Coconut Oil in Snack Foods?
First and foremost our goal is to expand the selection of snack foods made with coconut oil, and to create a new set of choices for consumers who care about the type and quality of the fats they consume. With a successful Kickstarter campaign, we’ll be much closer to changing the snack food aisle forever.
The sad reality is that the entire snack food aisle at every single grocer in the United States is now a homogenous collection of corn or potato-based snacks all cooked in some combination of polyunsaturated seed or vegetable oils. Sure the flavors are different, the ingredients might include beans or quinoa, and the fat or salt might be ‘reduced’ but, in reality, every single product uses polyunsaturated vegetable oils. And it’s a small list from which manufacturers choose those oils: canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed. All are substitutes for one another which is why the ingredient list frequently states “made with one or more of the following…”.
These oils have absolutely dominated the snack food industry for decades and have left consumers with little to no choice in the type or quality of the oils consumed. And these seed and vegetable oils are foods that, before 1900, had never been eaten by any human being ever before in any real quantity. In fact, it was the invention of the steam engine that gave manufacturers the ability to generate the heat and pressures necessary to crush enough sunflower or rape seed meal to cost effectively produce thousands of gallons of sunflower or canola oil. So, the question is: what happens when we eat mass quantities of industrially processed seed oils that contain an overabundance of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats?
What Can We Do?
The homogeneity in the snack food aisle is the result of decades of agricultural subsidies, faulty nutritional information, lobbyist-driven government policies, and supra-national food corporations intent on producing the highest profit margins they can. There is not one snack food manufacturer that uses a traditional oil like coconut oil to make their products. We hope this campaign can help us make the biggest change in snack foods in decades: bringing honest snack foods made with ‘real’ oils back to the grocery shelves.
With your help I know we can achieve that goal. And if we are successful in raising our $15,000 target fund amount, we will use that capital to develop and manufacture a brand new potato chip flavor to augment our current Sea Salt, Salt+Vinegar, and Sweet Potato flavors. And if we are fortunate enough to raise $25,000, we will develop and manufacture a second flavor. In both cases, our backers will play an important role in choosing which of the flavors we manufacture with their votes: we've got a short list of flavors that we think work well with a coconut oil potato chip. Anything beyond these amounts will go toward paying for purchasing Spring 2014 potatoes and expanding our distribution beyond the western United States.
Risks and challenges
First and foremost, developing new flavors is an expensive, complex, and time consuming process with uncertain outcomes. In our experience thus far, identifying the proper organic and non-GMO ingredients, finding the suppliers of these ingredients, and combining those spices to create a novel flavor profile is challenging. We have met these challenges already in the development of our Salt+Vinegar flavor which has received fantastic feedback from customers, distributors, and major retailers. We are confident we will be able to develop more flavors in a timely and cost effective manner.
Distribution of our potato chips is one of the most challenging aspects of the snack food industry. Only a handful of large corporations own the bulk of the distribution channels into the national, regional, and independent grocery stores that we hope carry our line of chips. Our future efforts in convincing these distributors to carry our chips and distribute them to grocery retailers are not guaranteed. We have secured a distribution relationship with one of the largest natural grocery distributors – United Natural Foods, Inc. - to serve the Western US. Identifying and establishing relationships with distributors in other parts of the United States could be a challenge but given our initial success with one of the largest players in the industry, we think we are well positioned to continue that distribution momentum.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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