"The low hanging fruit is the person with a food allergy; that really is our No. 1 consumer both online and retail," said Sorensen, who has a severe tree-nut allergy and noted that more than 32m people in the US are living with food allergies, with 90% affected by the top eight allergens.
That said, "It’s important that we’re not just an allergen [friendly] brand," he told FoodNavigator-USA.
Growing direct-to-consumer business
Blake's Seed Based launched as online brand, but can now be found in 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores nationally where it's often positioned next to category giants such as KIND, which has helped the brand gain visibility.
However as its consumer base retreated to a temporary quarantine lifestyle where shopping trips became more of an efficient mission than brand discovery activity, this did challenge bricks & mortar sales, said Sorensen.
"If you think of how people use our product [as part of an on-the-go, active lifestyle] ... when people are kind of locked in their house, their eating habits have changed."
However, there are significant opportunities to build the brand's direct-to-consumer business, he said: "We’re building a new website right now and putting a lot of our resources and capital to traffic driving activities where we can control the message and communicate directly with the buyers online," said Sorensen.
"We’re diving with both feet in, and bringing some people on our team that have that expertise to excel on both Amazon and our site."
The brand has also rolled out new packaging (which includes a clear window panel on each individual package) to highlight the physical bar and its ingredients.
"One differentiator is that we think our bars are really pretty and people kept asking us what’s in our bars," he said.
Seeds are trending
"Seeds, we think, are still trending," said Sorensen, noting that its seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds) pack a lot of nutrition per serving (e.g. healthy fats, protein, and fiber) and uses significantly less water during the harvesting process compared to many nut varieties.
In its top food trends report for 2020, Whole Foods Market highlighted several seed-related trends such as consumers' growing desire for soy-free products, which the retailer predicts will push a variety of seeds from pumpkin to hemp into the spotlight.
"I do think there will be other brands that continue to evolve and add seeds to their products. I’m actually excited about it, because the more consumers can get educated about seeds, the more they’ll gravitate to our product," said Sorensen.
Interested in learning more about Blake's Seed Based and the future of the snack bar category? Then please join us for a FREE webinar next Wednesday, June 24th at 12:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. CST. REGISTER HERE.