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Distribution Roundup: TigerNut and Yai’s Thai Take On Conventional

Meagan McGinnes

NOSH_Distribution_FullWidthFrom conventional grocery to national coffee chains, natural brands are expanding their reach — and it’s still early in 2017. Here are some of the players making notable distribution growth.

TigerNut Joins Wegman’s Nationwide

Organic Gemini’s TigerNut is taking on conventional with the addition of its newest retailer. The snack, baking ingredient and beverage brand had its flour line picked up by Wegman’s nationwide in January. Before the addition, the brand was sold in about 1,500 stores within the natural food space.

George Papanastasatos, TigerNut Founder, told NOSH his flour line has been well received by mainstream consumers so far, and that he plans to continue the push of tigernuts in conventional grocery.

“We were solely focused on the natural, but it is an expensive place to do business and build a brand,” Papanastasatos said. “So we are hoping by moving to conventional we are going to have less of that.”

Papanastasatos spoke to the challenges of the natural industry and the lack of control within its distribution chain when working with mandated groups like UNFI. “We understand that we still need to support the market and have different kind of spending, but at least [in conventional] we can control it and budget for it,” he said.

Though tigernuts are still a niche commodity, Papanastasatos thinks the demand for its gluten-free properties is becoming more stable.

“I think now the market kind of understands what tigernuts are all about, and they are giving us more placement. It is all about timing,” Papanastasatos said. “We have gotten through the first phase when you are trying to build something new and foreign to a lot of people to now where people understand what they are getting.”

Yai’s Thai Gains King Soopers, Safeway

Denver-based sauce company Yai Thai is making its first move into conventional by expanding its distribution into King Soopers, City Market and Safeway stores.

The new retailer partners adds 225 stores to its lineup. King Soopers, a division of Kroger, brought on all six of the company’s current SKUs, which includes three spice levels of Thai Salsa, Spicy Thai Relish, Chili Lime Hot Sauce and Chili Garlic Hot Sauce. Safeway brought the company’s flagship product, Thai Salsa, to 100 locations primarily in Colorado.

Until now, the company’s products had primarily been sold in Whole Foods Market in the Rocky Mountain Region, as well as independent stores.

“Stepping into the conventional channel is a big opportunity for our company,” Leland Copenhagen, CEO and Co-founder, said in a statement. “Our mission is to make Thai flavors a part of everyday meals, so we’re really excited for the chance to meet our consumers where they do their everyday shopping.”

Bella Gluten Free Goes Nationwide

Bella Gluten-Free is bringing its allergy friendly, “cup-to-table” baking mixes nationwide with Cost Plus World Market.

The lines, including its chocolate chip cookie mix, chewy chocolate brownie mix and Italian pizza crust mix, will hit in the international food aisle of its almost 300 stores. The savory and sweet mix company, founded in 2010, is also sold in City Market RM, HEB, King Soopers, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, New Seasons Market, Raley’s, Safeway, SaveMart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods Market.

Bella Gluten Free is known for its packaging, which only provides enough mix for a single baking experience and plays to trends toward allergen free products. The brand also received its official vegan certification earlier this month.

Numerous Natural Brands Join Starbucks Lineup

The next time consumers swing into Starbucks for their daily caffeine fix, they’ll find more natural options to snack on.

The national coffee chain announced this month its new food options arriving this spring, including Country Archer Jerky, Droga Money on Honey Dark Chocolate French Sea Salt, Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Mini and Goodie Girl Mint Slims.

Country Archer, the 40-year-old jerky company that debuted its paleo-friendly meat sticks earlier this month, is one of the fastest growing natural jerky brands in the U.S. and plans to continues to scale up production as its sales and distribution continues to grow.

“It was a breakthrough year for the brand,” PJ Roustan, Country Archer’s Director of Marketing, said in a statement. “We’re disrupting a surging category by giving consumers what they want—more meat, less bull and no junk.”

Starbucks also introduced a number of fresh products, including an organic avocado spread. Like Evolution Fresh juices, the spread uses HPP technology.

Other Distribution Wins

  • David’s Unforgettable Foods Moves West: The California-based company’s line of gluten free, vegan and non-GMO balsamic-based sauces, dressings and marinades, has expanded into Sprouts California through UNFI.
  • Betsy’s Best Goes From 58 To 2,100 Stores: Consumers can now find the gourmet nut and seed butter company in supermarkets and natural foods stores like Kroger, Whole Foods Market (Florida), Bristol Farms, Ingles Markets, and Harris Teeter across 35 states.
  • New Primal Adds Harris Teeter As Retailer: The meat snack company announced earlier this year it was bringing its classic and spicy beef jerky to 240 Harris Teeter Supermarkets across the Southeast.
  • Bare Bones Quadruples Store Count: The bone broth maker launched in Fairway Markets, Shoprite/Wakefern, Harris Teeter and PCC Natural Market earlier this year. This expanded their locations from 100 to 400 stores.
  • Don’t Go Nuts Forays Into Club: The nut-free food brand entered select Costco stores in California and Hawaii in January. The company’s snack bar, Gorilla Power, debuted in the company’s first 22-count boxes specifically designed for club stores.

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