The time is rice...

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Ryvita is to launch a new rice-based snack bar this week called
Tondo's - a bid to challenge the market supremacy of Quaker's

Ryvita is squaring up to Quaker's market leading Snack-a-Jacks brand in the growing low fat rice snack sector in the UK with the launch of a new product, Tondo's.

But market analysts Datamonitor​ point out that this is a tricky sector in which to make money, with Ryvita likely to face intense competition from the Quaker brand as well as uncertainty concerning consumers' overall willingness to sacrifice taste for health.

The new product - a low fat rice snack which comes in four flavour variants - is set to be launched this week, and is the first Ryvita product positioned to be eaten alone rather than used as a base for toppings. All four varieties contain less than 3 per cent fat and come in 35g and 100g foil bags. A national TV campaign is scheduled for later in the year along with product sampling.

The first objective for Tondo's will be to establish a place as a credible alternative to Snack-a-Jacks, claims Datamonitor, a task which will not be an easy one. The Snack-a-Jacks brand is widely regarded to have revolutionised healthy snacking in the UK through an interesting and innovative product range that combines both savoury and sweet flavours.

The brand is the clear market leader and has already forced one competitor out of the market this year. Masterfoods admitted defeat last March when it scrapped its low-fat snack brand Rispinos. Like Ryvita, Masterfoods had hoped to capitalise on a growing interest in low fat snacks that results from consumers' desire to continue to eat a balanced diet while on the move. In spite of this trend, Rispinos was well beaten in the battle for category leadership and Masterfoods' eventual exit, after two years of marketing investment, suggests there may well only be room for one major player, said Datamonitor.

The problem is that the jury is still out on whether consumers are willing to forego a tasty snack in favour of a healthier one. Consumers still feel the need to indulge, and current evidence suggests health remains secondary, at least as far as snacks are concerned.

However, Ryvita must avoid positioning Tondo's as a snack that caters for both health and indulgence since that is likely to transmit conflicting messages to consumers, Datamonitor said. Instead, given Ryvita's already strong brand reputation for health-orientated food, the company should seek to position Tondo's as positive part of daily nutrition.

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