Exclusive Interview

That’s It expands into US chocolate market to compete with Godiva

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: CN
Pic: CN
Fruit bars maker, That’s It, has entered the confectionery category by introducing a line of truffles made with 64% dark chocolate: dark chocolate and dates, and dark chocolate and figs.

These two varieties are available in US retailers, including CVS.

The company’s CEO Lior Lewensztain said: “We were trying out different truffle flavors [during the product development], and we wanted to create a different premium experience.

“I really want to hype on the word ‘truffle,’ because compared to many other products, which are chocolate-covered fruit and pretzels, the way we manufacture it is completely customized: we don’t pan it like candies, and we don’t use purees, concentrate or filling. Instead, we use real fruit like what we do to our nutrition bars,”​ he said.

In terms of pricing, That’s It truffles are more affordable than some of its competitors in the market, added Lewensztain.

Vertical

“One Godiva’s truffle is probably $2 to $3, and we really can bring that premium experience to the masses in a way that we call it ‘healthy decadence’ if you will,”​ he said.

“The number of calories of single serving is about 100 calories – that’s five truffles in total. So each one of them only has around 20 calories. It’s a guiltless snacking.”

Why do healthy snack companies start making confections?

That’s It’s recent expansion into the confectionery category came at a time when the growth of healthy snack sales starts to slow down after outpacing their indulgent counterparts for nearly a decade, according to IRI.

In 2017, indulgent snacks grew 1.9% in dollar sales, while wellness snacks slipped by 0.4%, the IRI data showed. 

In “all other”​ snacks category, granola bar sales soared by 23% during the same year compared to growth of 1.8% for nutrition and health bars. The data also indicated that sweet snacking is on the rise for the first time in 10 years.

Additionally, some of the investors and food incubators are adding confections to their portfolios. 

Halen Brands​ for example, which has been traditionally investing in protein snacks, just created a line of French-style indulgent chocolate; Rainmaker​ brought artisan chocolatier Sulpice and Sugarpova on board to turn their sales around; and The Hatchery Chicago recently showcased fruit chews brand Spark Organics at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

Does that mean companies, which primarily pride themselves in health and nutrition, should capture the next wave of food trend by switching to confections?  

Lewensztain suggested the health and wellness category does not necessarily need to exclude confectionery products.

“To the contrary, we are able to maintain all the principals of our brand including premium and clean ingredients, and health and wellness perspective. Our truffles are very fruit-forward: you are getting a serving of fruit and the health benefits of dark chocolate at the same time,”​ he said.

Packaging update

That’s It also changed its original fruit bars’ packaging from horizontal to vertical to better capture consumer's attention in store.

“We had our packaging for five to six years now, and we wanted to modernize it and clean it up in terms of what people are looking for in their products these days,”​ said Lewensztain.

The new version highlights labels, such as non-GMO, no added sugar and low calories, on the front, and the back of it contains logos, including allergy-friendly, vegan, Kosher, paleo and gluten-free.

“[The vertical packaging] also gives it a nice flow of ingredient information. From the digital and social media perspective, it’s also easier for people to take pictures,”​ added Lewensztain.

He noted the rebranded That’s It bars are currently available across US retailers and online via the company’s website and Amazon.

“The sky’s the limit for our business. We’re looking for a triple-digit growth in 2018,” ​said Lewensztain.

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