“We would really love to immerse one billion pieces of fruit in chocolate this year,” Brian Neville, CEO at Tru Fru tells FoodNavigator-USA. “Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?”
The Utah-based company, launched in 2016, has continued to boom despite pandemic supply chain, harvest and labor challenges. After winning “most innovative new product” awards in 2019, it grew 350% over the last two years, immersing a combined 525 million pieces of fruit. In 2021, it added 80,000 distribution points.
A new subcategory: ‘permissible indulgence’
Neville describes Tru Fru as both “healthy frozen snack disguised as an indulgent treat” and “frozen indulgent treat disguised as a healthy snack”.
Made with berries and fruit that is picked ripe and hyper chilled, freeze dried and covered in sustainable chocolate, the treats are packaged in Grab & Gather 20 oz. pouches, Grab & Share 8 oz. pouches, Grab & Go 5 oz. cups and Single Serve 1.5 oz. minis, priced from $1.49 to $14.99.
“Tru Fru has created an entirely new subcategory,” Neville adds. “We call it the ‘permissible indulgence’. No other product is as equally indulgent as it is better for you. That is our claim, and we believe we are the best at delivering on this promise. Full stop.”
Going viral, winning awards, expanding distribution
Tru Fru says that it achieved its rapid growth without paid advertising but instead relied on word of mouth and social media to spread the word – going viral with 30.3 million organic views on Tik Tok. It also passed out over a million free samples across the country and plans to double the number of handouts in 2022.
Neville says that there’s no limit to the brand’s appeal but that it aligns perfectly with “the fun mom who knows that life is best lived with a balance of crazy mom life infused with the indulgent moments” and “the social advocate/female professional who loves to take care of herself and whose social community is a big part of her life.”
The company is also accumulating awards for its innovative approach to both permissible indulgence and marketing, including back-to-back double first place finishes at the 2019 and 2021 Sweets and Snacks’ Most Innovative New Products awards in both the Sweet Snack and Gourmet/Premium Candy categories. Last year, it won gold and platinum awards for Overall Campaign Manufacturer and Social Media Campaign from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association.
Available nationwide at Target, Kroger, Albertsons, Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart, the brand plans to launch in H-E-B, Publix and Walgreens, among other retailers, in the first quarter of this year.
“Tru Fru has just scratched the surface of this indulgent brand’s potential,” Neville says.