Premium yogurt varieties that outperform sugary fare are one of the fastest growing segments of the category—with Greek yogurt, skyr, and similar offerings proving a disruptive influence and capturing marketshare at the expense of traditional offerings.
Slingshot Foods’ Shorties are a unique addition to this new crop of high-quality and healthy products. After taking on adult nutrition with the company’s Shakes—a 12 oz high-protein, low sugar yogurt accompanied by a healthy and delicious shot of granola, chia, almonds, and oats—Founder Will Hartley, turned his attention to another segment of the yogurt market.
“I think we do something that is pretty different from most other businesses that are out there—food businesses in particular,” said Will. “We start by trying to understand the job that the product is expected to do. For Shakes, that’s all about helping people that need help having a good breakfast; that’s our solution—oriented specifically to that problem—breakfast skipping or grabbing beige food (like bagels or pastries) on the way to work. We wanted to solve that.”
With Shorties, on the other hand, Will noted that the company wanted to also tackle the after-school pickup—to give parents a nutritious alternative to snack-time staples that are generally high glycemic carbohydrates with no satiety power to keep kids going until dinnertime. And while Slingshot Foods had a healthy solution to an adult’s skipped breakfast with its Shakes, the problems of addressing pickup required some tweaking.
“One of the things I discovered with my kids, personally, especially my youngest daughter—she would not use the ‘shot’ or the seeds 50 or 60 percent of the time, and we started digging into that a little bit. It turned out William, our head of operations, his kid was the same way. I think it’s a textural thing. Our patented ‘crunchy shot’ is incredibly appealing to kids age 12 or 13 and older, but with those kids before the age of 11 or 12, it’s kind of hit and miss,” said Will. “We also took a look at the serving size and recognized that this may have been a little too big of a package for these little guys. We went from 12 oz to 8 oz, took out the shot, and found out that our protein levels were really something that set us apart from other kids products.”
The result of some simple trial and error was a unique take on the kid’s category with some unparalleled health and flavor characteristics.
“We started stacking up the nutritionals on Shorties versus other kids stuff that’s out there … and the more we’ve looked around the more we’ve thought ‘we’re in a pretty good spot here,’” Will explained. “We don’t use any preservatives. We don’t use any stabilizers or gels or guar gum or any of the stuff that is pretty rampant in the kid’s section. And, from a protein perspective, there’s really no other kids product out there that we’ve found that has any anywhere close to the amount of protein we have in our 8 oz bottles.”
And with a price point of $7.99 for a four pack, Will added, Slingshot Foods’ latest product line is filling a niche that is very much underserved—the premium kid’s yogurt market. By using the best possible ingredients to achieve two flavors of all-natural, super-healthful superfood, Slingshot Foods has extended the scope of the premium yogurt category while addressing parents concerns over the healthiness and functionality of their children’s snacks.
“Typically companies develop a prototype that fits a particular cost-of-goods profile, and then they’re off to the races,” said Will. “We don’t do that; we start from a very different place, and it’s one of the reasons, I think, the larger conglomerates would never be able to make the products we make. The initial screen that they usually do during product development is a cost-of-goods assessment, and then they run a pro forma based on the gross margins that they’d make. I think most product developers would look at our cost of goods and think ‘no way, that’s a non-starter’ and move on. We’ve never done that – and that’s why we have been able to innovate in a very competitive category.”
For more on fresh and innovative products in the dairy space, keep reading Deli Market News.