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Lunchables is heading to the produce aisle with a fresh fruit snack tray

Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 01, 2023

NEW YORK (CNN) — Lunchables, which is making its way into school lunchrooms this fall, is testing out yet another destination for parents to find its grab-and-go snack trays for kids–the produce aisle.

Kraft Heinz (KHC), which makes Lunchables, said a new offering of its popular packaged meal for the first time includes fresh cut fruits, such as clementines, apples, pineapples and grapes placed next to the typical crackers, cheese and meat options.

The latest variety of Lunchables comes just in time for the back-to-school season, although its rollout, for now, is limited to grocery and convenience stores such as Walmart (WMT) and 7-Eleven locations in the South Central region.

The Lunchables fresh fruit tray not only has a new location – Lunchables are typically found in a store’s refrigerated aisle – but also tweaked packaging and pricing.

“The fresh fruit tray is packed in a way so that the freshness of the fruit is preserved while meat, cheese and crackers are also preserved fully,” Vikramjeet Singh, vice president of marketing and strategy with Kraft Heinz (US) beverages, snacks and dessert said in an interview with CNN.

Singh said the tray is bigger, almost like two trays combined with one side holding the fresh fruits, and priced at a premium.”The recommended pricing is $4 to $4.29, about $1 to $2 higher than other Lunchables because of the extra food and the freshness,” he said. The fresh fruit option will also have a shorter shelf life of about 10 days compared to 90 to 110 days for other Lunchables.

Singh said the brand is initially selling two varieties – ham and cheddar and turkey and cheddar along with crackers – combined with each of the four fresh fruit options and with an aim to expand to a national rollout in 2024.

Lunchables, he said, has included fruit in past products but not fresh fruits.

The catalyst to rethink fruits in the snack tray emerged last year when the brand “saw almost a 500% increase in search for Lunchables with fruits,” he said. The brand then teamed with Fresh Del Monte Produce to create the tray.

In March, Kraft Heinz in a major initiative announced that Lunchables for the first time would be a part of school lunch programs starting this fall. But the company had to reformulate the ingredients to ensure the products meet federal guidelines first. More than half of Kraft Heinz’s business in 2022 came from just eight brands, including Lunchables, which brought in $1.8 billion in sales and made up 8.6% of total Kraft Heinz revenue last year.

While there are no immediate plans to take the Lunchables fresh fruit tray variety into schools this year, Singh said the effort is ongoing to make the packaged kids’ meal more “wholesome.”

“We recently reduced salt and oil in our Lunchables crackers by close to half,” he said.