Editor’s Note: New product ideas are all around, and don’t always require new-to-the-world science. One of the most promising new products from Nestlé, for example, simply involves combining its wholesome, fruit-forward brand, Outshine, with a different product form, shelf-stable pouched snacks. In the first of a two-part discussion Prepared Foods Chief Editor Bob Garrison talks behind the scenes strategy with Doug Munk, Senior Director for Nestlé New Business Ventures
Prepared Foods: Nestlé first introduced Outshine fruit bars back in 2013 under its traditional ice cream brands, Dreyer’s and Edy’s. Later, the ice cream brand tagging was dropped and the line simply became Outshine. What can you tell us about the brand’s customer demographic and appeal?
Doug Munk: Its customer demographic is the disciplined health seeker. In households, it’s typically parents who follow a structured health regiment and they’re driving healthy lifestyles for kids too. That’s really the sweet spot for Outshine, which is definitely one of our brands that focuses on real ingredients and no added sugars. We’re providing a product with no artificial colors, flavors, GMOs, while emphasizing real fruit ingredients
PF: What can you say about consumer insights and taking the brand out of the freezercase and into shelf-stable pouched snacks?
Munk: We looked at our various brands for growth opportunities, dug deep and realized that Outshine is so beloved and has a loyal following. Outshine products appeal to both adults and kids, with consumption particularly strong among households with kids.
We asked, “Where are consumers looking for more healthy snacking options?” That led us to Outshine Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie Pouches. They have universal appeal for parents and kids with real fruit ingredients and no added sugars. We were determined to create a great tasting product. Moreover, with its packaging, we hit the sweet spot with a product that not only appeals to kids but also something for a disciplined health seeker.
To that point, we believe we’re addressing a gap in market. From our research, 86% of parents want a snack that appeals to the whole family, and as many as 60% of adult consumers say there are not enough snacks that are nutritious and delicious for them. Many parents are looking at what they have on hand and finding that they actually prefer kids’ snacks over adult snacks. You can imagine parents sort of hiding in the pantry over the embarrassment of eating a kids snack. We’ve found that these new Outshine pouches appeal to both parents and kids. It tastes great and both sets of consumers can feel good about it.
PF: Where are the products merchandised and distributed?
Munk: We’re in applesauce section where parents would be looking for it. The product (SRP $4.49) is at retailers including Food Lion, select Kroger-owned stores and select Safeway Albertsons in the Pacific Northwest. They’re also available for online purchase through Amazon.
These products are more “eCommerce” friendly and we believe there’s a huge opportunity for frequent usage—either for a kid’s lunchbox every day—or as adult snacks. They also can be refrigerated and enjoyed cool as well.
PF: Was it a big deal to jump from the freezercase to the shelf-stable aisle?
Munk: There are not many brands that can traverse those categories. And yes, people initially looked at us and said, “You are ice cream.” Yet once in a blue moon you can switch and we’re a successful example of that.
We believe we can do it. The product appeal goes much deeper than the format because we’ve stayed true to our consumer and our insights about how we’re talking about nutritious snacking. Consumers have told us that they were ready to follow us into this pouch format and told us, “We would love it.”
PF: Can you share any other potential new product platforms for Outshine?
Munk: One item we are considering is a Smoothie Cube, which transforms into delicious smoothies with the addition of your favorite liquid. We did lots of testing and learning a couple years ago with Blenderful Smoothie Cubes, a product idea submitted within our internal crowdsourcing program. The concept and product is all about delivering a consistent smoothie with convenience. We vetted the product with consumers who liked it, as well as retailers, who showed interest.
We do think that Outshine could play into that same product concept and also deliver its better-for-you functional benefits. That retail frozen fruit space has room for reinvention and this can be an example of how to build a platform that takes a commodity-driven category to a more value-added proposition.