Most parents are concerned about what their children eat, and when it comes to snack time, moms and dads frequently shop for snack options that offer health benefits as well as good taste. Pure Organic, a snack brand owned by Kellogg that is best known for its fruit and nut bars, recently expanded its line of healthy snacks intended to appeal to kids as well as the adults that care for them.
Anna Brook Lowery, senior associate brand manager for innovation at Pure Organic, recently spoke with Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery about the company’s foray into crackers, as well as the brand’s adorable origin story.
Jenni Spinner: Please tell us a bit about the Pure Organic brand—how you started, products/categories you’ve introduced, and how the company has grown since debuting.
Anna Brook Lowery: When our founder Veronica’s daughter Anna was only six, she declared that she was going to be vegetarian. Fittingly, Veronica started creating healthy recipes with simple organic ingredients not only for Anna but for the whole family. This led to the creation of the Layered Fruit Bar. The brand has continued to grow since then, transforming childhood favorite snacks, like fruit snacks and cheese crackers, into snacks the whole family can enjoy without compromising on taste or nutrition.
JS: Could you please share the thinking behind branching out into savory snacks? Why crackers?
ABL: It’s all about offering more better-for-you choice to consumers who love old-school snacks. Like fruit snacks, snack crackers are nostalgic and now we’ve made them tastier and more nutritious than ever. By expanding our portfolio to include this brand-new product, Pure Organic’s NEW Baked Cheese & Veggie Crackers, we are giving people the better-for-your innovation they are craving: a classic childhood snack, but with a clean and creative twist.
Natural and organic all-family crackers were a clear opportunity for us, with many crackers on the market catering more specifically to only kids or only adults.
JS: Please tell us about the crackers, and the characteristics of the crackers you feel are most worth highlighting.
ABL: The new line of baked crackers is made with 100% real cheese and added veggies, so not only are they delicious, but they’re a convenient, healthy, and organic snack—with superior taste in every bite.
The crackers are launching with three fun flavors:
- Pure Organic Double Cheddar: Delicious, baked cheese crackers made with 100% real cheese, inside & out, and added veggies for great taste and nutrition. The crispy, flakey crunch delivers superior texture the whole family will love.
- Pure Organic Garden Ranch: Garden Ranch uses a colorful combination of eight flavorful spices, such as smoked paprika, parsley, oregano, dill, and chili pepper to provide a unique burst of flavor in every bite.
- Pure Organic Parmesan Garlic: Garlic and cheese crackers made with 100% real cheese and a crispy texture that will be the highlight of any snack time
In terms of what is most worth highlighting, three things:
- These super happy snacks have a little secret: hidden veggies. We created these new crackers, which are made with real cheese and added veggies, so the whole family can feel like they’re getting away with something tasty.
- We’re proud of this product because it redefines the snacking norm for kids and adults—they can snack with nostalgia, which is satisfying and fun, but also enjoy the crackers’ delicious taste, crisp texture, and better-for-you ingredients.
- Pure Organic is proud a partner of No Kid Hungry, and to help end childhood hunger, will donate 250,000 meals in 2023.
JS: Could you please share some of the research and planning your company conducted to ensure the baked crackers connected with consumers? What current and emerging consumer trends does this line aim for?
ABL: We did a lot of research to ensure the crackers connected with consumers. It always starts with looking at current and emerging trends and from there, we saw a clear opportunity for a Natural & Organic all-family cracker. We also tested flavor ideas with consumers, which showed they were looking for bold flavors like Parmesan Garlic, Garden Ranch, and Double Cheddar. Finally, we had consumers taste the food to make sure the flavors, size of the crackers, etc. hit the mark.
These new crackers were developed with three trends and their corresponding consumer needs in mind. First, we’re all about redefining childhood favorites. Consumers are paying homage to old-school snacks but also searching for quality ingredients and exceptional taste that the whole family can enjoy. And the nostalgia that you feel when eating these crackers is something we’re excited about since Mintel has reported that 73% of US consumers enjoy things that remind them of their past. It’s just another layer of happiness that these crackers bring to the table.
Second, following the pandemic, consumers are prioritizing their personal health and nutrition, and with that comes a new interest in the importance of vitamin D. More than 90% of Americans do not consume enough vitamin D. About six in 10 consumers (59%) report wanting to add more Vitamin D to their diet. These crackers are a good source of vitamin D at 10% daily value. The vitamin D in our crackers comes from white button mushrooms, which is a unique way to provide this nutrient of need while staying true to our Pure food values. We like to say they’re way too good to be this good. The crackers also contain carrot puree, which is the third ingredient on the list. Most crackers use veggie powders, so we’re proud of that as well.
Finally, we see a lot of parents eating their kids’ snacks, which is a behavior we’re tapping into as well. No need to separate the adult and kid snacks!
JS: Please tell us about the alignment with No Kid Hungry—how did you choose that group to join forces with, and what does your connection with the organization entail?
ABL: We have committed to donating 250,000 meals in 2023 to No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger. To learn more on how you can support, visit the QR code on our new crackers or head to nokidhungry.org.
Efforts such as this one are part of Kellogg’s Better Days Promise to create better days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. This includes nourishing 1 billion people with our foods and feeding 375 million people facing food insecurity. For more information, visit betterdays.kelloggcompany.com.
JS: How has consumer and retailer response been? I understand you’re in Kroger locations across the U.S.
ABL: We’ve gotten very positive response. Consumers really felt the flavors hit the mark in our research. Nostalgia is a huge trend. People love being able to enjoy familiar favorites with a better-for-you twist. As they’re only just hitting shelves, we look forward to continuing to hear from consumers who try them.
JS: Do you have any plans for the brand in the near or distant future?
ABL: Certainly—keep an eye out. At present, we’re excited about getting our snacks into the hands of more consumers.