Trendsetters: From African inspired snacks to cookies with a difference

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Craving for a snack? Pic: GettyImages/Jupiterimages
Craving for a snack? Pic: GettyImages/Jupiterimages

Related tags Npd Snacks

Chicka’s reverts to its African heritage to bring better-for-you treats to Brits while empowering the women of tomorrow; pladis is rolling out its biggest launch to date; the cookie category is being given a shake up with a range of chef-driven delights; and a West country UK bakery has partnered with an artisan condiment maker to offer the perfect breakfast marriage.

No monkeying about


Katie’s Food Co is hitting the high street with a listing win in Wholefoods Market.

The brand’s 100% natural banana crisps are being rolled out in the premier retail chain’s outlets across the UK this month.

According to Katie’s, its better-for-you snacks are the perfect fit for Wholefoods’ discerning customer base as they are 100% natural, plant-based, gluten- and dairy-free and a single pack counts as one of your five-a-day.

All four variants of Katie’s Banana Crisps – which were launched in the summer last year – are available in Wholefoods, including Thai Sweet Chilli, Mixed Herb, Salt & Vinegar and Himalayan Salt.

“We are delighted to be working with Wholefoods Market and supplying its incredibly busy and prestigious stores in the capital,”​ said Katie Grennall, founder of Katie’s Food Co.

“We feel that our banana crisps and Wholefoods Market are a brilliant match as we share a passion for high quality products that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Katie’s Food Co. Banana Crisps have an RRP of £1.49 for a 32g bag.

Snacks with soul


Chika’s is giving back as much as it is reaping by empowering African girls of today to be the confident women of tomorrow.

Founded by Chika Russell, Chicka’s are responsibly-sourced snacks inspired by West African street food. Growing up, Russell spent her holidays in Nigeria and quickly became immersed in its culture and food. These formative experiences motivated her to leave a decade-long career in finance to create Chika’s.

According to Russell, the vegan snacks were born out of three simple principles: good food, good ethos and good causes. ‘Iyanu’ is the Nigerian word for ‘amazing’ and the brand’s mission is to share iyanu goodness from Africa.

The snacks are also made from 100% natural ingredients, are palm oil-, gluten-, dairy- and soy-free and pack a punch with protein.

In 2019, Chicka’s launched the Snacks4Change partnership with WorldVision, which supports girls through education, enabling them to get the best start in life. Chika’s donate one penny from every bag to the cause.

Now in its fifth year, Chicka’s snacks – including its Nut Mix, Mini Crunch Corn, Corn & Nut Mix and Wholegrain Rice Crisps – can been found in over 3,000 stockists across the UK, including Waitrose, Co-op, Nisa and Ocado.

New year, new me

Go ahead

Pladis has extended its £29m Go Ahead low calorie snack portfolio to capitalise on the consumers’ greater focus on healthier treats.

As part of its busy NPD pipeline, the leading UK brand in low calorie snacking is launching Go Ahead Fruity Cake Bites, poppable cake snacks that are just 97 calories per pack and high in fibre.

The Bites – which come in a choice of two fruity fillings, zesty Orange & Lemon and juicy Raspberry & Strawberry – come in multipacks of five individually portioned packs.

Alongside this is the rollout of Go Ahead Fruit & Fibre Slices – an extension of the brand’s popular ‘slices’ portfolio. The products offer consumers light and crispy baked biscuits packed with sultanas, a chewy fruity filling and finished with a sprinkle of oats and bran to create a softer texture. The two variants – Strawberry and Blueberry – contain just 56 calories per slice and are high in fibre.

“Our Go Ahead campaign in January is all about encouraging people to ditch the guilt and go easy on themselves in a bid to challenge the traditional ‘new year, new me’ health fads that we typically see at this time of year,”​ said Caroline Hipperson, chief marketing officer at pladis UK&I.

“Go Ahead now has a range of products that fit all different types of snacking occasion, whether that’s at mealtimes or mid-afternoon.

“While healthier biscuits took a knock in 2020 as home-bound shoppers moved away from on-the-go products, it’s still the biggest sector of sweet biscuits and we predict that the sub-category will be the second-fastest growing sector of sweet biscuits over the next two years.”

