Balancing the cost of health

by Charlotte Atchley
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Making healthy snack foods does not come without some challenges. Mintel, a research firm based in Chicago, found in its Healthy Snacks survey that 71% of healthy snackers feel that healthy snacks are more expensive than unhealthy ones. It’s not just snacker perception, however. Cost is a burden that snack producers have to balance to make healthy snacks really worth it for their bottom lines.

“The challenge is to achieve true good-for-you, not perceived good-for-you, products and doing that economically so they are still affordable for the consumer,” said Dan McGrady, vice-president, technical services, Wyandot, Inc., Marion, OH. “What we’re finding is some of these better-for-you ingredients are extraordinarily expensive and don’t necessarily make for a good consumer proposition.” Vegetable powders, in particular, Mr. McGrady pointed out can be a considerable cost to the manufacturer. Wyandot has worked around these costs by supplementing more expensive vegetable powders such as sweet potato with the less expensive bean powders.

“Beans are more expensive than our traditional ingredients, but they aren’t way out there as the other dehydrated vegetables,” he said. “So where we can, we’ll use beans, which help from a nutritional standpoint as well because of high protein and high fiber.” By finding a way to skim the cost without skimping on nutrition, Wyandot offers consumers a healthy product without sticker shock.

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