Aurora Products Inc. in Stratford, CT, is introducing two new trail mix varieties “to appeal to consumers’ varied tastes,” according to a company press release dated July 25. “Consumers now seek trail mixes with unique flavors and textures that provide a healthy sensory experience,” the release stated. The two new mixes, “Aurora Natural Crunchy Asian” and “Aurora Natural Red, White and Blue” have been formulated to “satisfy heightened taste buds and more attuned palates.”
Consumers are “now looking for more nutritious alternatives to traditional snacks” and want “innovative flavors and foods that are portable and can be eaten on-the-go,” the release stated. “Trail mixes that once consisted of simple inexpensive ingredients such as peanuts, raisins and M&Ms now have unique flavors and healthier profiles to appeal to a broader consumer base. Bold and distinct flavors such as sweet and spicy are continuing to grow, and there is an increased focus on the health benefits of trail mixes and their components.”
According to the release, the “Crunchy Asian” mix combines such “nutrition-packed items” as almonds and cashews with “bold and spicy flavors that include Tamari almonds and Wasabi peas. The mix contains “only all-natural ingredients and offers consumers a crunchy snack full of protein, omega-3s and fiber.” It is available in an 8.5-ounce clear plastic re-closable container.
The “Red, White and Blue” mix contains “cell-protecting antioxidant ingredients” such as dried cranberries and blueberries as well as “sweet and savory yogurt-covered raisins,” the colorings making it “a unique snack inclusion for a patriotic holiday such as Independence or Memorial Day,” the release stated. The product is all-natural and kosher and is available in an 11-ounce clear plastic re-closable container.
Aurora Products manufactures a wide assortment of “all-natural and organic dried fruits, nuts, trail mixes, salad toppings and granolas,” all free of preservatives, artificial colors or additives, according to the release. “The company makes its own trail mixes, roasts its own nuts, and packages products in a variety of sizes.”
“We sell over 200 items,” Laura Blackwell, national marketing manager, said Aug. 31. “The majority of our products are commodities, and there is just so much competition now with those items. We looked at our own sales internally and found that the areas for us that are growing the most are with value added products — with the trail mixes, our salad toppings, our granolas.”
Looking at the trail mixes, she said, “we noticed that the items that were doing better than the others were the ones that are more unique.” As an example, about two years ago, the company came out with a “Spicy Pub Mix” that has done “pretty well.” So “we wanted to come out with additional products that were more unique from a lot of the mixes that were already out there.”
Trail mixes are increasing in popularity, and whereas they were once purchased primarily by “people that go hiking” or engage in other outdoor activities, they are now “appealing to … a broader consumer base,” Ms. Blackwell said. “More and more people are buying trail mixes that never did previously.” Part of the reason for that, she said, is “the new flavors” that are available in trail mixes.
Ms. Blackwell has done “a lot of research about convenience and what [consumers] are looking for in the trail mix category.” That category has grown significantly over the past couple of years, with sales increasing 8 percent just in the past year “across the total United States,” she said. “Consumers are buying trail mixes for the health benefits associated with the products.”
Consumers “associate trail mixes with being all-natural, which is interesting,” she said, “because if you look at most trail mixes, a lot of them are not all-natural. A lot of them are loaded with artificial coloring and preservatives. That is what differentiates our product. Everything we sell is all-natural and of the highest quality.”