Beets continue to penetrate the US packaged-goods market, either in a beverage, packaged salad, or dehydrated into a chip. The latest addition is coming in freeze-dried form to launch next month during the Natural Products Expo West trade show.
“Right now I’m loving them with hummus,” Crunchies Natural Food Company CEO Scott Jacobson told FoodNavigator-USA.
“Consumers are smart and creative with the foods they love, and I believe they will eat our beets as a stand-alone snack, as a topping on salads, or as a dipping chip.”
An acquisition and rebranding
Back in 2014, Crunchies was acquired by global food ingredient company Chaucer Foods. After extensive market research study, in September 2015 Crunchies launched a new logo, package design, website, and marketing campaign.
The company prides itself for its simplicity and transparency, and for being “farm to fork.” “Because ‘pure’ and ‘nothing added’ are the building blocks of our brand, we knew that we wanted to introduce a vegetable that complemented our mission of health and transparency,” Jacobson said. “Beets, a well-known superfood, are the perfect, natural addition to our line.”
By using freeze-drying instead of dehydration, the company contends that the nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals of beets will be preserved without requiring additives, producing a product with a longer shelf life, lighter weight, and a satisfying crunch.
“Our UK-based supplier is a veteran when it comes to freeze drying beets. Unlike the European population, which has considered beets a dietary staple for years, Americans are only recently realizing the culinary versatility and nutritional benefits of this superfood,” Jacobson added, echoing a sentiment shared by another US-based beet-centered company, Love Beets.
Describing the product, Jacobson said Crunchies Beets “have a sweet, rich flavor and a phenomenal crunch. In fact, they have the same satisfying crunch of a chip but with no added oil.”
Identifying a market opportunity
Each bag of the freeze-dried beets will be available in stores nationwide for an SRP of $4.99 in the resealable pouches and $1.69 for single-serve packs.
Market research was done internally, led by Crunchies’ R&D Manager Megan Cleveland. “We looked at a lot of vegetable ideas but were very disciplined about making sure our new product checked off all the boxes that Freeze Dry consumers seek,” Jacobson said.
The maneuver to launch the product was confidently done as the company observed that “beet consumption is growing in the U.S. along with other superfoods,” he added
“Although we didn’t specifically test beets with Nielsen in our Freeze Dry category study last summer, we know our consumer well and believe that the properties of beets will work in our favor.”