Industry News: Superfood popcorn debuts at Summer Fancy Food
NEW YORK — Movie night is about to get more nutritious. A new ready-to-eat popcorn range from Living Intentions, L.L.C. features probiotics and such superfood ingredients as turmeric, macqui berry, chlorella and maca. The product line debuted at the Summer Fancy Food Show, held June 26-28 in New York.
Driven by a mission to bridge the gap between packaged, processed food and fresh, raw food, Living Intentions offers nutrient-dense cereals, nuts, snacks and smoothie blends featuring sprouted ingredients, superfoods or added probiotics. The new product line marks the brand’s foray into the popcorn category.
“The concept behind it was to take a functional snack product that everybody likes and make it as nutritionally dense as possible,” said Joshua McHugh, founder and owner of Living Intentions, in an interview with Food Business News. “I’ve always loved popcorn, but it was always hard to find something organic, because there are only two or three brands doing organic popcorn, and on top of that, I want something that’s really good for me, and that’s really not out there. There are companies doing things like popped in coconut oil, and all of that is really cool, but I wanted to take that to the next level.”
Activated Superfood Popcorn debuts with four varieties: Cinnamon Twist with maca root and mesquite pod; Tandoori Turmeric with turmeric and Ashwagandha extracts; Salsa Verde with spirulina, chlorella, spinach and kale; and Berry Smoothie, with macqui berry, banana and beet powders, and lacuma fruit.
“The goal was to put something out there for everybody,” Mr. McHugh said. “In my mind, Berry Smoothie was going to be that one for moms. It’s purple, and it’s fun. It tastes like berries and banana. Tandoori Turmeric is more sophisticated. It’s got more layers of flavor. It’s a little bit spicy; it’s slightly cheesy with nutritional yeast. Cinnamon Twist is going to be a big one. It’s got maple sugar, cinnamon and maca.”
To balance out the bitter greens in the Salsa Verde variety, Mr. McHugh said, “We added garlic and cumin and Southwest seasoning on there. The kale, spinach, chlorella and spirulina came in underneath it.”
The product line is expected to hit shelves in September
“Popcorn is a super saturated category, but what we’re trying to do is cut through that and say, ‘We are a popcorn item that is going to give you the highest energy and the most nutrition out of anything else out there.’”
Still, the company may face an uphill battle in introducing the products to mainstream consumers.
“The cool thing about probiotics is most people already know what probiotics are and understand the basic concept that they’re good for them,” Mr. McHugh said. “Certified organic, they already know. Some of the eclectic superfoods may require education, and that’s been the case with all of our products, really. What is macqui berry? What is maca? What is ashwagandha? Those pieces definitely are going to require some education.”
Living Intentions is in the process of redesigning its packaging to reflect a broader product portfolio under the Activated scheme.
Previously marketed as a raw and sprouted food company, Living Intentions is in the process of redesigning its packaging to reflect a broader product portfolio under the Activated scheme.
“When we say ‘activated,’ it’s food at its highest potential,” Mr. McHugh said. “That was the intention of the new brand and the new packaging... Food at its highest potential could be superfood, could be probiotic, could be sprouted, or likely a combination of a few of those things to make a high-energy, nutrient dense food. So it really opens us up to what category do we feel like we want to go to today? We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us.”
Going forward, the company may add additional snacks, meals and ready-to-drink beverages. Products are sold nationwide and in Canada, Mexico and Australia.
“Last year to this year, we grew 17% to 20%, and the year before that we grew 65%,” Mr. McHugh said. “This year was really us buckling down and focusing on the brand and not really pushing the sales as much because we knew we were about to rebrand and go into a new package, and we wanted to make that transition as smooth as possible.
“2017 is our focus because we’ll have the brand settled and be ready to go. We’ve got the platform so we’re anticipating a minimum of 30% sales growth.”