Growers Garden reformulation
22 July 2021
“Our advice to businesses looking to reformulate? Talk to other people who have done it already. And do taste tests and focus groups with consumers – you need to understand what different people think.”
- Fruit & Vegetable Processing / Preserving
Reformulating our broccoli crisps will help us reach new stockists and reduce VAT
Growers Garden is a farmers’ collective in Fife, producing tasty broccoli crisps. We use farm-fresh vegetables that are too small or too big for supermarkets, and our snacks are gluten-free, vegan-friendly, high-fibre and low-calorie. As well as making our own recipes, we produce snacks for other businesses.
Making a healthy snack even healthier
Our broccoli crisps have always been healthy, containing at least 27% fresh broccoli. But we recently looked at the market opportunities and direction, and decided to reformulate.
Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland’s Reformulation for Health programme has been
helpful in highlighting the benefits of this, giving encouragement and advice.
Opportunity 1: new markets
The first opportunity we identified was to make our crisps eligible for healthyliving award caterers, such as sandwich and coffee shops, gyms and independent or workplace cafes.
Hundreds of businesses across the Scotland have the award, and must ensure that at least 50% of their products are classed as healthy living. For bought in products, such as crisps, this means that products meet the requirements for green and amber traffic light nutritional labelling. If our crisps count towards that 50%, we can potentially gain stockists and sales – especially since just under half (44%) of adults in the UK see snacks as a good way to boost their nutritional intake (Mintel 2019).
To go after this opportunity, we need to reduce salt content from 2.1% to 1.5%.
Opportunity 2: competitive pricing
The second opportunity is to reduce potato content.
Potato crisps are subject to VAT at 20% but many other savoury snacks have zero VAT. It’s a surprisingly complex legal area, but the main point is that by reducing potato to the third ingredient, we can sell our snacks VAT-free. That will make the price more attractive to consumers – and therefore stockists.
The first phase of reformulation involved desk research by our food technologist, going back to the basics of our recipes. We then used our pilot lab to do small product runs – testing texture, taste and appearance. Finally, we did consumer research, doing taste tests with focus groups.
Salt: After looking at the options, we simply reduced the salt. The taste tests showed that consumers didn’t miss it or want more, and that our existing flavourings such as chilli and cheese were enough in themselves.
Potato: We found a supplier who could offer pre-gelatinised cornflour that has a potato flavour. This helps us reduce the potato content to the third ingredient, and is still a natural ingredient. We also made a small increase to the broccoli content to replace potato.
The final piece of the project is independent nutritional testing, to confirm we’ve hit our nutritional goals. Then we can take our reformulated crisps out to the market, backed by a brand refresh and packaging that reinforces the healthy eating message.
We will also use our reformulation experience when we produce extruded snacks for other brands – making their snacks healthier too. We already make cauliflower and Brussels sprouts snacks for customers, and know we can use other vegetables for healthy snacks – kale, carrots, peas, or pretty much anything.
There’s a great market opportunity out there which we are now well placed to capture.
Did you know?
Almost 70% of consumers actively support the idea of reformulating products.
Food and Drink Federation Scotland’s Reformulation for Health programme offers support to small to medium-sized companies, both FDF members and non-members.