Jackson’s (formerly Jackson’s Honest) produces a line of sweet potato chips positioned in the better-for-you space. The snacks are non-GMO, vegan, cooked in coconut and avocado oils, and all varieties are free from artificial flavors and ingredients. To learn more about Jackson’s line of better-for-you chips, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery spoke with Stephanie Wysocki, director of marketing for the company.
Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us about Jackson’s—who you are, what your products are, and what sets the company apart?
Stephanie Wysocki: At Jackson’s, we offer tasty kettle-cooked sweet potato chips made with premium avocado or coconut oils and without the use of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Currently, our chips are available in six different flavors (with more to come on the horizon, hint hint), including combos made from chef-inspired seasoning like our newest release Farmhouse Ranch (avocado oil) that explodes with the classic creamy tang, our fresh take on Spicy Salsa Verde (avocado oil), and our humble and hearty staples like Sea Salt (available in both avocado oil or coconut oil) and Unsalted (coconut oil) for those hoping to lower their sodium intake. All of our products are non-GMO and free from cheap refined oils, gluten, peanuts, and artificial flavors and ingredients.
While the tastiness of our products—and our purposeful ingredients—speak for themselves, what really sets our brand apart is our founding story. Jackson’s was initially developed by parents, Scott and Megan Reamer (who are still leading the brand today), who were on a mission to create a snack that their whole family could love, including their son who had an auto-immune disorder. This inspired them to experiment in the kitchen, trying and testing different potato chip combinations until they landed on the perfect ingredients—sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and sea salt. The final chips were a hit with the family, and they knew it was time to share their creations with others, eventually landing them on Shark Tank where they scored a deal with guest shark Rohan Oza.
Since then, the brand has grown exponentially, starting as Jackson’s Honest in 2012 and rebranding to Jackson’s in 2021, with a presence in over 5k retailers across the nation including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Kroger, and more. Megan and Scott continue to advocate for the use of premium oils and better ingredients to this day.
We continue to experiment and innovate with the brand and expect to launch more unique flavor combinations in the year to come.
JS: Please share your thoughts on the use of oils in snacks like potato chips (standard and sweet potato), and how the use of premium oils like avocado and coconut has evolved.
SW: Oils and fats don’t have to be the enemy; in fact, certain types of fat were necessary for the Reamers to include in their son’s low-inflammation diet to help ease his symptoms. The issue is that PUFAs (including vegetable and seed oils) are used in the majority of potato chip products, and those oils are pro-inflammatory and prone to unhealthy oxidation, something the Reamers definitely couldn’t feed their son, but also didn’t want to consume on their end. Ultimately, the goal with Jackson’s is to really empower consumers to step outside the box and choose premium oils over refined vegetable and seed oils, while also giving consumers more choices in the snack aisle when it comes to ingredients, flavors, and textures.
When we started, no one was making sweet potato chips in avocado or coconut oils or products using innovative low-inflammation principles. The industry has certainly grown with many new players and products, which is so great to see, and we’re continuing to evolve how we use the oils ourselves, experimenting with different potato varieties and more. One of the benefits of our products is that we fry up the sweet potato slices low and slow in the oils, which allows the potatoes to maintain their nutritional density and texture. It’s pretty cool.
JS: Could you please share some details about how your chips stand out, and how they balance consumers’ interests in eating healthy vs indulging in tasty treats?
SW: Flavor and ingredients are our big differentiators. We use only the best heirloom non-GMO sweet potatoes sourced directly from farmers that are full of flavor, high in fiber, and loaded with antioxidants. From there, we cook them low and slow in those premium oils to create crunchy, curvy chips tossed with chef-inspired seasonings (depending on the variety). It’s really a flavor explosion in your mouth! Of course, these are still fried potato chips, but given they’re full of all the good stuff, and are super friendly to just about any diet out there—keto, paleo, vegan, free of the top nine allergens including wheat and sesame, etc.—they’re a potato chip choice consumers can feel good about when inundated with options at the store.
JS: Please tell us about the flavors, and what makes them particularly appealing to modern consumers.
SW: We’re constantly playing with flavor profiles and are proud to offer a range of flavors to meet two unique snacker audiences: those who are seeking simple ingredient lists, and those who are looking for epic flavors.
Our Avocado Oil Sea Salt and Coconut Oil Sea Salt chips are perfect for those seeking that minimalist three-ingredient list of just sweet potato, premium oil, and sea salt. On the flip side, our Avocado Oil Spicy Salsa Verde and Avocado Oil Carolina BBQ are perfect for those adventurous eaters looking for layered and complex flavors that marry savory and sweet potatoes with flavorful oils and chef-inspired seasonings.
Over the years, we’ve seen how consumers continue to have an interest in global and unique flavor experiences, and our products give them just that, while also offering the more nostalgic varieties like our Coconut Oil Unsalted and Coconut Oil Sea Salt flavors for a throwback to your childhood potato chip, with a sweet potato twist.
JS: Do you have any plans for future new products, further expansion, or any other upcoming news you’d like to share?
SW: There’s quite a bit in the works in our kitchens and facilities for 2023. In just a few weeks we’ll debut a Farmhouse Ranch variety at Expo West (more details to come). We’ll also be debuting a Habanero Nacho chip later this year, giving consumers another spicy Jackson’s offering in a playful take on the classic cheesy snack. In addition to new flavors and textures, we continue to launch multipack offerings for those seeking individual pouches, different portion sizes and price point options, and multiple flavor varieties—trends we see continuing after the pandemic. Keep an eye out for more news to come this year.
JS: Did you have anything to add?
SW: That pretty much covers it—new flavor debuts, exploring chip textures, introducing new sizing and packaging options. 2023 will be a busy and exciting year of change for us at Jackson’s!
Related: Jackson's Chips releases better-for-you sweet potato chip varieties