ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen Corporation (NYSE: ART), announced today during the National Association of Convenience Stores annual convention that its Convenience Track(TM) service has begun monitoring sales of energy bars sold in convenience stores.

"Energy bars have made a successful transition from products sold primarily in health food stores to products that can now be found in most grocery, drug, mass merchandise and a growing number of convenience stores," said Scott Keplinger, ACNielsen vice president, retail measurement services. "The category is hot, with increased distribution and some powerful new entrants, so coverage of the c-store channel is very important."

The $700 million energy bar category has been growing dramatically. Sales through the grocery, drug, and mass merchandise channels are up 53 percent for the 52-week period ending September 9, 2000. The category has seen double digit sales growth for each of the last four years.

According to an analysis of ACNielsen Homescan® consumer panel information, energy bars are especially popular with single men, upper income professional households, and households located in large cities. On a national basis, 10 percent of households purchase energy bars. However, according to Keplinger, there are significant regional differences. "Energy bar sales are strongest in the Pacific region (California, Oregon and Washington), where 16 percent of households buy energy bars, and the Mountain region (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming), where 14 percent of households buy energy bars," he said. "These are areas where consumption of healthy foods and participation in outdoor activities are high. Being able to track convenience store sales in key local markets is essential in this category."

Other products monitored by Convenience Track include candy/gum, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, packaged ice cream, frozen novelties, and tobacco products. Convenience Track is the only research service that provides information about sales of these products in the convenience store channel both nationally and in local markets.

Through its alliance with health and wellness research firm SPINS, ACNielsen also has the ability to track energy bars sold through natural products stores, which account for 25 percent of total category sales.

ACNielsen, with 1999 revenue of $1.5 billion, is the world's leading market research firm, offering measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics, consumer attitudes and behavior and new and traditional media in more than 100 countries. Clients include leading consumer product manufacturers and retailers, service firms, media and entertainment companies and the Internet community.

Note to Editors: Look for this press release and other ACNielsen news on the Internet at