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Crunchies to Launch Freeze-Dried Beet Snacks at Expo West 2016

Crunchies beetsWhether it’s their strikingly rich color, antioxidant properties or numerous health benefits, there’s no question that the beet has become a go-to vegetable for natural foods consumers. With these attributes in mind, Crunchies introduces this essential superfood to its deliciously addictive line of freeze-dried snacks. Crunchies Freeze-Dried Beets will officially launch at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, proving that single-ingredient snacks can deliver nutrition, taste and convenience all in one.

“Because ‘pure’ and ‘nothing added’ are the building blocks of our brand, we knew that we wanted to introduce a vegetable that complemented our mission of health and transparency,” says Crunchies President and CEO Scott Jacobson. “Beets, a well-known superfood, are the perfect, natural addition to our line.”

Crunchies is the only U.S. consumer freeze-dry brand that is vertically integrated “farm to fork,” meaning that it knows exactly where its fruits and vegetables were harvested. Crunchies’ new beets, for example, are grown and processed in France by farmers the company knows and trusts.

“Our UK-based supplier is a veteran when it comes to freeze drying beets. Unlike the European population, which has considered beets a dietary staple for years, Americans are only recently realizing the culinary versatility and nutritional benefits of this superfood,” adds Jacobson.

In addition to their sensory appeal and nutritional density, beets have the ideal composition for freeze-drying, a low-pressure drying process that allows for high retention of nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals. Unlike dehydration, freeze-drying requires no additives for preservation and generally means a longer shelf life, lighter weight and that satisfying crunch.

Crunchies Freeze-Dried Beets will be available in stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $4.99 for resealable pouches and $1.69 for single-serve packs. Like all Crunchies products, they contain no added sugar and no artificial flavors or coloring and are non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, kosher and halal certified. Other Crunchies products in the line include strawberries, mango, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, cinnamon apple, strawberry banana and mixed fruit.

Wholesome Goodness: A Brand of Foods that “Love You Back”

 

By Lorrie Baumann

Wholesome Goodness is a brand based on three key tenets: that food should taste great, that food should be nutritious, and that nutritious food should be affordable. Because it fulfills all three of these goals, Wholesome Goodness’ product line aligns with the way that Millennial generation consumers want to eat today, according to company founders Jeff Posner and Rick Letizia.

Posner and Letizia had 70 years of experience in the food industry between them when they decided to leave behind their executive positions in major food companies like Kraft and General Foods to strike out on their own with a brand reflecting their beliefs about how more nutritious foods can help address health problems related to diet. Posner himself suffers from high blood pressure, while Letizia has type-2 diabetes, so they are personally aware of the burdens that nutrition-related diseases place on health care costs, quality of life and longevity.

From experience, they knew that major food companies use ingredients that make products cheaper to manufacture but may offer less nutrition to the consumers who used them. They wanted to go another way; to start a food business that would serve consumers’ ever-increasing expectations for healthier foods. “Wholesome Goodness products emphasize positive ingredients like protein, antioxidants and whole grains, while de-emphasizing negative ingredients like saturated fats, added sugars and added sodium,” Posner said.

“Part one of the Wholesome Goodness promise is that for every calorie consumed you get relatively more nutrition than the mainstream national brands,” he continued. “Part two is affordability. This requirement recognizes that 75 percent of the country is overweight or obese, and the barriers to eating healthier foods are both taste and price. Conceptually, if you take nutritional density and divide by price, our products provide consumers with the optimal blend of high nutrition and affordable cost. That’s our unique value proposition. At Wholesome Goodness, we want the 75 percent of the population that’s overweight or obese to be able to afford and enjoy each and every one of our products.”

The two started out six years ago by talking with consumers and retailers to learn more about changing trends in eating patterns before they decided that their first products would be a line of snacks, Letizia said. “Data shows that the bulk of our population, in particular the nearly 80 million Millennials, are snacking four to six times a day; thus, portability is extremely important – things you can throw in your purse or backpack,” he said.

