We do get requests for some of those ingredients or special diets,” Hassan Alireza told FoodNavigator-USA at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show.
“And my answer is that although I respect the people that are jumping on the bandwagon and just putting the name of whatever diet or ingredient it is on the label to try and get consumers’ attention, it is not really a long distance way of looking at things,” added Alireza, who launched The Daily Crave in 2012 with gluten-free veggie chips and sticks and followed up with a range of lentil and quinoa chips in 2015.
One trend that does seem to have legs in many parts of the store is protein, added Alireza, who has secured listings for his chips in leading retailers from Sprouts and Whole Foods, to Safeway, Rite Aid, ShopRite, Fairway, Jewel-Osco, and Raley's.
But you don’t have to pack in 20g of protein powders to appeal to the average consumer in the chips aisle, who may be looking for more nutritious alternatives to legacy brands, but is still focused on taste above all, added Alireza, who says his lentil and quinoa chips (with 3-4g plant-based protein) stand out from rivals in that they get the basics right ("tasty, crunchy, dippable").
“If you do a chip with 20g of protein, people will be turned off by that, and ask how are you doing that naturally?”
Longer-term, The Daily Crave brand could stretch into other categories, he speculated, but right now there is an enormous amount of runway in the chips aisle both in the US and overseas.
“If you look at SPINS/IRI data nationally - although we had size changes and pack changes last year, so it was a very tumultuous year - our sales in [the] conventional [channel] went up by over 40%, in natural 37%, and in specialty gourmet channels by 28%, so we continue to grow in every channel, not to mention airports, airlines, and exports.”
A 28g serving of The Daily Crave Spicy Thai Chili quinoa chips - made with quinoa flour, corn flour, lentil flour and chickpea flour - contains 140 calories, 4g protein, 2g fiber, and 7g fat.
(A 28g serving of Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles contains 160 calories, 2g protein, 1g fiber, and 10g fat.)