“Frozen foods have traditionally been viewed as a convenient and cheap meal solutions, and many of the ingredients found in them reflect this thinking. Unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives are often inexpensive to use and offer a quick way to add flavor to something that doesn’t have it naturally,” Charlie Pace, CEO of Smart Flour Foods, told FoodNavigator-USA.
However, “with today’s savvy, health-conscious consumers placing extra care into the food choices they make for themselves and their family, that won’t cut it anymore,” he added.
Smart Flour Foods is stepping up show that “convenience, taste and health can go hand in hand,” by launching a new line of Smart Flour Foods’ Snack Bites – a modern twist on the much loved classic pizza roll, Pace said. He added the launch complements Smart Flour Foods’ existing lineup of ancient-grain based frozen pizzas and crusts.
Just like the company’s clean-ingredient frozen pizzas, the Snack Bites are made with “ingredients like real cheese that is free from synthetic hormones and uncured meats free of nitrates and nitrites,” he added.
Pace also noted that snack can “deliver whole-grain nutrition with a satisfying taste and texture that has mainstream appeal” thanks to Smart Flour Foods’ proprietary ancient-grain blend of sorghum, amaranth and teff, which has the added benefit of being free from many allergens, including wheat, nuts, tree nuts, soy and eggs.
In addition, the bites are free from artificial colors and flavors and made with several organic ingredients, which some industry experts say are now the price of entry into many parents’ shopping carts.
Bringing consumers back to the frozen aisle
Cleaning up the ingredient decks of classic snacks without negatively impacting that flavor for which many shoppers are nostalgic is only half the battle in bringing consumers back to the frozen food aisle, Pace said.
The other big challenge is “continuing to help consumers recognize that there are so many new options in the froze food aisle and to look for these better-for-you innovations,” he said.
Smart Flour Foods is tackling this by developing a strong online presence, where Pace said “many people, especially younger generations, turn to … for their food information.”
He explained: “We strive to make our Facebook and Instagram pages,” which can be found at @SmartFlourFoods, “engaging and leverage Facebook ads and digital coupons to direct new people to our products.”
In addition, he said, “on a store level, we offer targeted discounts as part of an overall promotion strategy, participate in store advertising and/or newsletters and host in-store demos.”
Younger shoppers are driving growth
As suggested by recent data released from Acosta, these strategies are working and younger consumers are returning to the frozen food aisle.
“We’re definitely seeing younger consumers driving growth in the frozen category. They’ve grown up learning to make healthier decisions and we expect this will continue to grow the sales of better-for-you frozen products,” Pace agreed.
But, he added, Smart Flour Foods aren’t just for Millennials. “Smart Flour Foods’ Snack Bites and pizzas appeal to all ages, providing a convenient, healthier treat that can be enjoyed by the whole family.”
The future of frozen snacks
He also predicts that the frozen snack category in particular will thrive in coming years as people become even more pressed for time and embrace snacking as a fast way to eat on-the-go.
“People are busier than ever, and I think the need for healthier, convenient foods will only continue to grow. If consumers could make nutritious snacks from scratch at home themselves, they would, but since they are stretched for time, the heat-and-eat snack category needs to deliver a balance of nutrition, convenience and amazing taste,” he explained. “We believe Smart Flour Foods delivers that with our Snack Bites.”
As such, Pace said, the company will continue to develop new products under the Snack Bites name, including fillings “that go beyond pizza flavors, such as Chicken Marsala.”