Wholesome Goodness product lineAs the two developed other products, they stayed with the directive that they wanted their foods to be nutrition-dense, a concept offered up by Yale University childhood obesity and nutrition expert Dr. David Katz. This concept, simply stated, requires that for every calorie contained in their products, the consumer will get a healthier blend of more positive nutrition and less negative nutrition. They wanted clean ingredients without excessive sodium or added sugars. “We currently ban 127 ingredients that other food companies use today, including all 85 identified by Whole Foods,” Letizia said. “We have the cleanest ingredient deck in the industry at the present time.”

And while they were creating clean ingredient labels for their products, they also wanted to produce foods that were more affordable than mainstream competitors’, Posner said. “These are the kinds of products that my mother would have served the family: great-tasting and affordable for the family. Not that she did anything different from all my friends’ mothers; the only thing my friends and I knew growing up was just good, old-fashioned food,” he said. “Frankly, there is no reason why anyone today should have to pay a premium to have better-for-you products.”

“We don’t have anywhere near the cost structure of the large companies. We don’t own any plants; instead, we use highly-qualified third parties to manufacture our proprietary product formulations, so we don’t have the overhead and capital requirements of a big company. We certainly don’t make the multi-million dollar salaries of the executives of the large food companies. We don’t have the requirement to deliver a 15 percent bottom line just to maintain shareholder value – we can make do on a much smaller percentage,” he explained. “We want our products to be accessible to the masses…. For example, our award winning Sweet Chili and Omega Tortilla Chips come in a 9-ounce bag that retails for $3.99 – and even less on feature. A 5.5-ounce bag of competing better-for-you brands will cost about as much as Wholesome Goodness. Consequently, we’re less expensive, averaging about 20 to 30 percent cheaper, ounce for ounce, than these other brands. When you divide our products’ nutritional density by food budget dollars spent, we’re really the best deal in town.”

The Wholesome Goodness product line includes snack chips and crisps; granola bars, snack mixes, and hot and cold cereals. Learn more at www.wholesome-goodness.com.

 

Deli Department Innovation with The Better Chip

 

By Lorrie Baumann

 

The Better Chip is bringing new energy to the deli department with a gluten-free snack chip that comes in flavors that complement the premium cheeses, cured meats and the dips already in the deli cases. The product fits in well with the transforming role of the grocery’s perimeter, which has become a destination within the store for grab and go meal and snack shoppers who want quick sustenance but who don’t intend to sacrifice their nutritional goals by resorting to fast food as well as those who regard the deli department as their resource for food to serve when they entertain.

The Better ChipNow The Better Chip has extended its line of five flavors of better-for-you vegetable chips: Sweet Corn and Sea Salt, Jalapenos and Sea Salt, Spinach & Kale and Sea Salt, Beets and Sea Salt and Chipotles and Sea Salt with a smaller package size, a 1.5-ounce bag that’s easy to drop into a lunch kit or a sandwich clamshell for an offering that enhances the value of the grab and go offering. “Everyone wants to offer something a little different. We feel like that’s something different they can offer that you don’t get at sandwich places,” says Andrea Brule, Vice President/General Manager of The Better Chip. “We found that accounts were interested in a smaller bag they could use in their lunchtime program. Because our chips are doing so well in their big bags, they thought that, in a smaller bag, they might be able to use it in their lunch program.”

Of the five flavors, which continue to be offered in 6-ounce family-size bags, the Spinach & Kale is far and away the company’s best seller, Brule said. The Jalapenos and Beets Chips are tied for second place. The Better Chip will announce two new flavors early in 2016.

The chips appeal to consumers who are looking for a better-for-you snack that’s a gluten-free alternative to the crackers and bagel chips that are often chosen in the deli to accompany dips and hummus. In addition to being gluten free, The Better Chip snacks are non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, whole grain and made with fresh vegetables.

