Video dispatches from Expo West 2017

Barnana CMO: 'We tested banana brittle for eight months before we took it to market'

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Barnana carved out virgin territory in the healthy snacks segment with its chewy banana bites, but will its new banana brittle prove equally groundbreaking? FoodNavigator-USA caught up with chief marketing officer Nik Ingersoll at the Expo West show to learn more.

"It's more of a brittle [than a cracker]," said Ingersoll. "People want thin, crispy, convenient snacks, and for us we've had a chewy line for a long time and customers are always asking, why don't you have a crunchy version of this?

"So we played around with a cluster and all these other things, but we felt that the brittle was highly differentiated when you look at the products that we sit next to on the shelf; it provides a crunch and also a unique taste."

The brittle - which will initially be merchandised next to Barnana's chewy bites - could also work well in the center aisle, in the produce category, or in other parts of the store, he said.

"We're going to try and test and iterate in different places in the store and see what converts the best."

"It's our mission at Barnana to be the brand synonymous with banana-based snacks"

Barnana tested the brittle on consumers over an eight-month period in stores, farmer's markets and other locations before the commercial launch, said Ingersoll, who claimed retailer feedback at the show had also been "overwhelmingly" positive: "I'm not the biggest believer in traditional focus groups, but sampling is very important."

The thinly-baked brittle (SRP $4.99/3.5oz bag) – which will roll out nationwide at Whole Foods Market on April 1 – comes in four varieties: Gingersnap, peanut butter, chocolate, and toasted coconut.

The ingredients vary according to the flavor, but the #1 ingredient is organic bananas, while most recipes also include organic gluten free oat flour, coconut palm sugar, coconut oil, almond flour, and cassava starch. 

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