The move expands Barnana’s distribution from around 5,000 stores to 13,000 overnight and will further boost awareness of the brand, which raised $5.3m earlier this year to support the rollout of its new crunchy Banana Brittle, ramp up its digital marketing, and extend into new channels.
Co-founder and chief marketing officer Nik Ingersoll told FoodNavigator-USA: "We ran a test with Starbucks in a several stores in a couple key regions that would simulate a national rollout scenario. We pretty quickly passed the velocity thresholds and just like that, we were in...
"This nationwide Starbucks deal will scale the macro level awareness of the brand in every market across the country."
Asked about the bespoke packaging, he said: "I wanted to design something that would propel our brand forward in a premium coffee retail environment while maintaining all the elements of the brand that make it great.
"I feel that I struck that sweet balance, using foil gold throughout against matte, textured, stained concrete background blends. I couldn’t be more proud or excited for our new and existing consumers to now discover it in Starbucks."
The latest innovation from Barnana - crunchy banana brittle - has been a hit with consumers, said Ingersoll: "The groundswell on the consumer level and the level of demand from retailers has been massive.
"Now we just have to keep making sure those shelves are stocked!"
Barnana is the brainchild of the firm’s founder & CEO Caue Suplicy, a triathlete who used to snack on partially dehydrated bananas when he was growing up in Brazil, and later hooked up with Matt Clifford and Nik Ingersoll in 2010 to take the concept to the US market.
It took two years - much longer than they originally expected - to get their ducks in a row, find organic growers to work with, find a co-manufacturer in the US to pack the products, and come up with a brand and packaging that they thought would appeal to consumers.
So by the time they arrived at Expo West in 2012, they had burned through pretty much all of their cash. But the product was an instant hit, and by the time the show was over, Barnana had orders from scores of retailers, forcing its tiny team into overdrive (“work, sleep, work sleep - my social life was pretty much dead, but it was worth it” recalls Ingersoll) to deliver on its promises.
Barnana appeals to consumers looking for simple, nutrient-dense snacks, says Ingersoll. Indeed, the original variant only has one ingredient: organic bananas, which are gently heated to remove most of the water, chopped into pieces in Latin America, and then shipped over to California to be packaged.
Each 40g serving of the original chewy snacks contains 110 calories, 2g protein, 800mg potassium and 4g of fiber and no added sugar, preservatives, colors or flavors. The range now includes original, chocolate, coffee, coconut, peanut butter, and apple cinnamon.
Check out our interview with Ingersoll at Expo West show in Anaheim in March, where he explained the thinking behind the new Banana Brittle product: