Expanding its portfolio of gut-friendly, collagen protein bars, ELAVI’s vegan and keto-friendly cashew butter jars feature two grams of sugar from its proprietary blend of low-glycemic sweeteners, monk fruit and dates, and five grams of plant protein, according to the company’s recent press release. The jarred butters come in two flavors: Blue Vanilla Frosting and Chocolate Fudge and are devoid of added sugar and palm oil.
The brand is no stranger to its audience feedback. In a previous interview with FoodNavigator-USA, Michelle Razavi, CEO and founder, ELAVI explained how the brand relied on partner and consumer feedback to help determine price points, packaging and placement. Similarly, the brand worked with different demographics to taste test the cashew butter prototypes “to see how it performs across a wide range of consumers.”
In order to appeal to a wide range of consumers, Razavi, explained to FoodNavigator-USA that the creaminess and natural sweetness of cashews help “mimic the dairy and added sugar of other dessert spreads,” tapping into the growing healthy indulgence trend.
“This allowed us to swap in healthy fats and plant protein for inflammatory ingredients while also achieving a flavor profile that is decadent,” she explained.
With multiple rounds of determining the ratio between monk fruit, dates and natural flavors, Razavi explained that the goal was “not to produce an artificial flavor, an overly sweet flavor or an underwhelming flavor.”
Differentiating through color and nutrition
The growing nut butter market, which is expected to reach $5 billion by 2030, stands as a parallel to the snack bar market, both spaces driven by consumer preferences for nutritious, satiating and indulgent products; and brands in both markets having to differentiate through ingredients, packaging, marketing and omnichannel strategies.
For ELAVI, the “most obvious [differentiation] is the color,” Razavi explained. “We’re the only nut butter in the market that uses vibrant superfoods to create eye-catching colors that excites kids, foodies, superfood evangelists and the curious.”
Most notably, the blue spirulina in the Blue Vanilla Frosting jar contributes to the blue color; while the pink Pomegranate Berry butter (which is packaged in a pouch, a nod to the on-the-go consumer) includes pomegranate powder and organic beet powder.
The brand’s commitment to develop gut-healthy products is in its ingredient selection, a growing area of concern among US consumers. According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) 2022 Food & Health survey, 29% of consumers seek health benefits from food, beverage nutrients to improve digestive and gut health, while 31% are eating more protein from whole-plant sources, underscoring the growing impact of the re-emerging food as medicine movement – and an opportunity for brands in the snacking category to formulate around consumers’ nuanced dietary patterns.
“Our second differentiator is our fierce commitment to gut-healthy, anti-inflammatory ingredients - starting with the oil we use. Many nut butters and dessert spreads in the market use palm oil, sunflower oil, hydrogenated oils and more - we're the only brand that uses hempseed oil, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and for being derived from the hemp plant, a regenerative agriculture crop that's good for soil health. We also don't use any sugar alcohols (eg. erythritol) or chicory root fiber that causes gastrointestinal issues for a growing amount of consumers,” Razavi elaborated.
ELAVI continues to communicate its gut-friendly ingredients, particularly around oils, by joining The Clean Oil Crew, “a coalition of brands dedicated to raising awareness about vegetable and seed oils,” which Razavi explained shares “a similar philosophy in prioritizing our consumer's long-term health with clean ingredients.”