Tracking snack trends with Snikiddy founder

by Monica Watrous
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Snikiddy purple corn puffs
Utz’s Snikiddy brand is introducing Purple Corn Puffs in white cheddar and sea salt varieties.
 

CHICAGO — Avocado oil and purple corn, among other trending ingredients, are featured in products debuting at the Sweets & Snacks Expo from Utz Quality Foods, L.L.C. The company’s Snikiddy brand is introducing Purple Corn Puffs in white cheddar and sea salt varieties. From the Good Health brand, a range of Ridge Cut Potato Chips cooked in avocado oil is set to launch.

The products join a growing portfolio of chips, pretzels and popcorn made with premium, nutritious ingredients such as beans, beets and broccoli.

Mary Schulman, Snikiddy
Mary Schulman, vice-president of strategy for the Good Health and Snikiddy brands

“Good Health is known for being a trailblazer in healthy snacking,” said Mary Schulman, vice-president of strategy for the Good Health and Snikiddy brands, in an interview with Food Business News.

An extension of the brand’s popular line of Avocado Oil Kettle-Style Potato Chips, the new ridge-cut varieties include sea salt, jalapeño cheddar jack, buffalo and cool blue ranch, and creamy French onion.

Good Health avocado oil ridge-cut chips
Utz's Good Health brand is launching ridge-cut varieties of its Avocado Oil Kettle-Style Potato Chips.
 

Other new offerings from Good Health include Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas chips, Gluten Free Pretzels and Veggie Pretzels, which are sprinkled with Himalayan salt and formulated with spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms.

From Snikiddy, which Ms. Schulman co-founded with her mother in 2006, the new Purple Corn Puffs align with the brand’s mission to deliver healthy, appealing snacks for children, she said.

“These younger snackers, we believe, will think that purple puffs are super fun,” Ms. Schulman said. “They are Non-GMO Project verified and carry the Whole Grain Stamp. The purple puff is made with purple corn; it’s a beautiful violet color, and it tastes delicious.”

Good Health gluten-free pretzels and black bean tortilla chips
New offerings from Good Health include Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas chips, Gluten Free Pretzels and Veggie Pretzels.
 

Snikiddy also is reintroducing its Baked Grilled Cheese Puffs and Baked Mac N’ Cheese Puffs, which are now U.S.D.A. certified organic, and a Baked Fries line made with 70% organic ingredients. The organic overhaul came in response to changing consumer preferences and expectations.

“Particularly people with younger children are looking for that seal of approval, and I think it’s more widely expected now and looked for, and we really felt this was the right thing to do for the consumer,” Ms. Schulman said.

Inspiration for creating Snikiddy struck while Ms. Schulman was pregnant with her first child.

Snikiddy Mac 'n Cheese Puffs, Grilled Cheese Puffs
Snikiddy is reintroducing its Baked Grilled Cheese Puffs and Baked Mac N’ Cheese Puffs, which are now U.S.D.A. certified organic.
 

“I grew up eating healthy, and as a mom I wanted to be able to offer healthier snacks to my future children,” she said. “As I looked around the grocery store, I didn’t find snacks that I would have been excited about feeding them because they were laden with artificial flavors and preservatives, and I really wanted to be able to provide my children with a cleaner diet.

“I also knew that children are going to snack; it’s inevitable… I figured other moms like myself would be happy to provide healthier snacks to their families.”

To stay current in the competitive snack market, Ms. Schulman tracks trends in other categories and industries.

Snikiddy Baked Fries
Snikiddy is offering a Baked Fries line made with 70% organic ingredients.
 

“You could look at what restaurants are doing or even completely different verticals like the beauty industry,” she said. “I’m always keeping track of what those trends are, maybe not necessarily in the snacking world, but outside of that, and evaluating if they might translate into the snacking world.”

Utz Quality Foods, the largest privately-held salty snack company in the United States, acquired Good Health in 2014 and Snikiddy in 2015. Both brands are sold in approximately 5,000 retail outlets nationwide.

“We think both Good Health and Snikiddy can play within all of the snacking areas and maybe even across other verticals in the store,” Ms. Schulman said. “We haven’t determined that, but we’re always evaluating that and looking to do the best we can do for our consumer and making sure we’re delivering what they need and want.” 
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