Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at BevNETLive Winter 2018 in Santa Monica, Spinning Wheel Brands co-founder and CEO Julia Stamberger said:
“Retailers are looking for something new and different. There are a lot of me toos, different variations on nut milk, and they don’t deliver the protein…and also many of them are major allergens [although the FDA is now exploring whether to add sesame to the list of 'Big 8' allergens manufacturers must call out on pack].
“We saw an opportunity, because so many of the plant-based beverages don’t deliver on nutrition in the way that consumers expect… But the most important thing in adding accretive value to the category is [creating] something that tastes delicious.”
Sesame seeds are naturally high in protein, iron, and calcium
Hope & Sesame sesamemilk contains 8g of protein per serving from a combination of sesame protein concentrate and pea protein concentrate, on a par with dairy milk, and features added calcium and vitamin D, said Stamberger.
“Sesame also has a lot of unique nutritional qualities as a superseed [sesame seeds contain almost 10 times the calcium of cream cheese, more protein than tofu, and more iron than broccoli] and it’s a very sustainable crop – you can grow it with very little water, although it’s hard to process owing to the bitter components.”
INGREDIENTS LIST (original, sweetened):
Sesamemilk (water, 'sesamein' (organic sesame protein concentrate, organic pea protein concentrate, organic natural flavor)), organic cane sugar, organic sunflower oil, calcium phosphate, organic natural flavor, organic sesame oil, sea salt, organic sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, vitamin D2.
Each 8oz serving contains 120 calories, 8g protein, 7g sugar, 30% of the DV for calcium, and 50% of the DV for vitamin D.
Hope & Sesame uses sesame protein (a byproduct of sesame oil production) and pea protein in its plant-based milks, and offsets the bitter notes in the sesame with an organic compliant natural flavor that serves as a bitter blocker. The bulk of the 8g protein per serving is from sesame, but the pea protein serves as a good complement, says the company.
First, shelf-stable, then a refrigerated product
Hope & Sesame has launched with a shelf-stable product with a 12-month shelf life, although it requires refrigeration once opened, and is best served chilled, said Stamberger.
“This is important to us because this enables us to do a direct to consumer strategy straight out of the gate [the product is now on sale at deliciousness.com]. Next we’re rolling this out into shelf stable grocery departments, so this will start shipping at the end of this year into natural and independent retailers, and then we’ll be added to planogram resets on the shelf stable dairy sets across different retailers as those come up…
“Then in 2019, we’ll be rolling out a refrigerated Hope & Sesame into the dairy case initially with an exclusive relationship with a national retailer and then in 2020 to other retailers.”
Hope & Sesame comes in five SKUs – original, vanilla, unsweetened, chocolate, and chocolate hazelnut – and can be enjoyed on its own, or as an accompaniment for cereals, smoothies, and protein drinks, she said.
A “perpetual brand generator, launcher and grower for the emerging food and beverage space,” Spinning Wheel Brands’ portfolio includes Hope & Sesame sesamemilk, Copious Brands Mediterranean-inspired snacks (olives, pita chips, hummus); Mozaics popped veggie and potato chips; and nut snacking brand Handfulls.
US retail sales of shelf-stable plant-based beverages grew 13.2% in the year to October 7, 2018, while sales of refrigerated plant-based beverages rose 9.8%, Andrew Henkel at SPINS told delegates at BevNET Live.
Nielsen also records significant growth in sales of non-dairy milks in 52 weeks to August 25, 2018 (all outlets combined), with plant-based blends the top performing products (+45.4%), followed by oat milk (+35.5%), almondmilk (+11.5%), coconutmilk (+1%). However, dollar sales of ricemilk were down -2.3% and soymilk sales slumped -59.6% (with units down a whopping 74.4%).
Against this backdrop, Nielsen data shows a -6.7% drop in dollar sales of cow’s milk over the same period with the sharpest declines in fat-free (-16.5%), 1 percent milk (-11%), skim (-7.9%), reduced fat (-7.3%) and 2 percent milk (-7%). Dollar sales of whole cow’s milk were down slightly (-2%), but units were up +1.7%.