Food Truck Trend Hits Snack Aisle

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Wise FoodsWhen thoughts turned to potato chip flavor innovation at Wise Foods, Inc., executives looked to a platform that’s trusted, trending and offers great taste experiences — food trucks.

“Food trucks can be anything, and they’re increasing our food variety,” explains Jeremy Bjork, chief marketing officer at Wise. “They can have fantastic chefs and cooks, and they provide lots of discovery. Plus, there’s only so much brick and mortar that can be developed out there.”

In fact, the National Restaurant Association estimates food trucks generate $650 million in annual revenue, roughly 1 percent of U.S. restaurant sales. Research firm Intuit reports market share could jump to 3 or 4 percent in the next five years. “In other words, food trucks are not a fad but a viable market segment with significant competitive advantages over quick-serve, fast-food and take-out food vendors,” Intuit reports.

Promoting Truck Owners

The results of this inspiration are Wise’s two new chip flavors: Beef Barbacoa and Loaded Chili Cheese Dog, part of the new Food Truck Favorites line.

“We worked with our sales team, searching for tried and true food trucks, along with what’s hot and new,” Bjork says. They determined that Papaya King, a hot dog and tropical fruit drink purveyor with stores and trucks in New York, and “up-and-coming” Northeast of the Border, a truck serving Mexican food in Boston, were offering the right combination of what they sought.

CST_16-4 WiseFoods_1The chips, launched in April, play well with millennials, along with a range of ages that frequent food trucks, Bjork tells Candy & Snack TODAY.

Potato chips carry the flavors well, he says, because, as a base, they are not overpowering. “We went through numerous iterations to get the flavors to pop right.” Since consumers enjoy discovery, he says the plan is to refresh the flavors with new introductions twice per year.

As part of the truck tie-in, truck owners that inspired the flavors are pictured on the back of chip bags, to help support their businesses and promote authenticity, as well as a sense of community. In return, truck owners promote the chips through social media channels. CST