Gaming is synonymous with players snacking on chips and other crunchy options. Now, an upstart company called Myna Snacks is aiming to fill that desire with more functional ingredients.
The business was co-founded by two women who also carry broad accomplishments in the arenas of food and gaming.
Darcey Macken is a food industry veteran. She worked at Kellogg for more than a decade where she served in executive roles such as president of U.S. sales and head of global sales. Macken also spent nearly five years in the c-suite of Noosa Yoghurt and then served as the CEO of the now-shuttered Planterra Foods, the former plant-based arm of meat giant JBS.
Earlier this year, Macken began talking with Imane Anys about starting a new business.
Anys, better known as Pokimane, is the tenth most-followed streamer on gaming platform Twitch, with 9.4 million followers. Macken said they searched for “white space” in the snacking category where they could bridge the gap between offerings that are healthier and indulgent and tasty treats often looked at as a guilty pleasure.
“There are better-for-you products that are so healthy for you that it tastes like cardboard,” Macken said. “Those aren’t the first thing you reach for.”
The company’s first product is Midnight Mini Cookies — a poppable chocolate offering with an Oreo-like flavor profile — consisting of a gluten-free almond, cassava and coconut flour blend, white chocolate chips, sea salt, coconut sugar and mushroom powder. Macken said the offering was designed to taste good and not leave consumers feeling guilty after eating an entire bag.
“After the pandemic where I spent a lot of time streaming, I realized it was time to prioritize my health,” Anys said in a statement. “Finding a snack that was delicious but also made me feel replenished always felt like a trade-off between not satisfying my craving or feeling guilty about fueling my body.”
Macken said the launch followed years of research and development into the snacking space where they tried to find missing gaps in the market. Using consumer research, she found a desire by young consumers for a healthier snack option they could consume between lunch and dinner, a time that often involves gaming.
Later on, the business partners said they found these individuals wanted food products that contained better-for-you ingredients from an authentic brand. They also didn’t want an item that was messy.
“It’s not just about gaming. It’s about really anyone that’s sitting behind a screen all day,” Macken said. “Through research, we found people are snacking the most and are also the most frustrated about not finding what they want during the mid-afternoon,” she said, noting that consumers want something indulgent to tide them over until dinner.
By bringing Myna Snacks directly to the consumer first, Macken said the company can connect with shoppers to find out what they like before taking the brand into retail.
Following the Midnight Mini Cookies launch, Macken said Myna has its eyes on other categories under the snacking umbrella, including crackers.
“We have a lot of tools in our toolbox, and we want to gauge the audience,” Macken said.
Macken said her time at Kellogg provided her with the training she needed to figure out the manufacturing side of the food industry. While Macken learned a lot about operating in different food categories during her tenure at the food giant, she had a desire to take big swings and pivot into new areas. She found her calling at Noosa.
“I did realize it’s a conservative type of company, where they don’t take big risks, as they shouldn’t, it’s massive with a lot of responsibility and a 117-year-old legacy, so there’s not a lot of changes you can make,” Macken said. “At Noosa we did take some big swings, like we came out with a spicy yogurt just to see what would happen, and it was delicious.”