NPD 2021: Gearing up for Halloween with DIY dessert kits, but also keeping it allergen-friendly and HFSS-compliant

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Getting ready for the spookiest time of the year. Pic: GettyImages/fotostorm
Getting ready for the spookiest time of the year. Pic: GettyImages/fotostorm

Related tags HFSS Pringles Halloween Oktoberfest vegan allergens Gluten-free

Pringles, Cheryl’s Cookies, Harry & David, The Popcorn Factory and Wolferman’s Bakery gear up for the spookiest time of the year, We Love Purely plantain chips makes a noise about its HFSS-compliant status and Wholey Moly’s adds another new low-sugar variant to its range of healthier living biscuits.

Blazing the HFSS-compliant trail

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Two progressive UK snack producers have been given the green light by Sainsbury’s to blaze the trail on the UK’s better-for-you snacking scene. Making sure that all-natural, nutritious snacking doesn’t short-change on taste, the retail giant has welcomed onto its shelves Wholey Moly cookies and      We Love Purely plantain chips.

The vegan chips are HFSS-compliant, gluten-free and made from sustainably-sourced plantain, packing in 30% lower fat than traditional potato chips. Likewise, Wholey Moly’s offering is also vegan-friendly, gluten- and dairy-free and sports 50% less sugar than traditional biscuits.

“As vocal champions of the nation’s most loved and enduring comfort food, we’re proud of our contribution to the fact that healthier living biscuits now account for 26% of all UK biscuits sold,” ​said Meenesh Mistry, founder of Wholey Moly.

“We refute that a resolute commitment to healthier-living biscuits should ever mean dumbing down our commitment to amazing flavours and best-in-class ingredients. That’s not to say we will ever become idle in our fantastical flavour commitments.”

Wholey Moly recently expanded its portfolio of ‘less crumbly, more soft-centred cookies’ with a Pistachio & Lemon variant (RRP of £1.50 per 38g pack).

We Love Purely founder Stef Pellegrino added, “Snacking is an integral element of the UK foodscape, so the question was never one of dampening UK snacking appreciation but combining the very best World Cuisine/healthier eating principle domestically adored flavour profiles.

“We’re naturally proud of our pledges to no palm oil, lower fat/higher fibre compositions, however it’s our HFSS compliance and far-reaching commitments to Caring Capitalism that puts us at the very vanguard of responsible snacking.”

We Love Purely’s Wild Garlic & Sea Salt is rolling out in Sainsbury’s for an RRP of £2 per 75g sharing bag. The startup is a supporter of  Casa Hogar de Balen, an Ecuadorian NGO that provides shelter, food and hope to children who are victims of the region’s food poverty.

Scream (& Onion) in the dark

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Pringles is getting into the spirit to celebrate everyone’s favourite spooky holiday with limited edition Glow-in-the-Dark cans.

Pringles Sour Scream & Onion and Oooriginal Glow-in-the-Dark cans are packed with the globally-popular snack from Kellogg’s, but doubles down as the ultimate spooky talking point this Halloween: shining a little ‘light’-heartedness on family celebrations. This is Pringles’ first-ever glow-in-the-dark packaging and is aimed at breaking through the candy-dominated Halloween market with a salty offering.

“We’re thrilled to give the classic taste of Pringles crisps a fun seasonal spin and bring some unnecessary genius to Halloween with our new Glow-in-the-Dark cans,”​ said Gareth Maguire, senior director of marketing for Pringles.

“This spooky take on our fan-favourite Sour Cream & Onion and Original flavours is a great way to give our fans something to get excited for this Halloween season.”

The limited edition cans are available across the US while supplies last.

Bread for all seasons

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We head behind the scenes at Mediterranean foods supplier Dina Foods to find out more about its Lebanese-style Paninette flatbread.

Based on Khobez bread, the Paninette is a two-layer flatbread made from a blend of French flours (milled in the French style) and baked in a traditional stone oven. This gives the bread a light and delicate texture and a soft, flexible bread, presented in a disc shape. 

