“When we told retailers that we were introducing a new product line, they said, whatever you do, don’t introduce baking mixes because it is a flat category,” said Joel Warady, chief sales and marketing officer at Enjoy Life. But, he added, “when we polled our consumers, out of the 40 categories that we listed as potential new categories, the No. 1 category our consumers asked for was baking mixes.”
There was a catch though, he said. “They wanted functionality.”
Enjoy Life rose to the challenge, creating a line of five mixes that cover all day parts and are free from the top eight food allergies, gluten and GMOs. They also are Kosher and Halal certified and packed with on-trend ingredients that consumers want, including sprouted and ancient grains, 5 grams of protein and enough probiotics per serving to equal that of 10 cups of yogurt, Warady said.
“When we launched, we wanted to come out with a line of products that was functional as well as tasting great and that met all the needs of people with food allergies who were cooking at home,” Warady said.
He acknowledged “there are a lot of gluten free baking mixes out in the marketplace and a few allergy-friendly baking mixes, but we didn’t want to be me-too. So, by adding shelf stable probiotics and adding additional plant based protein we feel like we are really able to provide functionality for people who are looking to eat clean, but still eat better.”
Packed with protein
The protein in the mixes comes from a combination of teff, an increasingly popular grain, other ancient grains and algal, Warady said.
“Teff is a high protein ancient grain that not a lot of people in the US know about, but it is also gluten-free, which is great. The biggest issue with teff is supply chain, so we locked our supply in to make sure as our baking mix grows, that we have enough of it,” Warady said.
“We also are one of the first baking mixes to use algal protein,” which is exciting, he added.
He explained the company chose algal because it knew it wanted an extra boost of plant protein but that pea and brown rice proteins were not viable options.
“Many people who have peanut allergies are afraid of pea protein” and as an allergy free brand “we just wanted to keep consumers happy,” he said.
Likewise, brown rice protein was not ideal for the company because many people are concerned about the arsenic levels in rice, he added.
The addition of algal fit the bill and did not impact the taste of the mixes, as some people feared. The only drawback is “some consumers with shellfish allergies do not understand that algae is not a fish, but a plant that grows in the ocean” and is safe to eat, Warady said.
Probiotics for added benefits
The firm also added GanedenBC30 probiotics to the mixes to make immunity health claims, which resonate well with consumers around the holidays when the baking mixes are used often, Warady said.
“We wanted 500 million CFUs of probiotics after the products were baked,” so the company added enough probiotics to the mix that a sufficient supply would survive the temperature of the oven, he explained.
Advertising to clean eaters
Enjoy Life is supporting the new line, which will store shelves this month, along with its other products by partnering with Prevention.com to promote clean eating through grassroots, digital and traditional marketing components.
The campaign is helping Enjoy Life expand its reach beyond consumers with allergies and celiac disease to those who are choosing to remove soy or dairy from their diets “not because they have to, but because they choose to,” Warady said.
“Traditionally, we have not targeted these consumers, but we are starting to build that and the Eat Clean campaign with Prevention really helps us go after that consumer,” he added.
Warady reflected that clean eating is not a fad, but rather is a shift in how people eat that is similar to the shift from canned vegetables to fresh and frozen. This is a change he does not think is going away.
With that in mind, he said, Enjoy Life will continue to market healthier snacks that appeal to consumers not just because they have clean, allergy-friendly ingredient decks, but because they taste good, too.