While many consumers are trying to reduce their sugar intake, they are still hungry for sweet snack and bakery treats. What’s more, they are as keen for variety in their low-sugar and low-carb goodies as they are in other snacking categories.
Simply Good Foods offers a range of sweet treats, as well as savory snacks, under its Quest and Atkins labels. To learn more about the company’s innovations in the low-carb snacking space, and to hear insights about consumer trends, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery spoke with Linda Zink, chief marketing officer at Simply Good Foods.
Jenni Spinner: Could you please talk about the evolution of consumer interest in low-carb eating, especially snacks? Considering the longevity of the Atkins company and brand, you have a unique perspective of the timeline.
Linda Zink: When it comes to their nutrition and eating, consumers increasingly look for science-based approaches, as well as food that tastes great and provides optimal nutrition. There continues to be interest in consumers watching how much sugar and carbs they consume—whether they’re managing an illness, looking to lose weight or simply feeling better in their body.
Across both Atkins and Quest brands we offer a variety of snacks that prioritize great taste, while keeping to a macronutrient profile that emphasizes protein while being lower in sugar and carbs. We fulfill all the cravings, from salty to sweet, while exploring new textures and formats to keep variety and options for everyone.
JS: How have the Quest and Atkins teams stayed on top of snacking trends in the low-carb/keto space? Please share how you check in with consumers to determine their interests and behaviors, and even test out products to see if they’re in line.
LZ: At Simply Good Foods, we stay close to our consumers. We do a lot of research, speaking with consumers to understand their wants and needs—what products, flavor profiles, formats, and textures they are looking for. For example, on both Atkins and Quest we have a robust salty snack portfolio with Protein Chips and our newly launched Quest Cheese Crackers, which are great choices to satisfy that crunchy, salty craving with something that isn’t loaded with carbs. On the Atkins side, there has been a renewed interest in our shakes line. To make sure consumers have enough variety and to keep them engaged with new flavors and profiles, we decided to introduce a new Root Beer Float Protein Shake.
JS: Please share some of the key milestones in the Quest and Atkins brands since they launched—are there any highlights you’d like to share among the product introductions over the years?
LZ: Over the years we have had a lot of big milestones for Atkins and Quest. Earlier this year, Quest expanded into the cracker category with new Quest Cheese Crackers, a protein-forward snack made with real cheese. To help launch the product we partnered with Steve Aoki, two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist, DJ, producer, and Dim Mak Records founder. Another new salty-oriented snack from Quest this year is Quest Hot & Spicy Protein Chips, a spicy, yet protein-packed chip with 19g of protein and 4g of net carbs per serving. On the Atkins side, some of our biggest milestones have been related to the work we’ve done with Rob Lowe, our brand spokesperson. Rob Lowe has been living the Atkins lifestyle for decades and has given his stamp of approval on many of our products, including the Atkins Endulge Peanut Butter Cups.
JS: You’ve released a whole host of new products in this space—bites, bars, shakes, and other treats. I was wondering if you could please describe the products in the snack/bakery and candy spaces—description, and how they’re on trend:
Quest Hot & Spicy Protein Chips
Packed with the perfect amount of heat to keep you coming back for more, these chips offer 19g of protein and 4g of net carbs per serving. Many chip consumers seek the heat but want to stay on track with their health goals. Quest noticed the want for a spicy, yet protein-packed chip and jumped on the opportunity to turn up the heat.
Quest Coconutty Caramel Bites/Quest Coconutty Caramel Bars
Quest Coconutty Candy Bites and Bars combine a creamy chocolaty coating with a tempting taste of a coconut flavored center and a caramel chew. Each bar is packed with 12g of protein, 1g of sugar, and 3g of net carbs. Each bite is packed with 5g of protein, less than 1g sugar, and 2g net carbs. These bars and bites are perfect for when someone is looking for a sweet treat but doesn’t want to indulge in a heavy dessert. The bites are great for packed lunches for back-to-school season!
Quest Dipped Cookies & Cream Protein Bar
A decadent take on a Quest favorite: Cookies & Cream Protein Bar, the new dipped version is packed with cookie pieces and white chocolate chunks, dipped in a white chocolatey coating and finished with a chocolate drizzle. This tasty bar packs 18g of protein, 3g of net carbs and 1g of sugar to fuel your day. Our consumers love the Dipped Protein Bars, so we decided to expand the line by popular demand! Consumers look for new textures and ways to enjoy their favorite flavor, which is why dipped bars are such a hit.
Atkins Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Snack Bar
This tasty bar gives you the boost you need between meals by bringing together the satisfying, savory crunch of pretzels and the decadent duo of chocolate and creamy caramel. The Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Snack Bar offers 8g of protein, 3g of net carbs and 9g of fiber. Our consumers are on-the-go and look for options that can fill them up between meals. The Atkins Snack Bars are a nice option to grab and go while shopping or driving the little ones around.
Atkins Crunchalicious Bar
Each mouth-watering Endulge Crunchalicious bar combines a light and airy crispiness with sweet and chocolatey decadence to satisfy your sweet tooth with 1g of sugar.
Atkins Endulge Almond Craze Bar
This sweet and crispy, keto-friendly bar combines the satisfying crunch and salty taste of almonds with sweet and chocolatey decadence. They’re a great treat to satisfy your sweet tooth with 1g of sugar per serving. We noticed that our consumers look for options that will satisfy their sweet tooth without compromising their health goals. The Atkins Endulge line offers an array of sweet treats.
JS: What’s next for Atkins and Quest—do you have any new products you’re launching, new categories you’re exploring, etc.?
LZ: Both brands just launched new and exciting products for the spring (mentioned above) and we have some great launches on the horizon coming later this year which I can’t comment on currently, but are very exciting.