One of the three winners of FoodNavigator-USA’s 2020 FOOD FOR KIDS trailblazers challenge (along with Good Feeding and Mission MightyMe), CHUM aims to square the circle by creating a brand that kids find fun and engaging, and parents feel good about.
Unlike most fruit snacks for kids, says Bartley – who cut his teeth at kids fruit pouch maker GoGo squeeZ - CHUM fruit bites contain 100% fruit, and nothing else. Designed as a healthier alternative to candy, the fruit triangles inside each pack are soft biting and sweet tasting from the fruits' natural fructose, with just 38-42 calories per serving.
"CHUM fruit bites are unique in the fruit snacks category given the short and clean ingredient list," says Bartley. "We don't boil up concentrates and use fillers and emulsifiers in a matter of minutes; we gently bake puree for over 12 hours, slowly removing water content to leave a soft biting natural tasting product."
Packaged in biodegradable primary packaging and forestry responsible secondary packaging, the bites are available via chumbites.com and on Amazon, and are now listed with UNFI, KeHE, DPI and others for delivery to retailers including Kroger, Smart & Final and Hy-Vee, says Bartley. "Costco NE is approved for on shelf in Q1 2021."
‘We’re re-working some of our packaging to show the fruits and the triangles’
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after presenting CHUM to industry veterans Jon Sebastiani, Mark Rampolla and Brad Barnhorn in part IV of our virtual FOOD FOR KIDS series on November 11, Bartley said their advice - to highlight the distinctive form factor (CHUM bites are triangles, not bars or roll-ups), and more clearly spell out the brand's clean label credentials - was spot on.
“We should make [the form factor] clearer on the packaging, so we’re re-working some of our packaging to show the fruits and the triangles.”
CHUM can also do a better job of spelling out that its bites only contain a couple of ingredients (eg. apples and pears), something consumers don’t necessarily realize from looking at the front of pack, he acknowledged.
“We’re now looking to put this information on the front [of pack]. It’s something to kind of shout about, but we haven’t done it. We had kind of taken the high road on the iconic branding… so we’ll be backtracking a bit.”
E-commerce and digital marketing
As for the go-to-market strategy, CHUM Fruit Snacks has an omnichannel strategy, and is seeing “tremendous growth” in its direct to consumer business, said Bartley, who has been working with mommy bloggers and other influencers to drive awareness and bring people to his website.
“You have to find the tools that let you reach the right consumers… you can really highlight and target the exact consumers you believe to be relevant.”
FOOD FOR KIDS: Meet the 2020 trailblazers
From bubbly probiotic water for kids to chickpea butter, ketchup with extra veggies, and goat's milk toddler formula, entrants to our 2020 FOOD FOR KIDS Trailblazers Challenge showcased innovative new products, brands, and routes to market for healthier options for babies and children. But we could only pick three winners …
- Mission MightyMe (peanut puffs for early allergen introduction);
- CHUM Fruit Snacks (clean-label fruit snacks);
- Good Feeding (Go Well) (DTC baby food underpinned by proprietary technology that preserves colors, flavors, textures and nutrition).
FOOD FOR KIDS TRAILBLAZERS GALLERY: Entrepreneurs to watch... innovative new brands in kids' food & beverage
We had a record number of entries for this year's FOOD FOR KIDS Trailblazers Challenge, spanning everything from chickpea butter and lentil-based meat crumbles to bubbly probiotic water and veggieinfused ketchup.
Here are some of the innovations that caught our eye. View the GALLERY.