Despite coronavirus, Peeled Snacks predicts fast growth with new products, channel expansion, funds

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Despite coronavirus, Peeled Snacks predicts fast-growth with new products, channel expansion, funds

Related tags coronavirus Snacks

The CEO of the organic dried fruit brand Peeled Snacks is optimistic that challenges related to the coronavirus will not slow the company’s fast growth thanks in part to a suite of new products, channel diversification plans, and an infusion of funds from Decathalon Capital Partners announced earlier this month.

“Our goal is to grow 40% this year, which I think is feasible to do even though it is a challenging time and there are challenging economics in front of us,”​ Peeled Snacks CEO Jon Kalina told FoodNavigator-USA.

He explained that as a “high growth company”​ with a track record of growing 30-40% year-over-year, Peeled Snacks will maintain its momentum in part by investing more heavily in e-commerce and by expanding into club stores to offset lost sales at foodservice and travel retail stores that have been hit hard by measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“One of the challenges for us is that we are very heavy in the travel sector, so we are in Hudson, CIBO Marketplace and some of those locations that we know are being decimated with closures. But we are hoping that stuff gets cleaned up and we get back to normal soon. At the same time, though, we are looking at alternatives”​ to boost distribution, he said.

“For example,”​ he added, “our e-comm business is exploding right now, and we have gotten aggressive growth from that perspective.”

Kalina added that Peeled is “working hard to launch a club program, hopefully in the fourth quarter, as they work quite a ways out. But, that would be a nice incremental win for us.”

Prior to coronavirus, the company also was prepared to invest in expanding through foodservice and stores on college and university campuses. While this is currently paused, Kalina said, he still sees potential once the pandemic eases and people return to their normal lives.

New products target children, families

In addition to diversifying channel distribution to better meet consumers’ evolving shopping habits, Kalina said that he expects Peeled will gain traction on several new products that it was going to unveil at Natural Products Expo West before the tradeshow was canceled due to COVID-19.

Even though many retailers have pushed back category reviews that were originally slated for April and May, Kalina said he is confident that they will want Peeled’s new products once they resume those reviews, which he hopes will be in June or July.

“The delay will hurt us a little bit by delaying when we get those new items on store shelves, but we are working with existing accounts to get a few new products out and those will quickly gain traction,”​ he predicted.

The new products include a vegan buffalo flavored crisp, a passionfruit mango dried fruit mix, and a barbeque baked puff, which is sweetened with monkfruit since Peeled doesn’t add sugar to its products.

The brand also is relaunching three flavors of its puff-dried clusters that are specifically designed for children but which anyone can enjoy, Kalina said.

“We are super excited to dip our toe in the water of ​[kids snacks] and see how that goes because we think they are a great snack for children to get them the nutritional value that they need and which is healthy and portable and clean,”​ he said.

Depending on how the products perform, he said, Peeled may expand with additional lines specifically targeting children, which is a space that is undergoing a renaissance as younger parents seek out more better-for-you options that are nutrient dense and free from unwanted ingredients.

“We have several other ideas that could become very kid-friendly, and hopefully for 2021 we will have some further introductions more towards that side,”​ Kalina said.

Partnership with Decathlon brings financial liquidity

Peeled is able to launch and support the new products despite the negative impact from the ongoing pandemic, in part because it recently secured multi-million dollar debt financing from Decathlon Capital Partners.

This will replace Peeled’s prior asset based lending agreement, and give the company more liquidity to drive fast growth, he explained.

“We are positioned well for the future and couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Decathlon Group,”​ Kalina said. “We look forward to growing the business together and are excited about the future.”

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