Barilla to give Swedish crispbread new image

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STOCKHOLM--Sweden's antitrust authorities have approved the sale of the world's leading crispbread marketer, Stockholm-based Wasabrod, to Barilla. The Italian pasta company wants to position new crispbread products as "functional foods" with identifiable health benefits in a bid to attract younger consumers.

Sweden is the biggest market for crispbread worldwide, but the market for crispbread has been diminishing since the early 1990s. It has a decidedly older consumer profile, with 80% of purchasers aged 50 year and older.

The first of the functional foods, Wasa Vital, is due to be launched in Scandinavia in May, followed by the U.S. and the rest of Europe in August.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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