Beyond the Headlines
June 1, 2005
Beyond the Headlines
by Dan Malovany
Once in a while, you read a stupid headline and say “Duh.” For example, HealthDay.com ran a story on June 20 titled, “Overweight People More Likely to Survive Bypass Surgery.” Duh, if you didn’t eat so bloody much, maybe you wouldn’t need to survive bypass surgery in the first place.
Seriously, if you go beyond the headline, the study of more than 16,000 people who had bypass surgeries shows that overweight people tended to need it at a younger age. In fact, there was a direct correlation between a high body-mass index (BMI) and the age when the surgery was performed. Those with a BMI of 40 or higher needed a bypass at an average age of 60. That’s why I’m a firm believer in investing in companies that produce medical devices.
I strongly urge you to go beyond the headlines in our annual “State of the Industry” report to discover what’s going on in the snack food and wholesale baking industry. There are a tremendous amount of gems buried throughout this year’s report.
For instance, those of you who produce cookies, crackers, snack bars, nuts, yogurt, meat snacks and munchable items might want to keep an eye on Frito-Lay. The Plano, Texas-based company plans to build upon its 65% dollar share in the $15 billion salted-snack category and branch out into the $90 million “macrosnack” category, in which it has a 15% share.
Specifically, its Doritos brand is being repositioned as a macrosnack to compete against candy and crackers. Tostitos is being positioned against crackers as a carrier for spreads, salsa and other scoopable foods like chili.
Frito-Lay isn’t alone. Kraft Foods’ rolled out Ritz Chips, which compete against potato chips from the safety of the cracker aisle. The Hershey Co. has branched into the cookie and energy bar categories, and PowerBar and Clif Bar are producing bars that taste like candy but contain vitamins and nutrients that are good for you.
With everyone fighting for a larger share of the consumer’s stomach, it’s probably good news for the industry’s health that Americans are getting fatter and fatter. The bigger our stomachs, the better it is for all of you.
So grab a slice of pie, heat up a personal pizza or dig into your favorite bag of pretzels and check out our annual report. As the saying goes, that which doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.