Large containers of premium health ingredients can be cost-prohibitive to first-time users who might not know how to use the product, let alone if they will like it, says Debbie Shandel, executive vice president of Carrington Farms, a manufacturer of health foods.
Even if consumers know how to use and like an ingredient, large containers can be off-putting because consumers usually struggle to use the full amount before it expires, Shandel added.
That is why Carrington Farms focuses on making available single-serve, ready-to-eat packages of trendy and time-tested superfoods and health ingredients, such as flax, chia and hemp, Shandel said.
“Most people live in a grab-and-go world, but still want to be healthy and have good food that is not crazy expensive … and is easy to eat,” she explained.
The firm’s Flax Paks meet both these needs by providing the consumer with single-serve packages of organic, milled flax that is nitrogen flushed to keep the seeds fresh until the package is opened and consumed, Shandel said. She compares this format to the large bags of milled flax that can go rancid after they are opened, but before they are consumed.
At $6.99 for a 12 single-serve packages, the milled flax is more expensive than bulk at an average price per ounce, but is a lower overall price point that is more accessible to consumers who might not be familiar with the ingredient or how to use it.
Based on the success of the Flax Paks, Carrington Farms earlier this year launched Flax Hemp Paks, which blend flax with another emerging superfood in single, ready-to-eat packages, Shandel said.
She touts hemp as “a perfect vegan protein” that also is high in omega-3 and -6.
She acknowledges that hemp has an added hurdle that small packages will not help it overcome: consumer confusion about the relationship between hemp seeds and marijuana. Shandel said consumer education about the difference between the products is essential, but she admits that she doesn’t have a clear plan for explaining to the masses that hemp will not causes drug-like effects.
Carrington Farms also sells Flax Chia Paks, which like the other packs do not need to be refrigerated to stay fresh, which means that they can be tossed in purses, lunchboxes and suitcases.
Liquid and spray coconut oil
Carrington Farms took a similar approach to trendy, but difficult to manage, coconut oil by launching what it says is the “first of its kind” liquid version of the product.
Because coconut oil has a higher heat point than many other common oils, it is solid at room temperature and can be difficult to measure. Carrington Farms eliminated this hassle by distilling the coconut oil to take out the long-chain fatty acids and increase the medium chain fatty acids so that the oil flows like liquid, Shandel explained.
The company further added value to the oil by adding flavors, including rosemary and garlic and most recently sriracha.
The firm also added convenience by launching a coconut oil cooking spray and individual sachets, which Shandel says are good for personal care when traveling.
Reflecting on her full portfolio, Shandel said: “We want to give healthy ingredients new life by giving them new uses” that will make them more consumer-friendly.
She added the firm will continue to create new on-the-go and single-serve products, potentially including ancient grains or other high value ingredients that are not as popular as they could be if they were in an easier to use format.