WhiteWave Foods expanding its Horizon

by Keith Nunes
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — The WhiteWave Foods Co. is expanding its Horizon Organic brand to the center of the supermarket with the introduction of organic and “made with organic” children’s meals and children’s snacks.

The company made the announcement Feb. 20 during its presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference taking place in Boca Raton this week.

“Picking the categories was straight forward,” said Blaine McPeak, president of the Broomfield, Colo.-based company in an interview with Food Business News. “We wanted categories that are sizable and over-index with families with younger kids. Then we had to ask can we be successful? What I mean is can we go there with the organic status and can we win on a niche scale and meet financial expectations?”

The children’s meals, which are different varieties of macaroni and cheese, will feature six items, two certified organic and four that qualify as “made with organic,” which means each variety must have at least 70% of its ingredients be certified organic. The children’s snacks line also has two organic varieties and four made with organic items. The line includes crackers, sandwich crackers and grahams.

Mr. McPeak said the decision to offer organic and “made with organic” varieties stems from the company’s desire to offer consumers a choice.

“Complete organic can limit accessibility for some consumers due to price,” he said. “And ‘made with organic’ allows us to add additional value with other ingredients. For example, we will have two s.k.u.s (stock-keeping units) in the meals line with added protein.

“But regardless of whether the product is organic or ‘made with organic,’ these are things defined by the U.S. government. Even with things ‘made with organic’ the threshold is 70% of organic ingredients up to under 95%. We like our position with this option.”

The company also said it is in the process of bringing additional manufacturing capacity on-line with the acquisition and eventual renovation of a former food manufacturing plant in DuBois, Pa. Mr. McPeak declined to say what products will be manufactured at the plant and said the project is in the early stages.
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