General Mills enters keto space with yogurt offerings while Fat Snax reveals new cookies – FoodIngredientsFirst

18 Sep 2020 — Two new snack lines have joined the growing keto NPD space, which involves consuming high amounts of fat and low amounts of carbohydrates. However, a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) study revealed the potential benefits of a high-carb and low-fat diet.

This week, Fat Snax launched Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies and Mini Cookies, both containing 2 net carbs. Meanwhile, General Mills released :ratio, a family of five yogurts and a new snack bar, making this the company’s “first-ever keto-friendly snack line.”

“The efficacy of the keto diet is fueling word-of-mouth recommendations. Simply put, keto works and that is what is ultimately driving the trend. The keto community is super strong online and offline, and chock-full of inspiring success stories,” Fat Snax founder Jeff Frese tells NutritionInsight.

“I predict that keto and low-carb will continue to grow over time because they work. You don’t need to starve yourself or deprive yourself when you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, and that’s what I think makes the lifestyle so appealing,” he adds.

Click to Enlarge“You don’t need to starve yourself or deprive yourself when you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, and that’s what I think makes the lifestyle so appealing,” says Frese.

Keto yogurts
Meanwhile, the :ratio product portfolio features yogurt dairy snacks and crunchy bars that deliver on “protein, rich flavor, texture and convenience,” says General Mills. The company’s new keto-friendly snacks provide 2 g of net carbs and 1 g of sugar per serving.

“We decided to break into the Keto category, as it is continuing to grow in popularity. In 2019, ‘keto’ was the most searched diet term,” a General Mills spokesperson tells NutritionInsight.

“We believe consumers are looking for more options and variety to meet their lifestyle choices and we have doubled down with :ratio to be a new destination brand for more options and categories.”

New to the yogurt aisle, :ratio dairy snacks bring an indulgent creaminess with five fruit-forward flavor options: Strawberry, Coconut, Vanilla, Mango and Black Cherry. Meanwhile, the crunchy bars are available in Lemon Almond and Toasted Almond featuring almonds and pumpkin seeds.

Snack R&D challenges
General Mills’ :ration launch was “over a year in the making,” the company spokesperson details. 

At Fat Snax, investing in research and development can be “very” cost-intensive. Doing so, however, has “paid off in terms of product quality and taste,” but costs continue to rise in parallel with its sales.

“The biggest challenge is making products that taste great and are still low-carb and keto. Many ‘keto-friendly’ brands out there use highly glycemic ingredients, which will kick you out of ketosis. Our products will not kick you out of ketosis nor significantly raise your blood glucose levels and, most importantly, taste amazing,” Frese affirms. 

Instead of regular flour, Fat Snax uses almond flour and coconut flour. “When I first started experimenting with baking my own keto cookies back in 2015, there weren’t a lot of recipes out there [of which] to model my ratios off.

“We’ve had to experiment a lot to figure out how to balance our ingredients to make snacks that have that satisfying texture similar to high-carb snacks. Finding bakers who can recreate our exact test-kitchen processes en-mass is a whole other story,” he explains.

Click to Enlarge:ratio is a new weight management brand from General Mills that exists to appeal to keto-curious consumers.With “a ton of new snacks in the works,” Frese predicts that the keto trend will continue to grow. “More importantly, consumer’s desire for healthy low-carb options filled with healthy fats will continue to rise,” he concludes.

Keto diet trending
The keto diet is shifting more into the “lifestyle” category, Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, previously shared with NutritionInsight. According to the market researcher’s data, new F&B launches with a keto claim grew 239 percent from 2018 to 2019, in comparison to 53 percent for plant-based and 13 percent for protein-rich. 

Frese notes that Fat Snax has been “around before the keto trend even took off.” When the brand began selling low-carb and keto products in 2016, Frese recalls having the term “fat” in a brand name was “a death sentence.”

Innova Market Insights pegs “Macronutrient Makeover” as its sixth top trend for 2020. Evolving consumer perceptions of macronutrients concerning health is triggering changes beyond product reformulation, including category flips and balanced concepts.

“We’ve built our brand around growing consumer awareness around the negative effects of high-carb intake. You can eat fat and be fit,” Frese maintains.

Research reassesses carb and fat intake
A new study from the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) begs to differ. It found that consuming a high level of carbohydrates regulates a gene that can reduce the risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. 

Meanwhile, a high fat intake was found to reduce this protection and potentially lead to health problems for those who regularly consume fatty foods.

“This is exciting for nutrition research because it gives insight on how balanced nutrition can affect our health, from the perspective of an important, but single gene called CPT1A,” says ARS Scientist Dr. Chao-Qiang Lai. 

“I can’t say that eating all carbs will prevent you from developing Type 2 diabetes and I can’t say that avoiding fat will protect you from obesity. A balanced intake of carbohydrate and fat may be the best way to prevent metabolic diseases.”

By Anni Schleicher

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.

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