Sweet-savory Christmas Pringles in the US and UK draw inspiration from Asia and target traveled consumers, its EMEA flavor development leader says.
The Kellogg-owned snack brand has launched mint chocolate and cinnamon varieties in the UK and pecan pie and cinnamon and sugar in the US.
Montse Sanchez-Pena, program leader of flavor innovation at Pringles EMEA, said the brand chose to debut sweet-savory Christmas flavors in the UK for the first time this year to tap into a surging trend.
In previous years Pringles Christmas editions in the UK included flavors like roast turkey.
“The sweet-savory taste combination is very present in Asian food and it is gaining popularity in the US and picking up in Europe. This has been mainly driven by the growth of sweet-savory profile crossover in other categories such as ice cream, chocolate and beverages,” Sanchez-Pena told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Pringles started its move into sweet-savory in Asia, she said, with blueberry hazelnut flavored chips.
“Consumers nowadays are more travelled and ready to embrace new taste experiences, and Pringles holiday flavors offer a unique sweet-savory treat.”
Snowballing sweet-savory trend
Sanchez-Pena said sweet and savory pairing is a notable global trend.
“The trend over the past few years has been to bring combined sweet-savory flavors into new areas. For example in cocktails and spirits, chocolate and ice cream in particular. We know people want new experiences and we have been looking at how we can surprise their taste buds.”
Raj Joshi, vice president of US Savory Snacks at Kellogg, agreed that consumers are keen on trying new flavors.
“The Pringles team continually keeps a pulse on all flavors, from traditional to the most recent trends,” Joshi said.
The sweet-savory launches in the US for the past few years over the holiday period have been intentional, he said, given the excitement around desserts and sweeter flavors at this time of year.
Sanchez-Pena said that the same could be said for Europe. “We thought about what flavors and ingredients people might typically associate with the festive season. Warm spices and indulgent chocolate are among them, so we decided to develop these as a snack.”
She said that while mint chocolate “does sound like an extreme flavor for a crisp”, consumers are familiar with the combination and curious to try in crisps.
“We spend a considerable amount of time understanding food, flavor and market trends and gathering consumer insights.”
The European flavors are developed in Kellogg’s R&D facility in Leuven, Belgium. Teams conduct in-house research as well as collaborate with external flavor houses, Sanchez-Pena said.