- Utz Brands is bringing its Zapp’s potato chip brand into the fast-growing pretzel category, the snack maker said in a statement.
- The company said Zapp's Sinfully-Seasoned Pretzel Stix are available in Voodoo — a blend of sweet, spicy, and Cajun — and Jazzy Honey Mustard.
- Previously associated with rods or the customary folded shape dusted with salt, the once commoditized $1.7 billion pretzel category has seen its popularity grow amid new premium offerings in recent years.
With pretzels shedding their sleepy image as a bar or airplane snack, Utz is doubling down on its presence in the category.
The Pennsylvania-based snack company is no stranger to pretzels with Utz, Bachman and Good Health among the brands in its portfolio playing in the category. Its Utz brand was the fourth-largest pretzel offering for the week ended Aug. 7 with sales of $160 million, an increase of 22% from a year ago, according to IRI. Bachman was 10th at $12.4 million.
But Utz Brands is diving further into pretzels through Zapp's, one of the fastest-growing potato chip brands in snack foods, according to the company, by taking the brand known for unique flavors and bringing it into an entirely new category.
Founded in 1985 by Ron Zappe, Zapp's New Orleans Kettle Style Potato Chips include flavors like Cajun Dill Gator-Tators, Spicy Cajun Crawtators, Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeno and Mesquite Bar-B-Que.
Stacey Schultz, Utz Brands’ senior vice president of marketing, called out their unique seasonings in a statement, saying the new pretzels are geared toward shoppers “who expect big, bold flavor” while noting they are “daringly different."
The premiumization shift infiltrating pretzels has been largely directed to new and novel flavors, mirroring what has previously taken place in other categories like craft beer. Utz is aiming to capitalize on this growth.
Premium pretzels received a major boost last November when Hershey announced it was buying fast-growing Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels and its Midwest co-manufacturer Pretzels Inc., for $1.2 billion. The acquisition helped raise awareness of the pretzel category and showed consumers were willing to pay more for a unique, premium product.
Pretzel sales rose 16.2% to $1.7 billion during the 52 weeks that ended August 7, according to IRI. The North American pretzel market is expected to top $2.1 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 4%, Imarc estimated.