ATLANTA — To appeal to that coveted millennial consumer, a snack must be healthy and affordable. This was the insight behind the creation of Snackworthy, a new brand debuting at the NACS Show, held Oct. 18-21 in Atlanta.
Prior to developing Snackworthy, Lehi Valley Trading Co., a Mesa, Ariz.-based snack food manufacturer, conducted extensive research on millennial purchasing behaviors. The company found that 87% of millennials in a survey said they seek and expect healthier options when purchasing value snacks.
Snackworthy offers 69 items, including nuts and seeds, granola and trail mixes, popcorn, and candy with price points ranging from $1.99 to $5.99. Products are free from more than 100 “unworthy” ingredients, according to the company, a list that includes artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. The brand also features options that are organic, gluten-free, reduced sodium or whole grain.
“We know millennials are probably the most health-conscious generation out there,” said Jacque Taylor, director of marketing for Lehi Valley Trading Co. “We know they’re looking for a healthier brand, but we also know from our research that they tend to be the most price-conscious consumers out there, and so the key to the millennial shopping behavior is value. They want a healthier snack brand, but they also want it at a value price. That was the sweet spot for us as we did our research with millennials.”
The company learned through research that 30% of millennials are more likely to trade down to cheaper brands and that 81% liked the concept of a value brand offering only better-for-you items.
“From a value standpoint, we knew we had to meet that price point to really be able to speak to the millennial consumer, so we designed our packaging around that value price point to ensure not only the value but the perceived value of the product offering,” Ms. Taylor said.
Products are packaged in transparent peg bags, and labels feature a brown-paper backdrop with vibrant logo colors.
“In our research, we came up with a couple of concept designs for the packaging, and we tested them with the millennial consumer,” Ms. Taylor said. “In going into the design itself, we knew, for example, the millennial consumer is looking for natural, eco-friendly. Natural, eco-friendly label design was one of the things we incorporated.”
The company also tested various brand names with millennial consumers participating in a web survey last October.
“We gave them several names we had brainstormed (and asked), ‘This is the name for the brand. Which do you like, and why?’” Ms. Taylor said. “The whole idea of the name Snackworthy from a branding standpoint … is the idea of worthy — worthy of snacking because it’s better for you, better for your budget and better tasting…
“Also the tagline ‘Real. Affordable. Snacks.’ was another point we wanted to test with consumers. We got their feedback on tagline options that really speak to authenticity and healthy positioning.”
The product assortment was selected to include many of the top snack categories regularly purchased by millennial consumers. The company’s research revealed chips are regularly purchased by 72% of millennials, followed by nuts at 45%, dried fruit at 22% and candy at 21%. Some of Snackworthy’s offerings include flax corn chips, organic raw pepitas, medium medjool dates, organic wild blueberry flax granola and sour gummy worms.
The company plans to sell Snackworthy products in grocery stores, convenience stores, on-line and on college campuses.
“We certainly know if you think of the millennial demographic, 18 to 35, where you tend to find them most would be, not surprisingly, your c-store segment, but in general we know that grocery is the top shopped channel for snacks,” Ms. Taylor said.
Lehi Valley Trading Co. manufactures about a third of the products it sells. The other two-thirds are sourced from suppliers, who are increasingly shifting to simple ingredients in products, Ms. Taylor said. The company’s research indicates 65% of consumers seek products with natural flavors and 59% of consumers avoid products with high-fructose corn syrup.“This is a breakthrough brand in that we’re specifically going after the millennial demographic,” Ms. Taylor said. “When you look at the data, it is very clear the millennial consumer is the most powerful consumer bloc out there today, even outspending baby boomers. Anyone who is playing in the consumer packaged goods space really needs to have a laser focus on these millennials and ensuring that whatever they’re developing is delivering against the needs and the wants, specifically, of the millennial consumers.”