Wheat Thins is launching a new version of its original cracker, and the company is making a simple promise: Wheat Thins, but thinner.
Slimming down is a selling point in the iPhone era, and Wheat Thins maker Mondelēz is pushing the limited-time product as a cheeky parallel to a modern gadget launch. "When you think about tech products, the next generation is always getting thinner or better or stronger. And here, we have a Wheat Thins 2.0, if you will," said Julia Nathan, senior associate brand manager of Thins U.S. (a division that includes Wheat Thins and Rice Thins) at Mondelēz.
In case you were wondering, an original Wheat Thin is 1.44-inches wide, 1.31-inches tall, and 0.12-inches thick. Mondelēz said the new cracker is 14% slimmer, which would bring it to a lean 0.103-inches, give or take. A recommended serving of the thinned snack is 22 pieces — six more than the 16 you'd go through in a serving of original Wheat Thins.
It's a real boost to snackability, Nathan explains.
Thinner Wheat Thins came at the end of a tough year for crackers. Unit sales of all crackers in the U.S. fell by 2.3% in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 21, according to Market researcher Nielsen. In the last four years, unit sales of wheat crackers specifically are down by more than 16% compared to the same period ending in November 2011.
"People are just going to different types of products," Nathan said. "What hasn't changed is that they want a munchable snack."
Here's the launch video for Even Thinner Wheat Thins.
Thin is in.
Portion control is most popular in North America as a means of managing weight, Nielsen found, which might explain why other foods such as Oreos have recently gone thin too. Earlier this year, Nielsen named Sargento’s line of Ultra Thin sliced cheese as a "breakthrough innovation," as the lower calorie count had strong appeal with consumers.
“The ‘thinning’ trend we are seeing in the grocery snack aisle reflects another way for consumers to indulge in their favorite snacks with a little less guilt," said James Russo, senior vice president of global consumer insights at Nielsen. "This dynamic of healthy and indulgent has inspired brands to introduce healthier versions of their classic offerings."
It's worth nothing here that with all illusions aside, serving to serving, the thinner Wheat Thins have the same calorie count (140 calories) as the original version.
While sales of original Wheat Thins are up about 1% this year, according to Mondelēz, it was time to introduce a "new format that is more munchable, more delicious, a different eating experience than they're used to," Nathan said. "It's our way to create something thinner, sleeker, munchier, more awesomeier — which is a word that we've now created!" (Indeed, while "munchier" is recognized in the dictionary, "awesomier" is not).
As we face the dreaded New Year's resolution season, may each 0.0168-inch thinner cracker help you achieve guilt-free satiety.
Venessa Wong is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Wong covers the food industry.
Contact Venessa Wong at email@example.com.
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