For Wilda Haddad, assistant GM of Dina Foods, it brings back warm memories.

“I remember my mother giving me the bread as a wrap with hummus or traditional strained yoghurt (labneh) as a young child or with some cheeky chocolate spread. Later in life having the bread as a cheese toastie with a cup of tea on cold wintry nights always provided the right level of comfort and satisfaction,” ​said Haddad.

“Khobez would feature almost at every meal, sometimes we would have it as a breakfast sandwich, a lunchtime wrap with our favourite filling and at dinner.

“We have such fond memories of the shawarma skewers being set up for the larger family get-togethers with the Lebanese wraps of shawarma being freshly made for guests to be devoured. However, what remains an absolute favourite way to eat khobez is on the BBQ, when my father would make his famous ‘Arayes’, which comprised of the kafta meat (minced lamb, parsley, onion and spices kneaded together), which is spread thinly inside the khobez and then put over the BBQ until the meat is cooked and the bread is beautifully crisp.”

Dina Food’s Paninette is free from artificial colours and flavours and can be eaten as a sweet or savoury option. It is sold in retail in packs of five, in wholemeal and white variants, and is also available in 8”, 10” and 12” sizes for the foodservice market.

“Our social media followers post all sorts of amazing creations with it. Paninette is also popular with slimmer’s, too, as it can be used as a less calorific base for a meal,” ​added Haddad.

Proper pies

Holland's Pork Pie Cut Out Slice with Pickle on Marble (002)

Holland’s Pies is marking its 170th​ anniversary with a ubiquitous British favourite, the Pork Pie.

Available in selected Farmfoods stores, the pies come frozen in packs of four. It is made from seasoned British Pork encased in Holland’s signature pastry, and can be baked in the oven in under 30 minutes.

The recipe also contains no preservatives, MSG, artificial colours, flavours, or added hydrogenated fats.

“In the chilled retail market, Pork Pies are worth £228 million [according to Kantar Woldpanel Online data for the 52 weeks to 8 August 2021] and yet they’re barely represented in the frozen pie sector, therefore showing a real opportunity for Holland’s to close the gap with a proper tasty pie of their own,”​ said Leanne Holcroft, brand manager for Holland’s Pies.

“Consumers adore the great taste of Holland’s Pies, and after receiving positive feedback in taste tests, our frozen Pork Pies make an excellent choice for shoppers all year round, whether it’s for packed lunches, dinners, snacks or parties.”

Holland’s started life as a baker’s shop in Lancashire in the UK in 1851. For over 170 years, its range of ‘proper pies’ have been baked to a secret recipe, passed down from generation to generation. Today, the company prepares and bakes over 1.2 million pies weekly. The producer has even been called upon to create unique Holland’s Pies wedding cakes! 

Holland’s Pork Pies have an RRP of £2.99 per pack.

A gathering of spooky friends


1-800-FLOWERS.COM has unleashed some deliciously daring ways to get into the spirit.

Whether trick-or-treating with the munchkins or hosting a spellbinding bash at home, the online site has gathered together its most revered friends to get you set up for an outrageously bedazzled  event.

Cheryl’s Cookies, Harry & David, The Popcorn Factory and Wolferman’s Bakery have pulled out all the stops to bewitch with Halloween treats for those who want to conjure up some magic themselves with do-it-yourself dessert charcuterie boards, popcorn ball and cookie decorating kits.

Cheryl’s Cookies Halloween Dessert Charcuterie Board has an RRP of $49.99 and comprises Butter Shortbread Cookies, Buttercream Frosted Cut-Out Cookies, Fudge Buttercream Frosted Peanut Butter Candy Cookies, Buttercream Frosted S’more Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Bark with Candy Pieces, Jelly Pumpkins and Pumpkin Spice Pretzels.

The Popcorn Factory’s Halloween Popcorn Ball Decorating Kit ($39.99) comes with Jack-O-Lantern Popcorn Balls, White Candy Writer Tubes, Tootie Rolls, Candy Eyes, Migees, Candy Corn, Licorice Bridge Mix, Mini Graham Crackers and Smarties.

