Hayward, CA-based Kite Hill - which has raised $65.5m since 2014 from backers including General Mills 301INC and CAVU Venture Partners - almost doubled its revenues last year, and expects to do the same in 2019, CEO Rob Leibowitz told FoodNavigator-USA.
However, the look and feel of the brand was not consistent across all of the products, and didn’t show consumers what the food looked like, he said.
“We felt like our original design didn’t really pop at shelf and make people feel that there is mouthwatering food inside. The new design does a better job at standing out at retail and letting people know that what’s inside tastes great.
“We wanted to spell out what the products are and what they look like in plain and simple terms so consumers know exactly what is inside. The brand is also distinctive and easy to find on shelf, and doesn’t look too much like all of our competitors.”
Our technology can apply to other plant bases (as well as almonds)
The new packaging - which will hit stores in May and was developed by design agency Makefire - also replaces the almond teardrops of earlier packaging iterations with a new logo, reflecting the fact that the brand does not have to remain tethered to almonds as its core source material.
“We love almonds as they are such a clean canvas,” said Leibowitz. “But our technology can apply to other plant bases and we will expand beyond almond into other plant bases over time.”
Growth at the brand – which was founded by vegan celebrity chef Tal Ronnen, cheesemaker Monte Casino and acclaimed Stanford biochemist Dr Pat Brown – is expected to come from a combination of new distribution, strong velocity (which Leibowitz predicts will increase with the new look), and new products.
These include plant-based dips (French Onion and Ranch), two new varieties of cream cheese-style spreads (Everything and Strawberry), raspberry yogurt, and tortellini filled with almondmilk-based ricotta.
“We launched yogurt tubes for kids not that long ago and they are doing phenomenally in the marketplace as parents were telling us that they wanted a plant-based option,” added Leibowitz.
“We invested a good portion of the latest capital raise on acquiring a manufacturing facility for yogurt and dips, so we have enough capacity for at least three years out in terms of the kind of growth rates we’re experiencing."
Visit Kite Hill at Expo West at booth #5631