PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- Nabisco Biscuit Co. division of Nabisco Inc. here is entering the salty snack department of the supermarket with a line of pretzel, chip, cracker and snack mix products under the Snack Well's and Ritz brand names.
In supermarkets the new products will be merchandised in the "variety snacks" area of the salty snack aisle, where items such as Pringle's, Combos and Chex Mix are often merchandised.
The products are initially being introduced to the Denver, western New York and Jacksonville, Fla., markets where the merchandising of the line will be fine-tuned before it is rolled out nationally, said Ann Smith, a Nabisco spokeswoman. Distribution began late last month.
"The variety snacks area is a brand new aisle for us. We are cultivating information, such as the best ways to display. We are in three markets that we feel are heavy chip-user markets. We need to find out how much turnaround there is, and what our production schedule will be as we roll out," she told SN, adding that a date for a national rollout has not been set.
Smith said the line will be managed in the stores by Nabisco's direct-store-delivery sales force. She noted that variety snacks have an $800 million share of the $14 billion salty snack category.
"Right now we feel that it is an under-marketed and under-managed area of the salty snack aisle that we can kind of own, and we're going to work hard to grow that category," she said.
Nabisco's new products include Snack Well's pretzels that are low in sodium and fat and cholesterol-free, Snack Well's reduced-fat tortilla chips in Salsa Ranch and Cheddar Taco flavors, and Snack Well's reduced-fat Potato Crisps in Original and Cheddar n' Sour Cream flavors.
Ritz Snack Mix is a combination of Ritz Bits crackers, pretzel sticks and Wheat Shreddies in Traditional, Cheddar and Ranch flavors packaged in a 9.5-ounce bag. Ritz Spreadables are boxes of six individually wrapped packets of four Ritz crackers and either peanut butter or "cheez" spreads with a spreading stick.
The Ritz Snack Mix and Snack Well's chip products are packaged in "Chip Zip" resealable stand-up bags that offer ease of storage and handling and added protection from product breakage. All items have a suggested retail of $1.39 to $1.79.