Making a shout about it

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Free from specialist Bells of Lazonby is debuting its Espresso Tiffin flavour from its vegan brand Bells & Whistles exclusively in Sainsbury’s.

A layered blend of nuts, coffee and rich chocolate, the vegan slices punch well above their weight, using only the best ingredients for maximum taste. Available in a pack of two, the tiffin is gluten-, wheat- and milk-free and are a healthier treat alternative at just 120 calories per slice.

It is fantastic to see Espresso Tiffin added to our portfolio instore with Sainsbury’s. The new flavour is delicious and perfect for shoppers looking for on-the-go, free-from snacks,”​ said Josh Boydell-Smith, head of brand and marketing from Bells & Whistles.

“With the trend around veganism and the rise of flexitarians going nowhere among millennials, we know shoppers are looking for ways to make their diet more plant-based. Bells & Whistles provides a treat alternative without the guilt of breaking from a vegan diet.”

“Free-from bakery can often feel quite stuffy, we believe our brand really re-energises the category by tapping into quality ingredients, thinking outside of the box in terms of flavour and offering something a bit more out of the ordinary – permissively indulgent snack.”

⁠The Espresso Tiffin flavour joins Bells & Whistles’ Ginger & Apricot and Berry & Cashew variants in 400 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK, for an RRP of £1.25.

Bells & Whistles is registered with Coeliac UK and Vegan society and declared as suitable for those with coeliac disease.

A cookie a day keeps the doctor away

Partake 2

Partake Foods, the Black-owned and female-founded food brand backed by Rihanna and Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, has launched a gluten-free, vegan and allergen-friendly pizza crust that you can make at home.

The brand’s first savoury offering, the Pizza Crust baking mix is easy and versatile and can be moulded into a homemade pizzas, or even breadsticks or calzones that everyone can enjoy.

“I’m excited to introduce our newest baking mix -- Pizza Crust. Providing allergy-friendly and delicious foods made with high-quality ingredients that those with and without food restrictions can enjoy and share has been the goal since day one. Pizza Crust is Partake’s first savoury option, and it’s so easy to prepare,”​ said Partake’s founder and CEO Denise Woodard.

Partake is also celebrating its fifth anniversary by giving away 10,000 boxes of cookies. The first 10,000 people to sign up on its website will receive a full-size box of cookies, while supplies last. With thousands of five-star reviews, these delicious treats combine fresh-baked nostalgia with next-level flavour profiles, from Chocolate Chip to Birthday Cake and Ginger Snap.

Partake products can be found in more than 7,000 stores across the US, including Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, Whole Foods, and Target. The Pizza Crust mix has an RRP of $23.99 per 3-pack.

In support of UK’s pubs


KP Snacks is again stepping up its feel-good factor with the rollout of special edition packs of Tyrrells crisps to celebrate its second-annual campaign to support the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) to provide post-pandemic support across the industry, from financial to mental health.

From September to November, two million packs of specially marked packs of its most popular flavours – Lightly Sea Salted, Mature Cheddar & Chive and Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar – as well as a new variant – British Beef & Ale – will roll out across the UK. From the sales generated, Tyrrells will donate £50,000 to the LTC.

“We are incredibly proud to be supporting the LTC for a second year. As a brand, we are committed to supporting further recovery of pubs and bars after such difficult times,”​ said Beth Minch, marketing manager at Tyrrells.

Tarting up for The Rock

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The Maui Cookie Lady is releasing its Black Forest variant (aka the Oktoberfest Cookie) in time for that annual German celebration.

The velvet cocoa cookies are made from premium dark chocolate 64% couverture, infused with a black cherry emulsion featuring tart cherries soaked in a Smith Woodhouse 10 Year Old matured Tawny Port. The delectable – cannot-just-stop-at-one – treats also sing with notes of orange and cinnamon.

It’s no wonder The Maui Cookie Lady is loved by the likes of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Ludacris, among other celebs.

The Oktoberfest Cookie has an RRP of $6.75 for a 6oz cookie and is available online.

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