Snack brands like Dreyer’s/Edy’s ice cream, Hershey’s chocolate, and Lay’s potato chips are trying to solve the dieter’s dilemma by rolling out mid-calorie goodies that have more fat and calories than the snacks of earlier diet crazes, but less than the original versions, reported the Associated Press. They are following the lead of soda companies like Pepsi and Dr Pepper that introduced mid-calorie drinks last year.
The mid-calorie trend is hitting at a time when companies that make sugary and salty treats are being blamed for the country’s expanding waistlines. The problem is that the same things that make snacks taste good—sugar, salt, calories—also make them fattening. And many Americans don’t want to sacrifice taste at snack time. Shaving a few calories enables companies to market their cakes, cookies and chips as healthier without the bad taste stigma associated with some low-fat products.
The new era of diet food started in the last decade. In 2007, companies began offering 100-calorie packs of popular snacks like Oreos cookies and Twinkies cakes. That’s when brands started putting their focus on reducing calories—without any flavor change. Companies have to convince dieters that their mid-calorie snacks are not only healthy, but tasty too.
Hershey’s in June introduced Simple Pleasures, chocolate with 30% less fat. A serving size of six pieces equals 180 calories and eight grams of fat—30 calories and five grams of fat less than the original Hershey’s chocolate bar. The company is hoping the deficit is enough to lure chocolate lovers who want to eat healthier.
Lay’s in July rolled out two new flavors of its Kettle Cooked potato chips with 40% less fat. The brand, which fries chips in small batches so as to use less oil than the continuous frying process for regular chips, introduced “Smokehouse BBQ” and “Cooked Sun-Dried Tomato & Parmesan. Regular Kettle Cooked chips have 160 calories and nine grams of fat, while the reduced-fat versions have 130 calories and six grams of fat.
Marketing can be key, said the report. Dreyer’s/Edy’s in May rolled out an ad campaign that emphasizes that Slow Churned ice cream has half the fat and one third of the calories of regular ice cream. The new packaging and ad campaign for the product, which has about 120 calories and 4.5 grams of fat compared with 150 calories and eight grams of fat in regular Dreyer’s mint chocolate chip, has the tagline “1/2 the Fat, 1/3 Fewer Calories than Regular Ice cream.
“There’s been a shift culturally from extreme dieting … and giving up food altogether,” said Dreyer’s/Edy’s brand manager Jen Eiseman. “Now it’s not about giving things up, but finding healthier ways of having it all.” (CSP Daily News: www.cspnet.com)