Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Slims Dessert Crackers in banana and cocoa flavors Sheila G's Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle in Original Category-Defying Foods "Is it a snack or is it a candy?" buyers have asked Nancy Eichler of Sheila G's Brownie Brittle. The product first began appearing on store shelves in 2011 and sales are impressive; the company expects to reach $40 million in 2013. "Is it a specialty item that belongs in the deli-bakery? It is so hard to define," Eichler says. Eichler, vice president of marketing for Sheila G's, says she is open-minded, though she believes the best place for Brownie Brittle is in the deli-bakery, where the Publix grocery chain reports it's doing phenomenally well. "Wegman's has it in specialty cooking," she notes, "whereas Jungle Jim's International Market in Ohio has it in candies." The hybrid snack came to be when Sheila G. Mains, a successful fudge brownie entrepreneur, had an epiphany. At her baking facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., she particularly loved picking at the crunchy chocolate edges dripping from the brownie pan. Then she noticed other people at the bakery doing the same thing. This spurred her to experiment, seeing if she could make a whole pan of ultra-thin, airy, intense chocolaty edges without burning them. Once it was perfected, Sheila G's Original Brownie Brittle hit store shelves in April 2011. The response was immediate and overwhelming, says Eichler. Sheila G's launched a Facebook page around the same time and has gathered nearly 58,000 "likes." More than 1,000 photos from customers have been posted on the company's Instagram page. "What we've developed almost has a cult following," Eichler Sheila G's Brownie Brittle frst began appearing on store shelves in 2011. The company expects to reach $40 million in sales in 2013. 72 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com says. "Our fans refer to it as 'brownie crack.'" Sheila G's now produces five flavors, with salted caramel and mint chocolate chip being the two newest. At 120 calories an ounce, even Weight Watchers endorses the product. Diet-Friendly Indulgences Low calorie counts are part of the appeal of Slims Dessert Crackers from Trumps Fine Food, Vancouver, British Columbia. Banana and Cranberry-Orange Slims have the crunch of biscotti, high fruit content and no MSG or trans fats, plus they're shelf-stable for 15 months. "The thought process behind the product was to create a portion-controlled snack that was better than the other 100-calorie snacks out there," says Heather Angel, owner of Trumps and creator of the dessert cracker. The Slims collection, which includes Cocoa Slims, are anytime snacks, eaten with breakfast cereal and yogurt, spread with peanut butter and even enjoyed as a flavorful cracker topped with cheese. At the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, Trumps will be launching its new gluten-free chocolate pecan flavor. "All flavors going forward are going to be gluten-free," Angel says. In addition, the Canadian company will be removing all genetically engineered ingredients from its products. Fusion Without Confusion Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at the Mintel Group in Chicago, sees the dessert hybrid as a successful, though not groundbreaking, strategy. "Think cakes with pudding in the middle or muffin tops or sweet bagel chips even," she says. "However, it does appear that the concept is growing, especially from smaller companies." To explain the appeal of these dessert "mash-ups," as she calls them, Dornblaser cites consumers' familiarity with at least one of the components, which makes them more tempted to try it in a new

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