Bellisio goes ethnic with new snack product


Mississauga’s Bellisio Foods is looking to break into what one senior executive describes as a “white space” in the growing snack market with the launch of its ethnic-inspired product, Snakmandoo.

In development for the past two-and-a-half years, the new bakeable snack product is an attempt by Bellisio to diversify beyond its primary frozen entrees business. Snakmandoo is sold in 425g boxes housing 30 bite-sized snacks, with a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Andrew Salisbury, Bellisio’s senior vice-president and general manager, says research indicates snacking is on the rise, particularly among Snakmandoo’s core millennial target.

“We identified that snacking is a growing behaviour, crossing many different parts of the store, and that frozen could fill those snacking needs,” says Salisbury. The company is also trying to tap into growing consumer interest in ethnic flavours, he says.

Snakmandoo’s four flavours – Butter Chicken, General Tao, Vietnamese Style and Tandoori Lime – were the top performers in consumer testing of a “wide variety” of flavours including Asian, Mediterranean and Southwestern, says Salisbury. “We deliberately focused on ethnic because that’s where we felt the white space was,” he says.

According to millennial-focused research from Ipsos Canada, 56% of their food consumption occurs outside of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner eating occasions. Snakmandoo is being positioned as an after-school snack for older teenagers, and an evening snack – or possible light dinner – for millennials.

Bellisio is also hinting at the product’s suitability for dinner with advertising bearing messages like “It’s dinner if you believe it is” and “Of course a snack can do a meal’s job.”

Snakmandoo is a Canadian exclusive, though Salisbury says it has “captured the imagination” of its U.S. parent. Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods, which recently acquired Bellissio for US$1.08 billion, has also expressed interest in the product, he says.

Bellissio is relatively new to the snack category, having made its foray about two years ago with Michelina’s Zap’ems pizza snacks. “We felt it represented a really good entry point into snacking that appeals to teenagers and early millennials,” says Salisbury.


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