By Lorrie Baumann
The oldest members of the Millennial Generation are now in their mid-30s, which means that a great many of them have become parents who now have school-age children. That simple calculation has the food industry scrambling to provide products that those parents will feel comfortable about packing into their kids’ lunch boxes.
As one example, Creative Snacks Co., which just won a 2017 sofi award best new product in the savory snacks category for its Organic Coconut Snacks with Cranberries, Cashews, Almonds, and Chia Seeds, also offers Baked Almond Clusters in five flavors that include various combinations of dried fruit, nuts and seeds for a snack the company is marketing as “Real Good, Feel Good Snacks.” The Almond Clusters are made in small batches and offer a 28-day shelf life. The 4-ounce bag retails for $3.99. The company is also launching 1-ounce, 2.75-ounce and 3.5-ounce snack packs, so there’s a range of sizes that will work in lunches.
GoodnessKNOWS Snack Squares are a similar product that amps up the sweetness with more fruit and dark chocolate. Four bite-size snack squares are packaged together into a bar-sized pack with a 150 calorie count that retails for about $1.49. There are currently six flavors, with five more scheduled to launch in 2018. The current offering includes top-seller Cranberry & Almond, Strawberry & Peanut and Mixed Berry & Almond, each of them combining fruit, whole nuts and dark chocolate. Next year’s launches will be nut varieties without fruit, which will amp up the protein and lower sugar. The snack squares are non-GMO and gluten free, and they contain no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. They’re offered in 12-count singles cartons and 5-count multipacks.
Cheesewich, which is a product with two slices of high-quality cheese from Burnett Dairy sandwiched around a slice of deli meat, is currently offered in four varieties: Cheddar Jack Cheese & Hard Salami, Colby Jack Cheese & Hard Salami, Provolone Cheese & Hard Salami and Pepper Jack Cheese & Hard Salami. They’re packaged in a 2.5-ounce single-serving that’s vacuum sealed for a refrigerated 12-month shelf life. Each offers 14 to 16 grams of protein and is gluten free.
This fall, Cheesewich will launch Bacon N Eggs, a gas-flushed vacuum-sealed package of two hard-cooked eggs and turkey bacon. The packaging offers grocers a 60-day shelf life, and the product will retail for somewhere around $2.59.
G.H. Cretors, better known for its popcorn, just launched Hi I’m Skinny vegetable sticks with a front-of-label claim of 100 calories in each 0.71-ounce single-serving bag. There are three varieties: Sweet Onion, Sweet Potato and Sea Salt. The Sweet Onion and Sea Salt varieties are made with quinoa and whole grain corn meal, and each offers 2 grams of protein and 140 calories per serving. The Sweet Potato variety is made with rice flour and offers 1 gram of protein and 140 calories per serving. Individual packs will retail for 99 cents to $1.49.
The company also makes Hi I’m Skinny Protein Snacks in a Mesquite BBQ flavor that offers 5 grams of protein in a 140-calorie serving and Hi I’m Skinny Superfood Sticks in a Mean & Green flavor that includes green pea flour, kale powder and spinach powder in a snack that offers 2 grams of protein in a 130-calorie serving.
Nature’s Bakery, which markets “Energy for Life’s Great Journeys,” is offering Organic Brownies in twin packs that are packaged as six twin packs per box. Flavors are Double Chocolate, Cool Mint and Salted Caramel. The company also offers several flavors of Oat Bars that combine oats with various fruits or organic honey. These are also packed in boxes of six twin packs and retail for $4.99 per box. All of these feature the USDA Organic seal on the front and top of the package.
One bar of the Honey & Oat bars has 60 calories with 10 from fat and contains 6 grams of sugar. The Organic Brownies, made with stoneground whole wheat flour and organic cane sugar syrup, have about 70 calories per brownie, depending on the flavor, and 6 grams of sugar.
SunRidge Farms, makers of organic and natural foods, has just launched its all natural kids mix at the Sweets & Snacks Show in May. The all natural kids mix combines almonds, peanuts, raisins, apples, milk chocolate, peanut butter cups and milk chocolate rainbow drops for a snack that offers 4 grams of protein per serving and is a good source of minerals with low sodium. There are no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, and the kids mix contains no artificial ingredients. The milk chocolate for the rainbow drops is made with certified Fair Trade Cocoa, and it’s non-GMO. Kids mix is offered in bulk cases for parents to package themselves for those lunch boxes.
Finally, You Love Fruit Leather has come up with a healthier alternative to mass market fruit leathers with You Love Fruit and You Love Veggies leathers made with 100 percent fruit and vegetables, so they’re gluten free, USDA organic, kosher and non-GMO. The leathers are offered in Mango, Mango Coconut, Apple Cinnamon, Pomberry Acai, Tart Peach, Passion Fruit Punch, Key Lime as well as others, and Carrot & Chia Seed, Spinach & Kale and Spiced Beet Root flavors for the You Love Veggies. They’re packaged in 2-serving bags with 45-50 calories per serving. One-ounce packages retail for about $1.99.