TGI Friday's snacks to enter new categories, world markets

by Jeff Gelski
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PHOENIX — The TGI Friday’s snack line sold at retail will expand into new product categories and international markets after the company and Inventure Foods, Inc. announced a new long-term licensing agreement May 7.

New snack categories will include popcorn, corn snacks, snack mixes and tortilla chips. New markets will include Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

The new contract extends the licensing partnership through 2024. Details on the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Our original licensing agreement allowed us to develop some of our top-selling snacks to date, yet this new agreement sets the stage for additional growth as it will result in great tasting new products, new product categories and expanded distribution across an international geographic footprint,” said Terry McDaniel, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based Inventure Foods, a marketer and manufacturer of specialty food brands.

Sales of TGI Friday’s items have slumped recently for Inventure Foods. TGI Friday’s net revenues decreased about 17% in the first quarter ended March 29 when compared with the previous year’s first quarter, which included a one-time national display event with a retailer, said Steve Weinberger, chief financial officer of Inventure Foods, during a May 1 earnings conference call.

“Friday’s continues to be an important brand for us, and our team continues to focus on a turnaround plan,” Mr. McDaniel said in the May 1 call.

The first extension to the TGI Friday’s product portfolio should be a snack mix, Mr. McDaniel said.

“That will hopefully come between now and the end of the year, and then other products we will look at next year,” he said.

Inventure Foods’ line of TGI Friday’s snacks first appeared in 2000 as ready-to-eat potato skins. The product line currently sells at retail outlets nationwide and includes jalapeño poppers, cheddar cheese, crunchy fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks.

“This new agreement lays the foundation for another decade’s worth of great-tasting snack foods that are truly representative of the unique TGI Friday’s experience,” said Carl Robie, vice-president global strategic sourcing and brand licensing for TGI Friday’s, a casual dining bar and grill.
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