Go Ahead Fruity Cake Bites are available in individually portioned 27.3g bags at an RRP of £2.39, while Go Ahead Fruit & Fibre Slices are sold in five individually wrapped packs of three slices (14.5g each) from multiple retail outlets nationwide, including Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Cheesy take


Another NPD from the global snacking company behind some of the UK’s iconic brands is its biggest launch to date of Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Sticks.

For the first time, the £71.2m brand is going beyond its signature circular crackers with nibbly, baton shaped bites that are golden-baked with real cheese and available in two flavours: Rich & Tangy Cheddar and Grilled Cheddar & Sizzling Steak.

“We’re very excited to introduce shoppers to a fresh new format for our bestselling Jacob’s Mini Cheddars brand, taking it beyond its traditional round shape for the first time in its history and building beyond its multipack heartland with larger, sharing bags,”​ said Christopher Owen, marketing controller at pladis UK&I.

The two Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Sticks variants are available exclusively in Tesco, with plans for a national rollout next month – for an RRP of £1.99 for a 150g sharing pack.

Out of the box

Nature's Crush

Nature’s Crush Popcorn has won a listing as core brand on SnackMagic, an online enterprise gifting platform.  

After a successful trial, Nature’s Crush has joined a shortlist of curated SKUs from across the US on SnackMagic’s exclusive menu.

According to Nature’s Crush brand owner Brown Bag Unlimited, the gourmet popcorn was launched in 2017 with the goal to ‘revolutionise’ the industry by adding a variety of real crushed herbs and spices to microwavable popcorn.

The brand said its popcorn – available in Original 23 Blend, a secret recipe of 23 crushed herbs and spices that started it all and Light & Zesty Lemon Pepper Garlic Blend, including a variety pack – is creating a buzz in the snacking space.

“Our audience is looking for something unique and different,”​ said Stephanie Yudowitch, co-founder and head of Merchants at SnackMagic.

“But unique and different doesn’t always mean a salute to new-age, functional ingredients that some consumers might not understand. It could be something as genius as innovating in a legacy category, as in the case of Nature’s Crush. They’re taking what some people might consider a commodity and making it more artisanal, and still presenting it in a format that’s familiar and nostalgic.

“It’s the perfect time to launch the brand when people are gravitating towards comfort snacking.” 

Nature’s Crush uses only the highest quality non-GMO corn grown in America’s heartland. Each batch is custom produced for great taste and freshness. The vegan snacks are also gluten-free and contain no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours, and are packaged in PFOA-free bags to protect consumers against harmful contaminants.  

The popcorn has an RRP of $1.49 per single bag on SnackMagic.

Everyday decadence

CookieRich_39_credit Hunter Townsend _ Consumable Content (@consumablecontent)

Like many other chefs, Lorin Peters was forced to make a career pivot after the pandemic shook the culinary industry to its core last year. Unperturbed, she believed the classic cookie was in need of a makeover and created Cookie Rich, which takes orders for pick-up and delivery across Texas.

Drawing on her chef background – including a stint at The French Laundry – Peters uses premium ingredients to create baked goods that are neither too sweet nor rich. Inspired to shake up the local cookie scene, Cookie Rich’s baking method simultaneously infuses the classic flavours and textures to create cookies with a culinary touch.

The cookies come in 10 playful flavours  like Funfetti + Sprinkle Cream Cheese and Chocolate Chip + Dark Chocolate Fudge, with rotating, seasonal varieties like Gingerbread + Orange Zest set to be introduced each quarter. This year, Peters has added Strawberry + Cheesecake and Cookies + Cream to the mix.

“I’ve always been passionate about experimenting with homemade desserts, so embarking on a journey into the baking world felt like a natural next step,”​ said Peters.

“Pivoting my career and launching a cookie business is my silver lining during a challenging pandemic year.”

The cookies can be purchased in boxes of four for $15 or by the dozen for $33, with an option of chef’s choice, either delivered to your doorstep or for collection from the Cookie Rich headquarters in Austin.

Fibre punch


Breakfast just got a whole grain makeover with the launch of new variants to two of Kellogg’s family-favourite brands.

