share of the snacking market.
In the case of Cheez Balls, the pleas of '90s fans who have written thousands of impassioned messages to Planters demanding the return of their favorite fluorescent orange, cheese-flavored balls to shelves have finally had their voices heard, according to the food giant.
However, unlike Wacky Wafers or AB InBev’s Lime-A-Rita that were relaunched to a new generation, Planter's Cheez Balls are wisely going back to their original fan base with retro packaging that pulls on strings of nostalgia and reminds customers instantly of that snack they loved as a child. Kraft Heinz likely hopes these individuals will reconnect with the snack, passing it on to their children. It's uncertain how many people, beyond the hardcore fans, will gravitate to the product more than a decade later, especially with countless of other healthier options to chose from that are now available.
To help drive this relaunch, Planters is throwing its weight behind social media. After conducting a scavenger hunt to encourage people to interact with the brand and find their snackable “Easter Eggs” in the digital world, the company has continued to use social channels as a platform for consumers to share their love for Cheez Balls to their audience. This strategy fits well with the millennial demographic who remembers the snack from their childhood and who are especially interested in buying products they can share online by posting pictures of food and drink on social media.
Also helping drive the hype is Cheez Balls’ limited appearance. With thousands of food and beverage products making their way to the marketplace each year, it may be hard for this '90s snack to sustain customer interest. Offering it for a limited time will encourage snackers to grab a container before it's gone in hopes of walking down memory lane or perhaps sharing the love with a new generation. Maybe if enough people fall back in love, Planters will keep Cheez Balls on the shelves.