LONDON — Mindful Snacker is looking for opportunities to make snacking healthier and tastier.
The UK-based brand is owned by Pilot Lite Group, a global venture management company, and is spearheaded by Tara Quick, a former marketing executive and self-confessed foodie. Ms. Quick also brings experience working with startups. Prior to joining Pilot Lite Group’s new snacking venture, she worked with brands including Moyee Coffee, The Other Bar and Three Jones Pizza.
“I believe simple, quality, locally sourced ingredients are essential to make a product taste great,” Ms. Quick said. “I love products that solve consumer compromises. I was attracted to Pilot Lite Group because of their mix of great innovation with a bigger purpose, to make our everyday lives healthier, but not at the expense of great taste or the planet.”
Mindful Snacker’s first product, a better-for-you potato crisp, will hit shelves in April. The company uses a unique cooking technique to create a fried-like crisp without the added salt and fat.
“There are products out there using a potato base, but it is extruded into different shapes,” Ms. Quick said. “They are not real potato crisps like ours.”
Mindful Snacker isn’t sharing too many trade secrets at this stage, but Ms. Quick said the roasting process allows for the flavor of its Amarillo potato variety to shine through.
“Our way of cooking is simple: we slice, roast and lightly season,” she said. “Unlike frying, the oil we use stays on the surface of the crisps and doesn’t penetrate. This way you protect the mouthfeel and crunch you expect from crisps as the oil stays where you want it.”
The company has a pipeline of products in development that will launch later this year. Plant-based will play a crucial part in those plans, and all the products are designed to meet new snacking needs in a post-pandemic world. Consumers will emerge from the health crisis looking for answers to living well, Ms. Quick predicted.
“We are living through a pandemic where our lifestyles can impact our ability to fight the virus,” she said. “We’ve seen explosive growth in people taking personal responsibility for making better health choices. Plant-based will no longer be just a diet or a lifestyle choice, there will be more and more flexitarians. We’ll see a true shift from dieting to health and well-being. We’ll no longer consider fat and calories in the context of weight, but in optimum health.”
Unhealthy habits adopted during the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns in March 2020 led more consumers to seek cleaner comfort foods, she added.
“During the first lockdown, we saw biscuits and snacking sales increase, leading to much ‘lockdown weight gain,’” Ms. Quick said. “This time around, people are starting to take control again and are looking for new ways to enjoy life, whilst being mindful of the health impact of their choices. We are still looking for small moments of joy within our day... but it’s more mindful and planned this time around, and focused on special moments, that have been in such short supply, rather than continuous comfort eating.”
The key to mindful snacking is creating something that is new but also familiar to consumers. That means going beyond updating traditional snack foods with better ingredients.
“It’s also a matter of reducing additives, processing, salt, fat, calories — an overhaul, yet something that tastes the same,” Ms. Quick said.