Japan-based snack producer Calbee has had its finger on the pulse of better-for-you snacking trends for several decades. The company launched in 1949 and expanded to North America in 1970, with its Saya pea snacks and Shrimp Chips. In 1999 Calbee introduced Snapea Crisps, later rebranded to Harvest Snaps.

“A pioneer in the plant-based snacking category, Calbee always made these baked snacks with real veggies as the #1 ingredient,” says Sandra Payer, head of marketing at Calbee America (Fairfield, CA). “The brand continues to innovate with its launch of certified organic, Artisan Sea Salt pea snacks, Crunchy Loops red-lentil rings, and a Mixed Snack Pack featuring a selection of single-serve bags. New packaging design is bringing a modern and fresh feel to the flagship line.”

Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery spoke with Payer to learn more about the category and expansion of the Harvest Snaps line.

Jenni Spinner: Tell us about Harvest Snaps and how this brand has connected with health-conscious consumers.

Sandra Payer: At Harvest Snaps, we believe in snacking without compromise, and our mission is to provide consumers with tasty snacks they can feel good about enjoying. The first ingredient in Harvest Snaps is always farm-picked green peas, red lentils, or black beans, not starchy potatoes or corn. The baked, minimally processed snacks provide plant protein and fiber in every serving, contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, and are free of many common allergens.

JS: You’ve mentioned the rebranding of some of your flagship products. Could you please talk about the thinking behind the rebranding, and what that entails?

SP: We redesigned Harvest Snaps’ packaging to bring a fresh energy and modern identity to the brand. The bags now feature colorful designs, a prominent logo, and a tasty image of the crunchy snacks to boost findability on the shelf. By responding to category insights, simplifying our messaging, and focusing on distinctive brand assets, we aimed to further build household penetration, while unifying sub-brands like our Crunchy Loops and upcoming innovations.

JS: Please share your perspectives about the recent changes in better-for-you snacking trends (including pulse-based products), and how Calbee is working to keep consumers interested in such trends satisfied.

SP: Within the better-for-you snack category, plant-based and grain-free options that deliver nutrition and don’t sacrifice great taste continue to be popular among consumers. Pulse-based snacks like Harvest Snaps Baked Veggie Snacks meet these needs of today’s health-conscious shoppers.

JS: What can you tell us about other new products your company has in the works?

SP: Our newest launch is Harvest Snaps’ Selects, a lineup of tasty, plant-based snacks made from farm-picked navy beans as the #1 ingredient. Baked to an epic crunch in a unique shell shape that holds maximum dip per chip, the lineup was designed for the snack aisle and comes in three flavorful varieties: Loaded Taco (a combo of zesty spices, cheddar cheese, and sour cream), White Cheddar Jalapeno (creamy cheese with a spicy pop), and Honey Dijon (smooth, sweet, and tangy). Packed with protein and delivering fiber in every bite, the tasty snacks are also gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly, contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, and free of the allergens wheat, soy, nuts, peanuts, and eggs. The lineup is currently sold at Sprouts and will soon be available for other retailers nationwide.