The corn strips snacks will be available in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand as well as China through the company’s retail presence in these countries.
The new snacks come in long strips, which is different from regular corn chips which come in triangular shapes.
“Generally speaking, corn chips are triangular in shape, (and) through extensive research, we discovered consumers found this triangle shape frustrating as it can be awkward to dip and even painful to bite or position in the mouth,” said Maria Mitropoulos, vice president of marketing at Mission Foods (Asia Oceania).
The corn strips snacks (plain salted flavour) have been available in Australia and US for more than 10 years but those in Asia will be available in three flavours, Tom Yum, Peri-Peri and Spicy Szechuan Seafood to cater to Asian taste buds.
“The flavour profiles we selected for the Asian market are unique for Mission globally and also for any other corn chip brands, you would expect to see flavours like this on a potato chip but not necessarily a corn chip,” Mitropoulos told FoodNavigator-Asia.
She said consumption of corn-based snacks in Asia is not as popular, “Like most other countries and markets, Asia is a potato snacks driven market.”
This can be seen in Mission Foods’ US and Latin America business, where corn-based products make up a larger share, compared to Australia and Asia.
“Having said that we have seen growth in the corn chips segment with consumers looking for healthier types of snacks. We know consumers are health focused and there is often tension between healthiness and enjoyment in the category,
All our chips contain 30% less oil than regular potato chips and our new corn strips are free from preservatives, artificial flavours and colours,” Mitropoulos said. Corn chips are seen to be more nutritious compared to potato-based chips which is perceived to be less nutritional due to its starch content.
“(As) Asian consumer continues on the “healthy” trajectory we have seen in other parts of the world,”
There is a significant opportunity to increase consumption and penetration of our products throughout all of Asia by approximately 10% -15% y-o-y,” Mitropoulos told us
The company is hoping to target younger “hipper” consumers looking for innovation in snacks with unique flavours.
The corn strips can be found at convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets within Southeast Asia and China.
The company is also working on new products in its bakery and corn chips products, in particular to meet the demands of health-oriented consumers.