P-nuff peanut puffs eschew added flavors for a crunch that “awakens the senses”

P-nuff peanut puffs have a crunch that “awakens the senses”

When industry vet and trained sports nutritionist and food scientist Juan Salinas created P-nuff Crunch baked peanut snacks he wanted to make a product that wasn’t just “better-for-you” but actually good for you without compromising on taste.

“A lot of new products claim to be healthy or are made with healthy ingredients, but the finished product isn’t actually healthy,” Salinas told FoodNavgator-USA at the Summer Fancy Food show in New York City. Likewise, he said, many new products with protein call outs are made with low quality or incomplete proteins.

Manufacturers get away with this because most people don’t understand what healthy is or what their bodies need, he added.

But, Salinas said, he didn’t want to mislead consumers and he wanted to make a product that not only was truly healthy but also nutritious.

“The recipe I came up was P-nuff Cruch, which combines navy beans with rice and peanuts,” which based on their amino acid profiles create not only a complete protein but “a super protein” that is ideal for “someone who is active and looking to be tone and gain muscle.”

In a protein-crazed world, the 5 grams of plant protein per 1 ounce serving will help the chips compete against other snacks, but likely will not put it in the same category as the nutrition bars and shakes that tout between 12 and 20 grams of protein per serving.

Nonetheless, the bright orange packaging with a weight-lifting peanut mascot helps drive home protein message, while at the same time softening the product’s overall appearance so that it appeals to “the everyday person who just wants to live a healthier life and who is worried about being lean,” rather than just the dedicated athlete or body-builder.

It is all about the crunch

P-nuff also caters to consumers who care less about the nutritional benefits and more about the snacking experience by offering an extra-loud crunch, Salinas said

“I read a lot about what people look for in snacks and crunch is right at the top,” Salinas said, explaining that one reason people are so attracted to crunch is because it makes them feel more awake.

“The whole idea behind P-nuff Crunch is that I wanted a chip that would have a crunch so loud that it will actually wake your senses. That was the whole point. And so we came up different ways of analyzing crunch and sound. We even had sensors that people wore on the backs of the ears and as we crunched we measured the amount of sound that was created.”

With the power of crunch to heighten the taste experience for consumers, Salinas was able to skip adding extra flavoring into the chip – a move that places the product in line with the clean label movement and extends the shelf life.

“If you look at any other puff, you will see that they add flavor to it or seasoning to it. But everything we use here comes from the ingredients themselves. So the peanut flavor you get is from the actual peanuts,” he said.

“What this does it gives you a really long shelf life because what happens with flavors is they start to fade away over time and usually the shelf life of a product depends on the flavors, which can be the first thing that goes – so products start to taste bland and is not good anymore,” Salinas explained.

Even though P-nuff just launched in March and Salinas is focused on expanding distribution, he already has a flavor extension in the pipeline.

“This one will have coco in it, which again is nutritious and helps you live a better, healthier and active life because coco has a lot of antioxidants and will help with vasodilation to better deliver nutrients to your body by increasing blood flow,” Salinas explained.

Plus, he said, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is a classic to which consumers of all types and ages are drawn.

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