- The PUR Company, best known for aspartame-free mints and candy, is branching out to snack foods with the launch of PUR popcorn, according to Food Navigator. PUR popcorn has been available in Canada since June, and will be arriving in the U.S. in early 2018.
- Three flavors of popcorn will be available: Sea Salt, Caramel Sea Salt, and Sweet and Salty. The ingredients will also maintain the same integrity found in the company’s mint and candy products. Butter used in the popcorn recipe will come from the milk of grass-fed cows.
- “You can expect lots of surprises from PUR and some may be even more surprising than this,” PUR founder and CEO Jay Klein told Food Navigator. “This will open up the snacking arm of the business. The shock theory of this has happened and we will continue to make people say, ‘Wow.' ”
PUR has a great deal to be proud of. They jumped into an already crowded market and fought their way to become the number one selling aspartame-free gum and mints brand worldwide. Now they’re hoping they can make lightning strike twice as they branch out into popcorn.
Popcorn is having a moment in the food industry right now. According to IRI data, it’s the fastest growing segment of salty snacks on the market, growing close to 10% in the last year. While it may have been more logical for a mint and gum company to try its luck in the candy aisle, the company chose to go after a product with more growth happening right now. The challenge for PUR popcorn will be finding a way to stand out over established brands like Skinnypop and Smartfood.
The popularity of the simple salty snack could be thanks to consumers increased demand for clean labels, and healthy snack options. PUR is already meeting both of these demands with their gum and candy, and will be doing the same with its popcorn. It may cost more to use butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows, but consumers have shown they’re willing to pay more for a product with known, trusted ingredients.
The fact that PUR is using butter in its recipe could be enough to get some consumers to sample the product. Many of the healthy popcorn options on the market use sunflower, safflower or vegetable oil. Good old-fashioned butter could be a big sell for shoppers who want a little nostalgia in their snack.
PUR faces the major risk of branching out into a category in which it has no other affiliation. Other major companies have tried to do the same and failed miserably. Colgate launched their own line of frozen meals in the 1980s. It turned out that consumers don’t want to eat food made by the same people who make toothpaste.
A number of other manufacturers have successfully transitioned to other products. Tostitos branched out from tortilla chips to offer cheese dip and salsa. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups took their signature flavors and reformulated it into a breakfast cereal, Reese’s Puffs.
Whether or not PUR succeeds with this popcorn launch, the company will at least reap the reward of more consumers becoming aware of the brand. The increased publicity around this new snack could drive shoppers to try their its other products, too.