By Lorrie Baumann
Crazy Go Nuts offers a line of flavorful coated walnuts with front-of-package labeling them as “loaded with Omega 3s.” Walnuts in general have more Omega 3s per ounce than salmon, according to CMO Courtney Carini. They’re coated in all natural foods. “When you see ‘banana,’ that’s actually banana,” she says.
It’s ALA, and it’s the density of Omega 3s that counts. “Flaxseed has more, but nobody eats an ounce of flaxseed,” says David Wolfe, co-Founder and CEO. “Our main thing is clean labels and simple ingredients. More and more consumers are demanding that, and because walnuts are so healthy, we try not to weigh them down with nonsense.”
“We try not to ride solely on health benefits,” adds Carini. “Walnuts are so delicious, and we want people to enjoy them.”
There are currently nine flavors of the nuts: Banana, Orange, Coconut, Chocolate Espresso, Oatmeal Cookie, Garlic Parmesan, Buffalo, Rosemary Pink Salt and a plain salted flavor that’s slightly mis-labeled “Boring.”
Nuts are packaged in three sizes: 1.5-ounce grab and go, 4.5-ounce and an 8-ounce resealable bag for the pantry. They retail for $6.99 for the 8-ounce bag, $4.49 for the 4.5-ounce bag and $1.99 for the 1.5-ounce bag.
All the same flavors are offered in jarred butters, except that there, the Rosemary Pink Salt becomes Sage and Rosemary. All of the butters are low sugar. “Our goal is always to have the cleanest ingredients and the simplest flavors,” says Wolfe. These are packaged in 9-ounce jars that retail for $6.99.
Both the butters and the packaged nuts will work as an accompaniment for a cheese platter, and most of the butters will work as a smoothie ingredient as well as a spread. They’re currently sold in specialty retailers around the country, with large retailer distribution starting this fall in California and then spreading from there.
The company has been in operation for four years, but expanded into a new production facility in central California late last year. “We’ve been learning and getting better ever since, but we’re still new,” Wolfe says. “We have significant capacity, but we haven’t been in business for 30 years, and we’re just hitting our stride…. There’s a lot of interest in the brand. It’s being described as ‘whimsical.’ It’s not a word that I would use, but it represents us pretty well.”
The company started as “a whim” in Los Angeles, with two people managing it out of an apartment, and has grown from there. “We started going to Walnut Board meetings,” Wolfe says, and “We met with several different companies that were interested in investing in us and helping us grow.” That investment helped them grow from their farmers market cottage industry into the new production facility that has enabled them to scale the business to the point at which they’re ready to venture onto the national market.
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