The Brooklyn-based brand - which unveiled distinctive new packaging last year following a $3-5m capital raise to fuel its aggressive expansion plans – says the pork rinds market is mature, but still has significant growth potential as Millennials in particular seek out higher protein, lower carb snacks, founding partner and former attorney Tom Donigan told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We see this as a major growth opportunity, although there are distribution challenges; pork rinds have a shorter shelf life – it can be as low as three months – compared with jerky, where the shelf life is more like 12-18 months.
“Pork rinds are low carb crispy airy snacks that go really well with a sandwich you might buy at the deli, but you can also use them for dipping, or as salad toppers to add protein, or a low carb breading for chicken.”
We’re offering a cleaner label and flavors that appeal to chip consumers
He added: “They obviously contain more fat than jerky but they serve as a great alternative to carb-heavy potato chips [a 14g serving of Field Trip’s sweet chipotle pork rinds contains 1g carbohydrate, 7g protein and 2g saturated fat; while a 28g serving of Lay’s classic potato chips contains 15g carbohydrate, 2g protein and 1.5g saturated fat].
“They already have a significant base of business nationwide and we see our Crispy Cut products as a really neat addition to a set that’s dominated by brands in clear plastic bags that don’t have much going on; they are kind of this guilty pleasure.
“We’re offering a cleaner label [no filler corn/soy/wheat proteins, disodium phosphate, starch, partially hydrogenated oils, MSG, dextrose, maltodextrin], distinctive packaging, and gourmet flavors [Parmesan Peppercorn, Sweet Chipotle and Island BBQ] with less sodium, great seasonings, and flavors that appeal to a chip consumer.
“We also use pork back skin rather than the belly, where you can get harder pieces, and we don’t use added oil; we fry them in their own fat.”
Field Trip was launched in 2010 by (L-R) Tom Donigan (an ex-attorney who handles marketing), Matt Levey (the financial wizard), and Scott Fiesinger (the operations guy).
The brand, which is in retailers including Starbucks, Safeway/Albertsons, Wawa c-stores, JetBlue airlines, CVS, Target and Kroger, has also struck deals with a group of beverage industry distributors in the northeast, notably Big Geyser, which was instrumental in the growth of Vitaminwater and Smartwater but more recently has helped snacking companies such as Deep River Snacks boost their reach.
We’re expecting to be in 10,000 stores within six months of the launch
The pork rinds – which will hit stores in mid-December with an MSRP of $1.99 for a 1oz bag and $4.99 for a 3oz bag (which is slightly higher than mainstream brands but cheaper than super-premium brands such as EPIC and 4505 Chicharrones) were a hit at the recent NACS show, said Donigan.
“People loved them, both the flavor and the light, airy, crispy texture. We’ve already got 2,000 stores committed to taking on the product, and within six months we expect distribution in up to 10,000 stores based on representations from our DSD [direct store delivery] network.”
Asked if Field Trip had received expressions of interest from any major CPG brands given the growth of the meat snacks category in recent years, he said: “We’re not opposed to entertaining conversations with any of the larger players, but right now we’re focusing on growing our platform and expanding distribution of our products.”
Ingredients (Crispy Cut Pork Rinds, Sweet Chipotle): Fried pork rinds, cane sugar, spices, salt, paprika, dehydrated garlic, citric acid. Each 14g half-ounce serving contains 7g protein, 135mg sodium, and 80 calories.