Product showcase 2020: Snack and bakery brands stay vibrant and many launch virtually to beat COVID-19

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Snacking in the time of COVID-19. Pic: GettyImages.Fumika
Snacking in the time of COVID-19. Pic: GettyImages.Fumika

Related tags COVID-19 Cheese artisan sourdough

It’s positive to note the bakery and snack industries are not buckling under the coronavirus outbreak.

Cheese, oh please


Whisps Snacks has added to flavours to its range of snacks: Whisps Tangy Ranch Cheese Crisps and Whisps Nacho Cheese Crisps.

The snackable cheese crisps feature 100% cheddar cheese – made exclusively for Whisps – blends of savoury spices to elevate the cheesiest snacking experience and are baked, not fried.

“Our first core value at Whisps is that we are cheese fanatics; in fact, the cheddar that we use is made exclusively for us after we couldn’t find one on the market that delivered the taste we wanted,”​ said Ilana Fischer, CEO of Whisps Snacks.

“Whisps Tangy Ranch and Whisps Nacho both celebrate our love of cheese and upgrade two of America’s favourite flavours with premium cheese and spices that leave your cheesy cravings satisfied.”

Whisps Tangy Ranch combines aged cheddar and garlic to achieve a perfectly cool, smooth ranch flavour while Whisps Nacho packs a cheesy punch enhanced with tomato, garlic and a touch of pepper. Like all Whisps, the snacks contain 10g of protein and only 3g of carbs per 3g serving. They are also an excellent source of calcium, and are gluten free, keto and vegetarian friendly.

Available online and rolling out on shelves across the US, with an RRP of $3.99).

Artisan at its best


UK craft bakery Geary’s Bakery has launched a new brand, Jason’s Bread, spearheaded by master baker and MD Jason Geary, the fourth-generation family member to lead the business, available exclusively from M&S.

The sliced ‘Ciabattin’ loaf uses a sourdough culture to create three different variants: White, Grains & Seeds and Craft Beer (using Vixen Copper Ale – a local Leicestershire beer from Charnwood Brewery).  The bread is baked after a 24 hour fermentation process typical of small batch sourdough bread, ensuring it has a rich flavour with no need for added sugars, preservatives or additives.

The packaging, made of glassine paper, is entirely recyclable within the paper recycling network.  The reseable bag ensures the bread remains fresh even after several days in the bread bin.

“My entire life has been about bread and baking. Even from the age of 10, I would get home from school and bake with my grandfather, so I’m proud to be able to put all my experience, all my passion and of course my name to this unique sourdough Ciabattin,”​ said Geary.

“I’d like people to be able to experience the wonderful taste of quality ‘proper’ bread with no additives, just wholesome ingredients. It’s great for many occasions, but unbeatable as toast - everyone who tries it says it’s a bit like crumpet bread. I’m just really proud of this product and I hope that people will enjoy it too.” 

Jason’s Bread is available now in M&S stores nationwide at an RRP of £1.80 per loaf.

Award winners


Krusteaz’s Protein Buttermilk Pancake, Protein Blueberry Muffin, Buttermilk Pancake and Blueberry Muffin will now display the ChefsBest medallion after being honoured with ChefsBest Excellence Awards.

The awards are given to brands that surpass standards established by the panel of Certified Master Tasters made up of professional chefs. The Krusteaz products were evaluated using the ChefsBest proprietary testing method – Sensory Attribute Quality Analysis (SAQA) – taking into account appearance, aroma, taste, flavour and texture to objectively measure quality.

“The ChefsBest medallion is a recognisable and trusted mark that conveys a variety of coveted taste claims, backed by expert data,”​ said Chris Faridniya, a representative from ChefsBest.

“With this addition to their packaging, the Krusteaz brand is now able to showcase the high-quality and taste attributes of both new and core products. Four products being honoured is a particularly unique accomplishment and a testament to this high-quality brand.”

Andy Heily, president and CEO of Krusteaz’ owner Continental Mills, added, “Consumers want nutritious and easy breakfast options that don't sacrifice on excellent taste, a standard that is core to every Krusteaz product.

“We are excited to display the ChefsBest medallion so consumers can more easily identify our stand-out products the next time they are at the supermarket.  We're particularly proud that two of our newest products in the wholegrain line, the Protein Buttermilk Pancake and Protein Blueberry Muffin, not only met the standards required for the ChefsBest Excellence Award but were also judged unsurpassed in overall quality in each category respectively.”

The Krusteaz Protein Buttermilk Pancake, Protein Blueberry Muffin, Buttermilk Pancake and Blueberry Muffin are all available at US retailers nationwide.

Indulgence on-the-go


St Pierre is extending its On-the-Go range with the launch of the Millionaires Waffle, which taps into two current consumer trends – the growth of the food-to-go sector and the increasing popularity of indulgence foods.