They appeal to deli manager because they’re an innovation that can add new energy to the category. “They get the ring on the sandwich, but when they [shoppers] come back to buy more, they get that ring in the deli. That’s as opposed to, with other chips, that ring goes to grocery.” Brule said.

The 1.5-ounce bags retail as a separate a la carte offering for $.99 to $1.19.

 

 

Bare Snacks Debuts New Packaging

Bare Snacks®, creator of delicious Snacks Gone Simple®, has just launched a fresh new look for its entire portfolio of crunchy baked snacks, which highlights the brand’s dedication to simple, clean ingredients. Featuring a modern interpretation of a slate board background coupled with a stylized new logo made from its baked fruit chips and striking real food visuals, the new packaging was developed to create an iconic brand block on-shelf and drive strong taste appeal while putting the simplicity of the snacks front and center. The new look for bare Banana Chips, Coconut Chips, and cornerstone Apple Chips will start shipping to retailers nationwide at the end of January.

“In an effort to better communicate the simplicity of our truly good-for-you snacks, we wanted to create a clean brand look that more accurately reflects our commitment to simple, real ingredients that still deliver the satisfying crunch of a chip,” said Dana Ginsburg, Director of Marketing at Bare Snacks. “Our modern packaging makeover perfectly expresses our brand promise to consumers in a fresh new way that puts our ingredients front and center.”

Bare Snacks’ new packaging features beautiful photography of real apples, coconuts and bananas on the front panel, as well as a refreshed logo made from the same fruit in chip form for each corresponding line. In addition, the new back-label design prominently displays ingredients front and center in large font and notes “The Bare Facts” for each product, such as containing no added oil or preservatives, as well as third party certifications like the Certified B Corp seal and Non-GMO Project Verified logo. To further communicate the simplicity of bare snacks, each bag also includes an illustration of a whole piece of fruit transitioning to slices and finally baked crunchy chips to accurately depict the minimally processed product inside.

Made with whole-food ingredients and real, fresh-picked fruit that is sliced and baked to crunchy perfection rather than fried, bare snacks are a tasty and healthier alternative to traditional chips. All bare snacks are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten free, and contain no added oil or preservatives.

Bare snacks are available nationwide in natural and grocery stores including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts and Safeway as well as national retailers such as Target, Costco and Amazon with suggested retail prices ranging from of $0.99-$4.99.

General Mills Acquires EPIC Provisions

 General Mills, Inc. has acquired EPIC Provisions, a rapidly growing, premium meat snacks company based in Austin, Texas. EPIC will operate under General Mills’ Annie’s business, which itself has experienced strong sales growth since General Mills acquired the company more than a year ago.  EPIC will maintain its present location in Austin.

“The acquisition of EPIC positions General Mills for exciting growth with a highly authentic brand in an entirely new natural snacking category,” said John Foraker, President of Annie’s.  “A purpose-driven brand like EPIC perfectly aligns with the experience and capabilities set that Annie’s brings to the table.  EPIC has tremendous potential for growth in the natural snacking category.  We’re committed to maintaining the great-tasting EPIC snacks people love, while further building this important brand to drive positive impact we can be proud of well into the future.”

EPIC Provisions was launched in 2013 by co-founders Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest, both competitive athletes seeking a convenient way to add nourishing animal protein to their diets.  The original EPIC meat, fruit, and nut bar — the first of its kind — has created a new snacking category.  EPIC Bars come in unique flavors including Bison Bacon Cranberry, Beef Habanero Cherry, Chicken Sesame BBQ, and Pulled Pork Pineapple. Today the brand has evolved its product offerings to include EPIC Jerky Bites and EPIC Hunt and Harvest Trail Mix.

Both Collins and Forrest will continue with the business following the acquisition. “We’re proud of the rapid growth EPIC Provisions has achieved during the past three years,” said Collins and Forrest.  “Our decision to join General Mills provides EPIC with the scale to bring our products to even more consumers, and to significantly increase the positive impact of our business on grassland regeneration and proper livestock management practices. We look forward to working with Annie’s and General Mills to continue this momentum and to build upon the authenticity of the brand we created.”

