QUAKER, NESTLE TEAM FOR CHEWY GRANOLA BARS: CANDY IS DANDY FIT FOR INDULGENT WHOLESOME LINE

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Quaker Oats Co. is partnering with Nestle USA for new Chewy Granola Bars with candy bar appeal.

Co-branded varieties featuring pieces of Butterfinger and Nestle Crunch join the Quaker lineup in January, with ads to follow in April.

Even though Quaker bills its Chewy line as a wholesome snack parents can feel good about, the new extension follows a trend in the $1.2 billion snack and granola bar category toward increasingly decadent offerings. The influx is in response to a consumer shift toward better-tasting treats that are essentially candy bar substitutes without the guilt.

Because of the kid-demand factor for the new products, TV and print advertising from FCB Worldwide, Chicago, likely will talk to kids more directly than in last year's mom-targeted campaign, "Chewy stops the chatter." That effort showcased kids making embarrassing statements.

WHOLESOME SNACKS

Due to the competitiveness of the category, Quaker has focused its Chewy ads on new products that differentiate the line, allocating nearly its entire $9 million media budget during the first half of this year against the introduction of Chewy Graham Slam, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Kellogg Co. has led on the trail of indulgence in what has been dubbed "wholesome snacking" with its Rice Krispies Treats, surpassing Quaker's $135 million Chewy franchise with sales of $138 million for the year ended July 18, according to Information Resources, Inc.

General Mills has tried to emulate its cereal competitor with its own Golden Grahams Treats but has faltered lately, with a sales decline of 20% during the period to $27.4 million. Quaker itself had a new-product failure in the segment earlier this year, discontinuing its line of Cap'n Crunch Bars.

Quaker and Nestle are banking on the fact that Chewy's high standing with moms will help the new varieties stand out next to M&M/Mars' $46 million Kudos line, which offer bars with pieces of M&M's and Snickers. Kudos sales dropped 7% for

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