Nestlé is launching a new cereal bar under its Ski brand.

Nestlé’s decision to extend its Ski brand into the cereal bar market marks a renewed assault following its unsuccessful Rowntree Fruitsome variant. The move also highlights how the burgeoning UK snack market is creating numerous opportunities for industry players to develop profitable extensions of established brands with healthy credentials.

Nestlé’s new cereal bar variant is due to be launched in July with two varieties; red berries and yoghurt, and citrus burst and yoghurt. The cereal bars will be promoted as an all-day snack rather than a breakfast alternative. Extending Ski into cereal bars is the second significant attempt Nestlé has made in recent months to strengthen the brand. Only last month its new yoghurt drink, Ski Stopgap, was made available, marketed as a breakfast alternative and on-the-go snack with a mix of low fat yoghurt, cereal and fruit.

Both extensions are aimed at developing the Ski brand’s snacking credentials, however, it is this latest move that is the most significant. Nestlé is now developing the brand beyond the dairy sector into an area where Nestlé has already been unsuccessful. It was only in April 2003 that Nestlé withdrew the Rowntree Fruitsome cereal bar, less than a year after its launch.

The cereal bar market is growing rapidly as consumers increasingly seek out healthy alternatives to traditional confectionery and biscuits. Launched by the company’s confectionery division, the Fruitsome bar suffered because it did not create the perception of being a healthier alternative to confectionery.

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Nestlé can hope for better things from the Ski cereal bars. Taking the lead from recent innovations like Kellogg’s Special K Lite Bites, a low fat snack that Kellogg hopes will herald the beginning of cereal snacks, Nestlé’s Ski brand extension should have a more natural association with the health and nutrition benefits that consumers crave.

Using established brands with already well-known health credentials could well be the ace card for manufacturers and retailers seeking to capitalise upon the booming and increasingly health focused UK snack market in the next five years. Opportunities appear to be particularly strong for trusted dairy and cereal brands.

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