EPIC snacks are sold primarily in the natural channel including nationally at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers, but are also sold at sporting and hiking shops including REI, as well as some conventional grocers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Deli Department Innovation with The Better Chip

By Lorrie Baumann

The Better Chip is bringing new energy to the deli department with a gluten-free snack chip that comes in flavors that complement the premium cheeses, cured meats and the dips already in the deli cases. The product fits in well with the transforming role of the grocery’s perimeter, which has become a destination within the store for grab and go meal and snack shoppers who want quick sustenance but who don’t intend to sacrifice their nutritional goals by resorting to fast food as well as those who regard the deli department as their resource for food to serve when they entertain.

Now The Better Chip has extended its line of five flavors of better-for-you vegetable chips: Sweet Corn and Sea Salt, Jalapenos and Sea Salt, Spinach & Kale and Sea Salt, Beets and Sea Salt and Chipotles and Sea Salt with a smaller package size, a 1.5-ounce bag that’s easy to drop into a lunch kit or a sandwich clamshell for an offering that enhances the value of the grab and go offering. “Everyone wants to offer something a little different. We feel like that’s something different they can offer that you don’t get at sandwich places,” says Andrea Brule, Vice President/General Manager of The Better Chip. “We found that accounts were interested in a smaller bag they could use in their lunchtime program. Because our chips are doing so well in their big bags, they thought that, in a smaller bag, they might be able to use it in their lunch program.”

Of the five flavors, which continue to be offered in 6-ounce family-size bags, the Spinach & Kale is far and away the company’s best seller, Brule said. The Jalapenos and Beets Chips are tied for second place. The Better Chip will announce two new flavors early in 2016.

The chips appeal to consumers who are looking for a better-for-you snack that’s a gluten-free alternative to the crackers and bagel chips that are often chosen in the deli to accompany dips and hummus. In addition to being gluten free, The Better Chip snacks are non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, whole grain and made with fresh vegetables.

They appeal to deli manager because they’re an innovation that can add new energy to the category. “They get the ring on the sandwich, but when they [shoppers] come back to buy more, they get that ring in the deli. That’s as opposed to, with other chips, that ring goes to grocery.” Brule said.

The 1.5-ounce bags retail as a separate a la carte offering for $.99 to $1.19.

 

Wixon Introduces New Dip Mixes

Wixon has introduced its newest, innovative mixes for dips, delivering a simple way to add a gourmet touch to snacks and starters. The latest on-trend seasonings can inspire new offerings or reinvigorate old classics.

The new products include:

Habanero and Herb
This blend is a combination of fiery habanero and other peppers, onion, garlic, and parsley, plus sugar to add sweetness.

Olive Oil, Truffle, and Parmesan
Make dips taste indulgent with this mix of cheese, peppers, garlic, parsley, and rich truffle.

Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee
Vanilla, sugar, coffee, and natural hazelnut flavor create a seasoning with pep.

More information on Wixon or any of its products may be obtained at www.wixon.com or by calling 414.769.3000.

Spicy Snack Mixes from Blue Crab Bay

Blue Crab Bay PFBlue Crab Bay Co. is abuzz with big news: Beach House Buzz® is flying off the shelves! This gourmet snack mix from the Virginia company known worldwide for its peanut products features two flavors of super-extra-large Virginia peanuts – sea-salted and spicy honey-roasted; cashews; dried cranberries; pretzel balls; oat bran sesame sticks; and the piece de resistance, dark-chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Blue Crab, which garners praise regularly for its delightful, coastal-inspired packaging, has chosen to adorn this tasty mix with a label showcasing colorful beach cottages inspired by those of the mid-Atlantic, the region the company calls home.

