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Children’s snacks are ‘complete white space’ for paleo products, says exec from The New Primal

By Elizabeth Crawford

07-Jul-2016
Last updated on 07-Jul-2016 at 14:07 GMT2016-07-07T14:07:13Z

Source: E. Crawford
Source: E. Crawford

As the primal or paleo trend continues to mature, subscribers are no longer restricted to fitness enthusiasts and CrossFitters who served as ground-zero for the diet, according to Jason Burke, co-owner and founder of meat snack company The New Primal. 

Now Millennials from all walks of life are embracing the diet as a clean way of eating and are bringing into the fold their children, who view it as a normal instead of as a special or restrictive lifestyle choice, he explained at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City in late July.

As a result, he said, the diet will continue to grow far into the future as will a need for increasingly specialized products that meet the diet’s requirements and those of different sub-populations – in particular children.

“Parents who subscribe to this type of eating struggle with what to give their kids because kids snack more today than ever … but if you go in the kids snack aisle there are cheese crackers and fruit snacks and fruit pouches and a ton of carbohydrates, and nothing for protein,” which is a key element of the primal diet, Burke said, adding this aisle “is complete white space and a massive opportunity.”

To seize this opportunity and help meet parents’ needs, The New Primal launched at the Summer Fancy Food Show Snack Mates, which are 0.5 ounce premium turkey or beef sticks that come in five-packs that allow parents to pack one each day of the week in children’s school lunches.

“This is the new string cheese,” and its smaller size means it fits in lunch boxes and gives children six or seven grams of protein per serving without too many calories for smaller bodies, Burke said.

The sticks also come in “very cute packaging” with cartoon turkeys and cows “that we hope kids love,” he added.

Response to the launch at the show was “overwhelmingly positive” and not just from buyers for the children’s snack aisle, but also from airlines interested in including it in snack packs available on flights and from club stores angling for a larger pack size, Burke said.

The company hopes to expand the Snack Mates line soon with additional flavors, including Beef and Cherry beef sticks, Turkey and Cranberry sticks and Chicken Maple sticks.

Meat sticks offer trial opportunity

The smaller sticks are a consumer-advocated line extension from the company’s larger 1-ounce sticks that come in Classic Grass-Fed Beef, Spicy Grass-Fed Beef and Classic Free-Range Turkey.

The sticks launched in the fourth quarter of last year as way to give people access to a high quality protein at a lower price point of $1.99 than the company’s original line of premium jerky that sells for $6.99.

“These are an easy trial item. They are a super clean version of a Slim Jim that, just like the jerky, is free of the top eight allergens and made with free-range turkey, grass-fed beef, gluten-free and have high integrity,” but in a grab-and-go, impulse format and price, Burke said.

Source: E. Crawford

“They have grown way faster than we expected. We outsold our first quarter forecast by 1,500%,” and received “a bunch of emails and feedback” from consumers who said they loved the product.

To build on this momentum, the company also announced at the show the upcoming launch of four new meat stick flavors that will roll out in the next two months.

The new flavors include Cilantro Lime turkey, Habanero Pineapple, Uncured Bacon and Barbecue pork.

Marinades offer home cooks versatility

The young company also is exploring the idea of expanding beyond meat snacks to include a line of bottled marinades.

Source: E. Crawford

Burke explained that the company brought prototypes of the marinades to the Summer Fancy Food Show to gauge consumer interest, which was so positive that he said he is 95% sure the line will launch.

The marinades are the same formula that the company uses to make its jerky, minus the honey, which helps set the condiment apart from the competition because it has no added sugar, Burke said.

Fundraising for the future

Looking forward Burke says he is excited about the future of The New Primal, which currently is going through its second fundraising round that is led by the same investors from the company’s first round.

Burke also noted that he is open to an acquisition in the future, but doesn’t think the company is quite there yet. And even if that happens, he doesn’t see himself leaving the food and beverage space.

“I love this space and I think I will always be in it, whether I run The New Primal forever or some big company wants to write us a check,” he said, adding, “I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.”

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