Pretzels are the original snack food. Before snacking was a big thing, pretzels were a big thing, and apparently, they still are. Of course, there are many brands innovating in the snack space, but regular pretzels are quite Irresistible. When we looked at our tool I-Factor®, that tells us how these brands are to their consumers, I was impressed at the high category scores.
When you think of classic pretzels, Rold Gold is the brand that comes to mind. On a scale of 0-100, they have an I-Factor score of 47. That’s pretty impressive, especially for what we consider a legacy brand. That means their consumers are still connecting with their flavors like original flavors and the newer ones like honey wheat, sticks, rods, tiny twists and new options like buffalo wings, and garlic parmesan. The category overall has high scores, and Rold Gold is at the bottom end of that. I suspect it’s partly because they are less upfront about their nutritional information on their website than some of the new brands. I don’t think it would take much for these guys to pull way ahead in this category with the right insights.
One of the first brands to really put a modern twist on pretzels was Pretzel Crisps and so its no surprise that they are the current category leader. They have the flavor and crunch of pretzels but are lighter, crispier, and more versatile. They market themselves as the perfect snack for consumers with dietary restrictions like diabetes or high cholesterol. They call themselves the “guilt-free pretzel cracker” and are tapping into many of the buzz words that are popular with consumers like no saturated fats, gluten-free options. And they are tapping into another thing Millennials and Gen Z loves… recipes. They share lots of ways to make pretzels even more interesting.
With the success these older brands are seeing already is there room for new and upcoming brands? There is not a doubt in my mind.
One brand story that caught my attention was Positive Pretzels . The founders had always loved pretzels, but once they discovered healthier, cleaner ingredients in other food choices, they knew they could do better with their favorite snack. Their pretzels are made with three simple ingredients, artisan organic flour, organic sunflower, and sea salt. The website points out over and over again that the pretzels are vegan-friendly, have no trans fat, sugar, dairy, soy, eggs or corn syrup. They also have a Positive Impact Promise, where the brand gives back to communities, neighbors, and the planet. They vow to advocate for positivity and do their part by volunteering at local community gardens or partnering with non-profit organizations. In a sea of snack brands, their purpose could be the real differentiator. They just need to tell their most compelling story to the right consumers.
But is it worth it in such a crowded space? I would say yes. The U.S. salty snack market, which pretzels make up a big part of, is really still growing. It is expected to hit to $29 billion by 2022 up from $24 billion in 2017, which means there is space for brands who make a difference. I-Factor® can help brands figure out what story to tell and where to tell it. It provides not only quantitative data on how consumers really feel about your brand but also uncovers the why’s behind the data to help you build your most compelling brand story for your most right consumer. Want to figure out how your brand can connect in a crowded field? We can help.