Kar’s Nuts has been providing consumers with a wide variety of snack choices dating back to 1933 when Sue Kar used her tiny home kitchen across the street from Tiger Stadium in Detroit to roast and sell peanuts to Tiger fans. Today, its award-winning Sweet ‘n Salty Mix in the little purple bag is America’s best-selling brand of trail mix.
Seeing the tremendous growth potential, New York-based private equity firm Palladium Equity Partners LLC, purchased a majority stake in the company and led the charge to help expand the brand from its Midwest Michigan roots across the East and West coasts.
With snacking trends moving toward “better-for-you,” choices, they partnered with Seattle-based brand strategy firm, Retail Voodoo, to create a two-tiered strategy.
The design agency research confirmed that two distinct audience types would be loyal to each brand with little overlap. They could effectively bookend the snack nuts category by repositioning and rebranding their namesake brand as, ‘The American Trail Mix’ — focused on American classics flavors, and bring the clean ingredient functional food strategy into the ‘Second Nature' line of products.” This empowered their internal teams to establish a thematic approach to innovation from ingredient selection, manufacturing and to influence the marketplace by bookending the category of snack nuts and trail mixes.
The brand team then began redesigning the logo and packaging. Tapping into its hometown pride, and recapturing its legacy, Retail Voodoo recommended they use the tagline: ‘Detroit Born 1938,’ on all the packaging. Further paying homage to its roots, a baseball theme was designed for the look and feel – one that evokes the earlier version of their packaging, but with contemporary cues to reflect quality and freshness.
The American Trail Mix evolves the overall portfolio from a single hit (Sweet ’N Salty) to a thematic suite of innovation with regional storytelling opportunities for penetration into new markets (East and West coasts).
The new products have started to roll out in select stores nationwide.