La Panzanella targets millennials with new snack cracker offering

by Monica Watrous
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La Panzanella Croccatini bites
La Panzanella Artisanal Foods is introducing Croccantini Bites, designed to appeal to millennials.

NEW YORK — From La Panzanella Artisanal Foods Co., Seattle, comes a new line of seasoned snack crackers developed with millennials in mind. Packaged in resealable pouches, Croccantini Bites launched in June with three bold flavor varieties: Italian herb, spicy olive, and sundried tomato basil. The company unveiled the new offerings at the Summer Fancy Food Show, held June 26-28 in New York.

“We’ve sold crackers for years that have complemented cheese or a nice dip,” said Paul Pigott, chief executive officer of La Panzanella, in an interview with Food Business News. “These are more of a snack. You can still pair them with cheeses or dips, but they’re really made for on the go, in a resealable bag, which is new for us. They’re about half the size of our regular crackers.”

La Panzanella, which makes the top-selling cracker in the specialty gourmet market, saw sales rise 10% over last year. Mr. Pigott said he expects the new product launch will further propel the brand’s growth.

“Our core line tends to be maybe for more mature audiences, and the younger generation — millennials — are more on the go, more likely to snack,” Mr. Pigott said. “The average American is eating at least two snacks a day in between meals. Millennials snack four to five times a day. This is really more keeping with that trend.”

Paul Pigott, La Panzanella
Paul Pigott, c.e.o. of La Panzanella, said the company may expand into dips or spreads in the future.

Part of the secret to La Panzanella’s continued success is a commitment to quality, Mr. Pigott said.

“We’re a specialty cracker, so we see a lot of crackers that are trying to break into our space,” he said. “Like us, they are all natural. Even the big guys, like Nabisco, are trying to come out with more interesting flavors.

“We’re actually the largest specialty cracker seller in the U.S. We just make sure we never cut corners, we never skimp on ingredients… We keep delivering a good product to our customers, and our business seems to be reflecting that.”

Future innovation may expand the brand’s presence into adjacent product categories, such as dips or spreads, Mr. Pigott said.

“One of the things we’re exploring is looking at other products that complement our products, so we might look at doing some type of topping, dips or spreads,” he said. “We’re looking at how we can get beyond products that we make with products that go well with the products that we make, and taking advantage of the brand people are starting to recognize in stores and find ourselves in other places in the store, maybe in the refrigerated section of the deli as opposed to on the shelf.

“We are just looking at it. The next year for sure we’re focusing on the launch of (Croccantini Bites). We may do other flavor extensions of this. We have to see how the market reacts to it.”
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