When the leaders of Mediterranean Snacks, Boonton, NJ, decided to develop a new product, it wasn’t hard for them to find inspiration in four big consumer trends.
Consumers are snacking more, looking for less gluten, steering clear of GMOs and seeking a protein punch. Mediterranean Snacks took that information and created BeanStalks, a bean-based, crunchy snack that boasts healthy specs.
“The core message on this new product is that BeanStalks are a delicious gluten-free and non-GMO snack with giant crunch, made from nutritious beans,” said Lonnie Williard, vice-president of marketing for Mediterranean Snacks.
With snacking on the rise, especially among busy consumers looking for a quick bite that minimizes guilt, BeanStalks are primarily marketed toward millennials and moms. “Basically ‘starving snackers’ with high snacking frequency,” Ms. Williard said. “The secondary target is ‘female healthy snackers,’ who prefer buying natural foods and have a high commitment to health, especially women searching to add variety to their snacking choices for themselves and their family.”
The base ingredients for BeanStalks are cannellini beans, green peas and pinto beans. Each serving of 24 stalks contains 4 g protein and 100 Cal.
“Americans are seeking out items with protein,” Ms. Williard said. “In addition, sales of gluten-free and GMO-free snacks have increased significantly the past few years. By making the main ingredient beans, we delivered a crunchy, salty chip that met those objectives.”
And while the better-for-you aspects of BeanStalks are paramount, Ms. Williard also said the company wanted to make a snack with wide appeal. That meant developing a trio of tried-and-true flavors — Sea Salt, BBQ and Cheddar — and making sure the bean snacks delivered a substantial crunch.
“In snacking, it’s all about the crunch, so we worked very closely with our suppliers to innovate and develop the right crunch,” Ms. Williard said. “We specifically launched with mainstream flavors to appeal to a broad audience, so folks can confidently set them out at a party or playdate for a salty, crunchy, healthier snack.”
Mediterranean Snacks soft-launched the product at Natural Products Expo West in March to gauge customer interest and buyer response. After some slight refinement, the full launch occurred at both Sweets & Snacks Expo in May and Fancy Food Show East in June.
“We have been shipping to trade customers and distributors, and the interest has been overwhelmingly positive,” Ms. Williard said. “Buyers are quickly authorizing the item for shelf re-sets. It is off to a strong start out of the gate.”
BeanStalks are packaged in 3.5-oz pouches that retail between $2.99 and $3.49 each. Mediterranean Snacks is also launching single-serve 1-oz bags of each flavor for grab-and-go availability and portion control. The snacks are available on Amazon and appeared in retailers across the country in late summer.