KFI is an independent subsidiary of recently-formed Kraft Heinz Company.
In 2015, Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway helped the ketchup maker take over Kraft Foods for $40bn, this site previously reported. When Kraft Heinz relocated its head office to the Aon Center in downtown Chicago following the merger, the company’s R&D center moved to Glenview, Illinois.
“About 35% of our ingredients go into snack foods,” VP and general manager at KFI, Andrew Scribner, told BakeryandSnacks during Snaxpo (April 1-4) held in Savannah, Georgia.
The company showcased several snacking concepts featuring dairy ingredients, including cheeseburger-flavored puffs that are hydrogenated oil-free, cheddar flavored PHO-free baked potato chips and parmesan popcorn. According to the head of marketing at KFI, Julie Tiatia, all these snack prototypes follow the clean label consumer trend.
“Cheese products are growing in popularity,” said Tiatia, despite the demand for more healthy products. Cheese is often perceived as unhealthy, however, Tiata said it is viewed as a “permissible indulgence”.
“People are not going to stop eating cheese. What they don’t want is eating cheese full of ingredients they can’t pronounce,” she said.
Transforming the product portfolio
"Consumers are moving into fresh, less processed and clean ingredient lines, so we’re transforming our portfolio to a better one and getting into natural and organic as well,” Scribner added.
As such, KFI provides a range of cheese powders with differing levels of sodium for manufacturers wanting to cater to the consumer demand for sodium-reduced foods.
While some of the KFI’s portfolio upgrade may come with a cost increase, Scribner said the company's goal is to provide its snack-making partners with more options.