According to James Clinton Francis, Kraft Heinz Ingredients’ associate brand manager, nuts offer a prime opportunity to jump onto the growing health and wellness trend.
“That’s the sweet spot and the new path forward for snacking,” he said.
The company was showcasing it new snack prototypes using almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans at Snaxpo in Atlanta, Georgia (March 12 to 14, 2018).
These included gochujang spiced nuts (a traditional Korean flavor), maple bacon-flavored roasted pecan clusters and energy balls.
“Convenience is something a lot of consumers are thinking about, [however,] snack bars are a very crowded space, so we created the energy balls as a fresh way to consume nuts,” said Francis.
Francis said nuts can support the “tremendous growth” of the snacking category, hence the decision by Kraft Heinz Ingredients to expand their reach beyond the Planters brand (also owned by Kraft Foods).
Kraft Heinz Ingredients - the industrial arm of the Kraft Heinz Company – has been processing nuts for several years from its plants based in the southeastern and southcentral parts of the US.
“We source peanuts and pecans in particular, but also leverage operations in California for almonds and cashews,” said Francis, noting the company will use its proprietary salting and roasting techniques to create its snacks.
“The outlook for nuts is positive because they are used in many of the food and beverage products produced by some of our largest CPG customers,” he said, noting that nuts are an irresistible ingredient that can also be used in indulgent snacks.