- Kraft Heinz Ingredients plans to roll out new nut snacks based on prototypes introduced at the recent Snaxpo in Atlanta, according to Bakery and Snacks. The prototypes include gochujang spiced nuts, maple bacon roasted pecan clusters and energy balls.
- Kraft's associate brand manager James Clinton Francis said nuts offer a “new path forward for snacking” driven by the growing health and wellness trend.
- As the owner of the Planters brand, KHI is familiar with the nut business, sourcing mostly peanuts and pecans, but is also leveraging its California operations for almonds and cashews. The company will continue to use its proprietary techniques in this category to extend its lineup.
During its last earnings call, Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Vieira Hees said the company is in a “renovation” and innovation phase. “We were more than double our percentage of innovation (in the) last three years and we continue to accelerate in a big way,” he said.
The nut snack prototypes introduced during Snaxpo provide a glimpse into that accelerated innovation, branching the company out from its traditional Planters brand in the space.
With this development, Kraft is capitalizing on a host of trends while avoiding increasingly saturated markets. For example, the energy balls are a purposefully different approach from energy bars, which has become quite crowded in the last couple of years. The gochujang spiced nuts also hit on a higher demand for global and bolder flavors. Millennials are seeking out more flavorful snacking options, indicating the trend’s longevity.
Of course, those younger consumers also want healthier snacks. This approach is a necessity to compete; more than 60% of snack nut and seed launches in the U.S. use a health claim, according to Innova Market Insights. Coincidentally, that same percentage of consumers want snacks that contain healthy attributes.
As consumers opt for healthier snacks, this introduction could provide significant potential for Kraft Heinz, which could use a momentum booster after a disappointing 2017.
The runway for nuts is long: Statista’s list of snacks’ sales values in the U.S. has nuts at the very end, behind salty snacks, candy, cheese, cookies, crackers and ice cream. With the growing influence of younger, more health-conscious consumers, expect that list to change in a way that favors nuts and other healthier snacks.