Second Nature Brands taps 140 years of market-leading growth to drive BFY innovation

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Second Nature Brands taps 140 years of market-leading growth to drive BFY innovation

Related tags Kar's Nuts Second Nature Brands Second Nature Snacks Sanders Chocolates better for you

There is a new kid on the snacking block as three established brands – Kar’s Nuts, Second Nature Snacks and Sanders Chocolates – combine to become one platform company with a mission driven vision.

Under the umbrella of Second Nature Brands, the trio – which together, have more than 140 years of market-leading growth – are pushing to accelerate innovation to meet the ever-growing trend for permissible indulgence.

“The new platform better articulates who we are and allows us to use the Second Nature name to more clearly communicate with our partners, stakeholders and team members,”​ said Victor Mehren, CEO of Second Nature Brands.

“Any time things are easier to understand it builds momentum. The Second Nature name better represents what we are doing now.”

The focus is pinpointed on meeting the increasing demand for nutritionally conscious snacking and the company has ambitious plans to release more than 25 better-for-you products in 2021. Currently, Kar’s Nuts and Second Nature Snacks are two of the best-selling trail mix brands in the US, while Sanders Chocolates is one of the largest kettle-cooked, small-batch crafters of sea salt caramel treats. 

Among the new launches this year are Second Nature Smart Mixes, Sanders Organic Dairy-free Sea Salt Caramels and Sanders Sea Salt Caramel Thins. Kar’s Nuts will also introduce its new Kar’s Snack Max line, which the producer coins as ‘a savoury, flavour-forward better snack mix’.

The products will be released in partnership with retailers – falling back on the trio’s extensive distribution network across the US – as well as through the brands’ D2C (direct-to-consumer) ecommerce channels.

Be better at everything we do

According to Mehren, Second Nature Brands intends to plough more than 50% of its resources into innovation, new product development and production infrastructure.

“Even as we expect our core product lines to continue to grow, we are investing heavily in exciting new products and formulations, which we expect to account for a significant amount of revenues in the coming years.

“We always strive to be better at everything we do, from how we craft our products to thoughtfully sourcing our real ingredients.”

On its website, Second Nature Snacks prides itself on sourcing responsibly from suppliers that strictly:

  • Comply with the laws regarding child labour, slavery and human trafficking of the countries of manufacture or production
  • Support local farmers and their communities
  • Lower energy and water use and recycle material waste products
  • Adopt sustainable and renewable energy practices.

Innovation centre and leadership line up

Second Nature Brands has broken ground for a new Innovation Centre that houses a recipe development lab and consumer testing facility. The centre – located in Sanders Chocolates’ Michigan facility – will allow the new company to collaborate with customers to jointly conceive new products that will fulfil market needs.

The company’s leadership is made up industry-savvy leaders. Mehren brings almost two decades of industry experience to the helm, having worked at Mars Wrigley Confectionery for 17 years before joining Kar’s. His vision for Second Nature Brands is to find a balance between its legacy, scale and the need to be agile when it comes to innovation and acquisitions.

The greater Detroit-headquartered company – which has a 350+ workforce and operates two production facilities in the region – has also appointed Edmond Sanctis as chairman of the Board of Directors.

Sanctis brings more than 20 years of experience in high-growth businesses, having co-founded Sahale Snacks Inc, which topped $50m in net sales for the 2014 calendar year before being snapped up by The J.M. Smucker Company.

“We see tremendous opportunity to expand the Second Nature Brand’s platform and accelerate the growth of our brands,”​ said Sanctis, who is a partner at Reason Venture Partners.

“This company is perfectly positioned at the intersection of snacks and treats, a fast-growing market segment that increasingly reflects the nutritional and lifestyle choices of today's consumers.”

It has also enlisted Keira Krausz to its Board of Director to elevate its digital growth initiatives and push demand for its products online. Krausz is currently chief marketing officer of HPOne and previously CMO and EVP of Nutrisystem, Inc.

“We’re taking brands that have been around for 100 years and leveraging the benefits of a high scale business with deep supply chain and operations excellence and balancing it with a front-end that is more like an emerging brand,”​ said Mehren.

“We think that makes us different in the marketplace.”

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