According to IGD’s 2019 UK Food-to-Go survey, the sector is growing at a rapid pace and predicted to reach £23.4bn in 2024, a 26% increase on 2019, double the 13% growth of the wider UK food and retail grocery market over the same period.

St Pierre’s On-the-Go range is outperforming this with year-on-year sales growth of 150%. Sales of St Pierre Caramel Waffles, alone, increased 32% year-on-year over the summer months.

Made from an authentic Dutch recipe, the 45g individually wrapped St Pierre Millionaires Waffles are topped with caramel and coated in Belgian chocolate. The Waffles are currently available in selected WHSmith travel stores around the UK with a larger rollout later this year.

“The new Millionaires Waffle adds a new dimension to the already popular St Pierre ‘On-the-Go’ range, which we have seen grow significantly since its launch in 2018,”​ said Jeremy Gilboy, founder of the St Pierre Groupe.

“As a trailblazing brand, our creative team have developed a product that not only tastes delicious but taps into a number of consumer trends, whilst offering simple indulgence on-the-go.”

The Waffles joins the St Pierre On-the-Go lineup of croissants, Pains au Chocolat, Vanilla Brioche Swirls, Chocolate Chip Brioche Rolls and Caramel Waffles.

Virtual snacking showcase


Amplify Snack Brands is virtually showcasing its recent innovations following the cancellation of Natural Products Expo West 2020 amid coronavirus concerns.

Firstly, Amplify’s SkinnyPop Chips is a new way to enjoy popcorn, made with 100% whole grains and no artificial ingredients and available in three variants: Sea Salt, BBQ and Cheddar & Sour Cream. They are also non-GMO project verified, gluten free, tree nut free, dairy free, vegan, and kosher.

“With 90% of consumers snacking multiple times per day, chips are often seen as off-limits for those trying to snack healthier,”​ said Mark Chu, SkinnyPop brand manager. “This insight is why we believe SkinnyPop Chips will be a product people will love – it offers the delicious taste of chips paired with the better-for-you credentials of SkinnyPop.”

The snack producer – acquired by The Hershey Company in 2017 – also recently introduced the Twist of Lime variant to its SkinnyPop Popcorn – the third fastest growing flavour in salty snacks but underdeveloped in popcorn, according to the company.

“When we saw lime’s growth as a popular flavour with consumers of salty snacks, we knew we had the opportunity to create something our fans would love,”​ added Chu.

Pirate’s Booty Veggie & Fruit Sticks is another recent innovation from Amplify.

The snacks – aimed at kids – are the ‘only’ veggie sticks on the market that contain ½ cup of vegetables in every serving, according to the company. And, unlike other products in the veggie sticks space, Pirate’s Booty Sticks are baked, not fried.

“Many brands use fried potato starch to make their veggie sticks and then colour them with veggie powders, but Pirate’s Booty Veggie Sticks are baked with actual vegetables including corn, navy beans, potatoes, lentils, beets, spinach, and kale,”​ said Danielle Merket, brand manager of Pirate’s Booty.

“As a brand that prides itself on providing healthier, filling snack alternatives, our veggie and fruit sticks certainly embody this commitment. We’re glad kids love them as much as we do.”

Finally, Amplify’s Krave Plant-Based Jerky is a response to the growing consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives.

“The plant-based movement has yet to hit jerky because current options do not deliver on consumers’ expectations,”​ said Jimmy McClain, brand manager of Krave. “However, we recognisedthat the plant-based movement wasn’t off-limits to Krave and actually presented an opportunity to showcase our brand’s innovation.”

Fruitful growth


RIND Snacks – the producer of ‘Skin-On Superfruit’ snacks – has added a new product to its lineup following a rollout to three additional national grocery chains.

Coco-Melon debuts as  the company’s fifth addition to its product line, featuring a three-ingredient blend of organic coconut, watermelon, and  cantaloupe. The new SKU, to be launched later this year, represents RIND’s first foray into applying its ‘peel-powered’ formula to melons.

The producers nutrient-dense, whole fruit offerings will roll out in Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, and The Fresh Market this year.

RIND's founder Matt Weiss has been intent on packing maximum nutritional and functional value into his products since  he first began tinkering with fruit snacks.

“Figuring out how to retain a whole melon’s incredible flavour,  colour and nutrition in its dried form – without adding sugar or preservatives – was one of the earliest challenges I wrestled with,” ​said Weiss.

“When I first began trying to solve that problem, I dried so much melon that my dehydrator blew out  the power in my apartment building. My neighbours will be thrilled to know that, in the years since, we’ve been able to partner with world-class growers and processors to pioneer the R&D behind Coco-Melon. This launch represents an exciting milestone for us and for whole fruit snacking … .and we’re just getting started!”

The brand was launched in New York City in 2018, as the result of a multigenerational family focus on all-natural snacks that could sustain personal and planetary health.

