Made out of its signature blend of virgin coconut oil, sunflower oil, and palm fruit oil, MELT Organic announced that it will unveil its new Buttery Sticks product at the Natural Expo West trade show in Anaheim, Calif., next month.
The company launched its first product in 2011, the Rich & Creamy MELT Organic Buttery Spread. Shortly after, it released its Honey MELT and Chocolate MELT varieties.
Born out of consumer surveys
The product was conceived based on feedback from the members of online community Moms Meet.
“In May and June 2015, Prosperity Foods/MELT Organic conducted a product concept test among 1,475 Moms, and a product sampling study among 375 Moms, for MELT Organic Buttery Sticks,” Meg Carlson, President and CEO of MELT Organic’s parent company Prosperity Organic Foods told FoodNavigator-USA.
“The research design is a two-phase study, including an initial concept test, from which respondents were recruited to participate in a follow-up, in-home sampling study,” she added.
Speaking numbers, Carlson said that “in general, ‘sticks’ are the clearly preferred form when baking (89% butter, 68% butter alternative), sautéing (76% butter, 52% butter alternative) and/or cooking in recipes (82% butter, 59% butter alternative). On the other hand, Moms express a stronger preference for a “spread” when using butter or butter alternatives as a “topping for toast/bread/crackers” (67% butter, 64% butter alternative).”
A list of certifications
The ingredients for MELT Organic’s signature blend come certified with certifications for environmental and social responsibilities – its virgin coconut oil is Fair for Life fair trade, and its palm fruit oil is Rainforest Alliance certified.
Moreover, its flax, hi-oleic sunflower, and canola oils are non-GMO verified by the Non-GMO Project.
“We’re competing not only with plant-based alternatives to butter but also conventional butter products,” Carlson added, saying that each of its product lines is certified organic, kosher, fair trade, and non-GMO.
Buttery Sticks was also designed to be optimized for baking and cooking. One of the product’s main competitors, Carlson said, has “heavy use of vegetable oils [which] does not deliver a great product for baking and cooking due to their lower smoke points.”
Growth in the category
Citing data from Mintel, Carlson argues that her brand is a “disruptive entry to the $4.5 billion butter and margarine category.”
There has been increased demand for dairy alternatives in the butter/margarine category—SPINS data for the 12-month period ending December 2015 showed a 9% increase in sales from the year before, measured across conventional, natural, and specialty stores In the U.S.
Sales of MELT products, according to SPINS, increased by 37%. “By giving consumers a luscious alternative to margarines, we see ourselves as a leader in reinventing the dairy-free butter substitute category as a whole,” Carlson said.