Nut innovation making inroads in snacks - Baking Business

CHICAGO – Trade shows have been canceled since early March and when they will restart is unknown. The cancellations have created barriers innovators must overcome to get their concepts in front of buyers. The barriers also are suppressing the emergence of trends and themes that drive product development. One notable example is the innovation occurring in nut snacks and butters.

Blüm, the new consumer brand from family-owned nut wholesaler Chico Nut Co., Chico, Calif., was fortunate to launch its first product — Toasty Almonds — at the Winter Fancy Food Show in January. Blüm Toasty Almonds comes in five varieties: cinnamon spice, cocoa espresso, garlic Parmesan, honey vanilla sea salt and spicy chile lime. Each kit contains almonds along with almond oil and a seasoning packet.

John Peterson, co-owner of Chico Nut Co. and co-founder of Blüm, said the company had not planned on exhibiting at the Winter Fancy Food Show and at the last minute secured a spot.

“We scrambled in a short period of time to make it happen, and are so thankful that we did,” he said. “Nothing compares to the in-person contacts you make. It is an easy way to connect and over time, you build upon these relationships.

“We are thankful that we met with established brokers with connections at major retailers. We were able to have a conversation and get things rolling before the pandemic.”

Mr. Peterson said Blüm Toasty Almonds is a first-of-its kind in the retail snack category. The concept came from a product he would make for friends and family.

“We recognized it was time to introduce the consumer to a fresher seasoned almond product,” he said. “The almonds in the kit are pasteurized — by law — but unprocessed. The consumer is the one who seasons them and then has an as fresh-as-possible product.”

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