Get your tongue a-salsa-ing

Brazi Bites

Brazi Bites, the Latin-inspired, better-for-you frozen food company has launched a signature bite-size Empanada line to complement its Brazilian Cheese Bread in traditional flavours likes Black Bean & Cheddar, Chicken & Cheese, Beef & Bean and Chickpea Veggie.

Brazi Bites believes in bringing natural foods to the forefront of the freezer by supplying Americans with naturally gluten-free, zero preservative freezer-to-oven products.

The company was born in the kitchen of husband-and-wife duo Junea Rocha and Cameron MacMullin in 2010 and has grown into a nationally distributed brand with a cult-like following after appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank and twice included in Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

 “We make it a priority to listen to our customer’s needs and believe everyone should have access to budget-friendly, convenient, natural, foods that actually taste good,”​ said Junea Rocha, CMO and co-founder of Brazi Bites.

“Brazi Bites always puts the consumer first and remains a leader in bringing a popular Brazilian staple to the US.”

Brazi Bites’ line of Brazilian Cheese Bread and Empanadas are available at natural and conventional stores, including Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Costco, Wegmans and Publix.

Love cashews

Group Cashew Photo

Mindful snacking brand SkinnyDipped has debuted its first cashew-based flavours: Dark Chocolate Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel

The new product utilises SkinnyDipped’s unique proprietary process of thinly dipping nuts and finishing them with a dusting of ‘real’ flavour. They are also low in sugar and high in fibre and protein.

“As a mom, I truly believe you can taste good intention, so we work every day to do better whether by lowering the sugar in our snacks or by innovating ways to have real impact in impoverished cacao-growing communities,” ​said cofounder and chief of innovation Val Griffith.

“We’re nuts about almonds, but we love cashews, too, and are so excited to welcome them into the SkinnyDipped family.”

The SkinnyDipped Cashews are made with non-GMO ingredients, are gluten-free and made with ethically sourced chocolate and no artificial colours or flavours.

Sold in 3.5oz pouches for an RRP of $4.99, the cashews are available on Amazon and at select natural and conventional grocers nationwide, including Kroger, Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, Wegman’s and HEB.

Bean there, loved it!


The Good Bean has launched Chocolate Covered Chickpeas in three varieties – Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Mocha Chocolate – adding to the company’s already impressive portfolio of legume-based snacks.

Additionally, the producer is debuting its reimagined Protein Snack Mix, available in two varieties: Sea Salt and Balsamic Herb.

The expansion into the world of confectionery is a first for The Good Bean, but remaining true to its mission of creating snacks with strong health benefits.

“I am truly excited about diving into the confection arena with our chocolate covered chickpeas. At The Good Bean, I believe in sourcing the best possible ingredients and living mindfully, but I also believe in decadent indulgence,”​ said founder and CEO Sarah Wallace.

“I knew if I was going to take on the challenge of launching a chocolate chickpea confection, it couldn’t be mediocre; it needed to hold up against premium candy and confections in terms of taste, and this really does. I think people will be surprised and delighted at how incredibly delicious and unforgettable this product is."

All varieties pack 3g of protein and only 130 calories per serving and are made in small batches with Fair Trade chocolate and chickpeas grown in the US. The snacks are also Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Gluten Free.

The Good Bean is also rolling out its reimagined Protein Snack Mix in two flavours: Sea Salt and Balsamic Herb. The crispy roasted favas and green peas combo boast 7g of plant protein and 3g of fibre per serving.


Available online and on Amazon, with rollout to major US retailers later this year, the chickpeas have an RRP of $4.50 per bag and The Good Bean Protein Snack Mix varieties carries an RRP of $4.50 per bag.

Pop up and stand out


Gourmet popcorn brand Pop Art Snacks has upped its heathy stance by offering gluten-free and kosher snacks made from air-popped, non-GMO corn, now using either only 100% avocado or olive oil – with no trans fats in sight.

 “With the debut of the Hawaiian Sea Salt with Avocado Oil popcorn in 2018, we began answering the call from many of our consumers who were looking for simple ways to improve the quality of their snacks,”​ said Mike Dobson, co-founder of Pop Art Snacks.

“We are now utilising oils that are not only better for you, but that add to the flavour profile,”​ added co-founder Venessa Dobson.

“Our Mediterranean flavours like Rosemary Truffle and Pepper Parmesan use olive oil, whereas our Cheddar Jalapeno, Hawaiian Sea Salt, and Seaweed Sesame use avocado oil for that creamy flavour and mouthfeel.”

The brand has also debuted a new flavour: Dill Pickle Vegan Ranch.

“We decided to take the extra step to make this variety vegan because we knew it would be possible to achieve the fantastic flavour of creamy ranch, with a hint of dill pickle, without the use of dairy,”​ added Dobson.

Pop Art Snacks has also enhanced its signature, brightly coloured packaging. The new design was inspired by American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein, and utilises an overlap of shapes in various sizes, featuring polka dots, zigzags and stripes.

Pop Arts Snacks can be found in 1,500 retail locations throughout the US or online, with an RRP of around $3.99. 

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