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Munk Pack unveils a new food category: Oatmeal fruit squeeze

By Elaine Watson+

03-Sep-2015
Last updated on 03-Sep-2015 at 17:06 GMT2015-09-03T17:06:19Z

Munk Pack co-founders: “We thought that there would be a lot of resistance, but we hit the market at exactly the right time.
Munk Pack co-founders: “We thought that there would be a lot of resistance, but we hit the market at exactly the right time."

Not so long ago, pouches were just for babies. Today, they’re fast-becoming the go-to format for companies looking to stand out from the crowd in healthy snacks, say the founders of Munk Pack, who have combined fruit with gluten-free wholegrain oatmeal, flax and quinoa to make a industry first.

The brainchild of Connecticut–based entrepreneurs Tobias and Michelle Glienke, Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze snacks contain 90-110 calories and 3-4g of fiber per 120g serving (MSRP $2.49) and come in three flavor variants: Apple quinoa cinnamon, Blueberry acai flax and Raspberry coconut, and are free from artificial flavors and added sugars.

We thought that there would be a lot of resistance, but we hit the market at exactly the right time

But will they catch on, and do consumers like cold oatmeal – even if it has a fruity backdrop?

"At first," says Michelle, “We weren’t sure how people would react to the textures, or eating oatmeal at room temperature, but we test marketed them at the farmer’s market before we went into commercial scale production [in Canada] and got really positive feedback. We also found that people that weren’t big fans of [hot] oatmeal liked them as they liked the vibrant taste of the fruit.”

Retail buyers, meanwhile, have also proved refreshingly open to the concept, says Michelle, with the packs first hitting shelves last fall, and rolling out to some major accounts in the first and second quarter of 2015.

Munk Pack co-founders Tobias and Michelle Glienke

“We thought that there would be a lot of resistance, but we hit the market at exactly the right time. They saw that it wasn’t another fruit sauce, and some of them have positioned Munk Packs next to cereal bars or in the grab and go section, and they are doing really well.

“We’re in three different Whole Foods regions, but we’re also in Wegmans, Kings, Shaw’s Star Market EarthFare, Natural Grocers, Balducci’s and others [Amazon and Abe’s Market].”

Given that they are selling a new food concept, as well as a new product, instore demos have been a key part of the marketing strategy, she says: “If people taste it, they buy it, but we need to get them to try it.”

A lot of people say they eat them on their way to work in the morning

But who is buying them, and how and when are Munk Packs being consumed?

“It’s interesting to read the comments on Amazon,” says Michelle, who has a background in law while Tobias has a background in finance.

A lot of people say they eat them on their way to work in the morning, whereas other people – especially runners and hikers, are taking them as a snack for the great outdoors.”

While it’s still early days, Tobias says he is confident they have hit upon something big: “We want to be a national brand within three years, no question. If you have a successful new concept you want to maintain that first mover advantage.”

Bang on trend?

While the oatmeal and fruit combination in a pouch is new, several brands have recently moved into the adult fruit pouch market, from Fruigees and Shine Organics  to Mamma Chia , while several firms are combining oats and fruit in dairy products from Chobani Oats  to Zen Monkey  and Yoatz .

Read more about the burgeoning adult-squeezy pouch market here:

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