NYC start-up aims to carve a niche in the healthy snacks market with frozen bite-size fruity cubes

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

LifeIce founder Paulette Fox:  “The main target group is health-conscious women aged 30-55'
LifeIce founder Paulette Fox: “The main target group is health-conscious women aged 30-55'
New York-based start-up LifeIce is aiming to create a completely new category in the healthy snacking market with new bite-sized all-natural frozen fruit snacks that are sold as a shelf-stable product in a freeze-at-home tray. 

The brainchild of founder and attorney Paulette Fox, who developed the idea while caring for her mother during her battle with ovarian cancer, the snacks come in packs of 48 with a recommended retail price of $4.99.

The texture is not the same as a plain ice cube

There are four flavors - Berry Bite, Chocolate Crisp, Citrus Chomp and Green Grind - which all contain agave syrup and coconut water as a base, plus a combination of fruit and fruit juice concentrates, fruit powders and guar gum or pectin.  

For example, Citrus Chomp contains baobab fruit powder, ginger and mangosteen puree, orange and apple juice concentrate, lemon puree concentrate and beta carotene powder; while Berry Bites contain yumberry, blueberry and blackberry juice concentrate.

Texture-wise, they are much more appealing than ice cubes, however, said Fox, who has created the strapline ‘Freeze. Pop. Enjoy’ for LifeIce: “Since each cubette is packed with healthy ingredients, it is unable to freeze like plain water does into ice.

“The result delivers the best of both worlds: an initial crunchy bite, followed by a refreshingly cool melting of icy nourishment that tastes good too.”

The main target group is health-conscious women aged 30-55

Life-Ice-cubes
Freeze. Pop. Enjoy? LifeIce is sold shelf-stable in a ready to freeze tray

So who is the target audience?

Said Fox: “We did some demographic studies and found that the main target group was health-conscious women aged 30-55.

“[However] we by no means wish to limit ourselves to this as I really believe once I begin active outreach to consumers, I will find that other groups will be just as, if not more, interested than initial findings reported.”

We are targeting high end retailers

And the route to market?

“The great thing about LifeIce is that it can live in many different areas of the store”,​ said Fox. 

“Because LifeIce is sold shelf stable, we know that it can live in the produce section next to the fruit beverages or in the grocery section next to functional beverages. It can also live in the healthy snack aisle. 

“There will be a few different schools of thought on where the product will live in the store.  It will be based on the type of retailer and the demographic that they speak to.”

She added: “Distributors and retailers have shown significant interest and want to see and hear more about LifeIce. We are targeting high end retailers that appeal to the consumer looking for a new type of healthy snacking experience.”

Lori Colman: I could see this as a novelty item in a health food store or similar environment

Berry-Bite-LifeIce
The texture is not the same as an ice cube

But what do the marketing experts think?

Lori Colman, co-CEO at branding and marketing agency CBD Marketing, told FoodNavigator-USA that she thought the concept was “very interesting​”, and had particular potential in a hospital setting as a more nutritional alternative to ice chips.

 “I could see this as a novelty item in a health food store or similar environment (grocery/carryout/deli area at a health club, for instance)… maybe even a store like Trader Joe’s. ​[But] probably not mass market.”

How long they stay frozen will matter with regard to repeat purchase

However, she was not clear about how regular consumers might interact with the product in practice, adding: “I noticed that the serving size on the label is one tray (24 bites). Would anyone consume 24 pieces … and  would it feel like eating 24 flavored ice cubes?  If so, that’s kind of tedious.

“Then, there’s that frozen part. How long they stay frozen will matter with regard to repeat purchase. I might rather grab  a frozen yogurt bar or small single pack sorbet.  But one-at-a-time bites?  People won’t want to keep running to the freezer so 10 or 15 of these would have to stay frozen for several minutes.

“And buying something “unfrozen” then freezing it may also seem strange and inconvenient to the consumer.

Finally, the names could be improved, she said: ”Especially ‘Green grind’ and ‘Chomp.  ‘Crisp’ just sounds weird.  But ‘Bite’ is OK.”

R+M: 'Become the product that every refrigerator should stock and every medical facility should consider'

LifeIce-bites

Beverly Murray, CEO and founder of branding agency R+M, said she thought that the story behind the product could be something the company could further develop in its marketing and positioning.

She added: "LifeIce has a great story to tell. But are they truly capitalizing on it by positioning LifeIce as a healthy snack?

"I would consider refining their point of entry to more effectively reflect their true connection to the consumer. For example, what might be the value of being 'the product families rely on when a loved one is on the mend'?

"Become the product that every refrigerator should stock and every medical facility should consider. Then encourage the users to 'discover' the added value as a snack. Essentially, run the race you can win first."

Related topics: Snacks, Manufacturers

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