Beach House Buzz joins an extensive lineup of snacks that includes Sea Salt Nuts; Crab House Nuts®; Crab House Crunch® peanut squares; Sandbaggers®; Skipjacks®; Barnacles® spicy snack mix; and Surf Doggies®.

Call Blue Crab Bay Co. at 800.221.2722 ex. 3 or email sales@baybeyond.net.

Three New Flavors of Meat Sticks from Vermont Smoke & Cure

 

By Lorrie Baumann

Vermont Smoke Cure imageVermont Smoke & Cure launched a bold new brand design and three new flavors of its Meat Sticks during this year’s Natural Products Expo East. Like the other half-dozen flavors of the better-for-you meat snacks in the line, the Spicy Italian Pork, Rosemary Thyme Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken Sticks are gluten free and contain considerably less fat and salt than competing meat sticks.

We are working to make the whole meat business better – with new products made from vegetarian-fed meats that are raised with no antibiotics or added hormones,” says Chris Bailey, Vermont Smoke & Cure’s CEO. “Our new packaging look better conveys our clean ingredients and the positive impact we work to bring about in our community and landscape.”

Vermont Smoke & Cure Meat Sticks start with quality meat. Beef in the sticks comes from lead supplier Pineland Farms Natural Meats in Maine or other similar suppliers. Pork comes from DuBreton in Quebec or from Coleman Natural Foods, which works with family farmers throughout the country to produce meat raised entirely without antibiotics.

Our Sticks don’t have overwhelming flavors – you get nice spice and you can still taste the meat,” Bailey says. “It’s all ingredients you’d find in your kitchen, just meat and spices with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.”

The Sticks have been the fastest-growing part of our business,” he added. “The bacon has been growing quite well also, but the Sticks have been outpacing it.”

To fulfill the demand for its products, the company just installed the equipment for quadrupling its processing capacity. Its Meat Sticks, which retail for $1.69 to $1.99, are currently distributed nationally in Whole Foods and through major natural foods distributors to hundreds of co-ops and natural and conventional grocers around the country.

For more information, visit www.vtsmokeandcure.com.

 

Upfront Foods Debuts Smaller Display Carton

Upfront Foods® is introducing a new display carton in a smaller size that helps keep the single-serving pouches of its non-GMO, vegan, and kosher granolas neatly displayed, conserves space on the shelf, and includes point-of-sale elements that appeal to today’s consumers.

Upfront Foods New Smaller Display CartonEMThe new shelf and countertop display cartons are available December 1 and hold six of the 1.4-ounce single serving pouches with a compact footprint of about 8 by 3.5 inches on the shelf, said Gigi Twist Upfront Foods’ founder. A master case contains six cartons for a total of 36 pouches, Twist said. The previous display held 12 pouches.

The colorful display carton carries over the packaging motif of leaves, ferns, shafts of grain, and other natural elements to reflect the close-to-the-Earth nature of the ingredients. It also highlights the convenience of the single serving packaging with a “Take Me Anywhere” call to action. The new cartons are available for all three flavors, and Upfront Granola® Original Crunch and Upfront Granola Cranberry Zest™ have a call-out to let consumers know they meet USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards. For Upfront Granola Pecan Almond Crisp, the carton highlights its four grams of protein per serving.

“The new smaller size was designed with retailers’ needs in mind, and the design for our packaging and display carton appeals to consumers who are looking for smarter snacks that fit their on-the-go lifestyles,” Twist said. “The cartons also let them know that our non-GMO granola is a portion controlled snack with simple ingredients from trusted food sources and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients.”

Upfront Foods three granola flavors have Non-GMO Project Verification, are certified vegan by the Vegan Awareness Foundation, are OU Kosher certified, and Made in USA Certified®.  All three are designated 100 percent whole grain by the Whole Grains Council. They are available in 1.4-ounce single-serving pouches with a suggested retail price of $1.79.  Additional information is available at http://UpfrontFoods.com or by calling 1.561.886.0209.

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