With real cinnamon baked inside 100% whole grain frosted biscuit, the cereal giant said its Frosted Mini-Wheats Cinnamon Roll tastes just like your ‘favourite fresh-from-the-bakery cinnamon roll’. It’s contains 47g of whole grains per serving, along with fibre and seven essential vitamins and minerals.

Special K Blueberry is packed with whole blueberries that will kickstart the day and 15g of whole grains per serving, along with 11 key vitamins and minerals.

“At Kellogg, we’re always looking for ways to innovate our beloved brands and excite fans with new, nutritious flavours that fuel the whole family,”​ said Cindy Huntington, brand director at Kellogg Company.

“Whether you’re in the mood for something toasty and sweet or fancy something fruity, Frosted Mini-Wheats Cinnamon Roll and Special K Blueberry have you covered.”

Available from retailers across the US, Frosted Mini-Wheats Cinnamon Roll retails for a RRP of $3.25 for a 14.3oz box and $3.99 for a 22oz box, while Special K Blueberry retails for an RRP of $3.25 for a 11.6oz box and $3.99 for a 16.8oz box.

No spoon required

Cereal bars

Kellogg’s is also rolling out breakfast-inspired Cereal Bars that satisfy that craving for a cereal crunch in hand-held form while on the go and throughout the day.

Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Cereal Bars are made from real cereal pieces and are equal to a half serving of cereal (by weight).

“At Kellogg’s, we're always looking to innovate and deliver new experiences that our fans desire, and we know breakfast isn’t the only time people munch on cereal,”​ said Sarah Reinecke, senior director of Brand Marketing.

“Whether you’re a cereal-loving kid or just a kid at heart, Kellogg’s Cereal Bars offer a whole new way to enjoy Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes on the go, wherever your day takes you.”

Available at retailers across the US in six-, 18- and 36-count boxes.

Goes together like …

Lovingly Artisan Breakfast Bread Box

There’s nothing more iconic than the marriage of bread and jam, and North West-based Lovingly Artisan Bakery is banking on the concept to further propel its collaboration with artisan condiment maker Hawkshead Relish.

The duo has joined forces to bring their artisan-made multi-award-winning produce together to create the ultimate breakfast box pairing, available for delivery to your doorstep.

The box contains a made-to-order Wholemeal & Scalded Bran sourdough loaf, a Spiced Apple sourdough loaf and a Five-Grain Rye sourdough loaf, accompanied with a pot of Hawkshead Relish’s handmade Raspberry & Vanilla jam.

Each sourdough loaf is specially made to order, so please allow 24 hours for fermentation before delivery.

“We established our online bakery shop in November, and it didn’t take long for our customers to ask if we might draw together some complimentary products. So, we decided to curate a selection of perfect breakfast breads to sit alongside one of the best jams made by fellow artisan producer Hawkshead Relish,”​ said Catherin Connor, co-owner of Lovingly Artisan Bakery.

“As we develop our bread box range further, we’ll add other condiments to the list so that even more of our customers can enjoy the perfect flavour combination of bread from the Lovingly Artisan Bakery and preserves from Hawkshead Relish.”

One’s not enough


Cookie dough brand Doughlicious has launched three ready-to-bake 100% natural and gluten-free treats in Wholefoods Market and Selfridges.

The trio of new products tap into current baking trends while giving a nod to indulgence and luxury for those looking for an easy baked treat that’s ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes.

Red Velvet & White Chocolate cookies are a luxurious treat, naturally-coloured using beetroot and boasting white chocolate pieces; Raspberry White Chocolate feature soft vanilla cookies with tart raspberry pieces and melting white chocolate; and Organic Oatmeal Cranberry combines fruity dried cranberries with walnut, pumpkin seeds, coconut and a hint of cinnamon.

“We wanted to create a new selection of products that tap into the desire for something really indulgent and luxurious, whilst still being all natural and gluten free,”​ said Kathryn Bricken, founder of Doughlicious.

Doughlicious produces a range of ready-to-bake cookie dough products that are perfectly portioned for easy baking. There are vegan, organic and gluten free options that are all made using the finest natural ingredients with nothing artificial added.

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