At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January, Nature Nate’s unveiled a new line of fruit spreads, nut butters and maple syrup sweetened with honey.
“Our goal is to make products that are currently over-processed and over-manufactured from just a few ingredients that are healthier” than existing options, Ryan McCoy, Nature Nate’s chief sales and marketing officer, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We make products that people feel good about eating and sharing with their families,” and which have only three or four ingredients, he added.
For example, the company’s Strawberry, Cherry and Mixed Berry fruit spreads contain only fruit, honey, pectin and citric acid – and offer modern shoppers who want to eat clean an alternative in a category that has not seen much innovation, McCoy said.
Similarly, the company’s Honey Maple Syrup, Honey Almond Butter and Honey Peanut Butter Blend are “natural combinations,” he said. “If you buy honey in the store, it is often going to be shelved right next to the peanut butter and jelly and also right next to the syrup, so is a natural progression to innovate in these categories.”
Previous innovations in honey
This latest round of new products follows the launch of several pure honey innovations that the company launched last year, include new flavors, textures and sizes, McCoy said.
The company launched vanilla bean and lemon flavored honeys last year along with a honey and comb that “is just like you take out of the hive,” and a creamed honey, which McCoy said paired well on a cheese plate.
Nature Nate’s also launched individually portioned packets for on-the-go consumers to add to their tea when they are not at home to eat as a shot at the gym for a quick burst of energy. The packets are a higher quality than many and rather than tearing off a corner, which can be messy, the packets have small tabs on top, McCoy said.
In 2017, the company also launched a consumer education campaign about the value of real honey – especially raw and unfiltered honey, like Nature Nate’s makes.
McCoy explained that most consumers don’t understand that many honeys on the market are highly processed to remove “impurities,” such as pollen, to reduce the risk of it crystalizing. However, he said, the pollen and other naturally contained nutrients are what make honey a healthier option.
To preserve this, McCoy said Nature Nate’s “blends a variety of honey from around the United States and we lightly warm it to bring it back to liquid if it is crystalized, and then we will strain it to remove what we call chewables -- so the bee parts that exist in the honey – but we do not filter out the pollen. This leaves it just the way the bee would consume it for their own health.”
The campaign also dissected how raw unfiltered honey compares to high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and even cane sugar – all of which have been vilified in recent years as consumers look for ways to reduce their sugar intake.
The campaign’s slogan, “choose real,” not only spoke to serving “real” honey as it comes out of the hive, but referenced Nature Nate’s larger “Honey Gives Hope” philosophy and mission to use proceeds from sales to help those in need, including those battling breast cancer, families who want to adopt but face financial challenges and women and children who are the victims of domestic violence, among others.