In the healthy snack business, it doesn’t pay to be stale, and Mister Snacks Inc. is working hard to constantly bring fresh new products to market. “We’re large enough to take care of our current customers and many many more,” says national sales manager, Steve Letourneau, “but the nice thing about being a smaller company is that we are willing to try new items. We don’t have a large R&D department. We don’t go out and take six months to survey people. Instead, we see something, we think it might work, we try it.”
That openness to invention drives sales for the snack maker’s customers. “People always look to see new things,” says Letourneau. “Replace something every once in a while, bring in something fresh. We try a lot of new things quickly.” It’s easy to mix up a new product, since the company has just one location in Amherst, NY, near Buffalo. “We have one facility, where we package different types of snacks. We bring in raw materials, like nuts and pineapple and banana chips, and use different formulas to make unique snacks, such as our Buffalo Wing Nuts, which are sweet and spicy.”
That’s just one of the hundreds of product varieties Mister Snacks offers, including four or five new ones that the company introduces each year, according to Letourneau. “Our sizes range from a one ounce package to a two pound bag. We also sell private label goods, and there could be up to 30 items in each private label line.” Sunbird Snacks, the company’s high end product which has seven lines, makes up 80 percent of their business. The most popular is the Big Bag line, a four to six ounce size which has over 70 varieties. Most of those products are healthy snacks. “Steve Stern started the company about 30 years ago,” says Letourneau. “He saw a niche for healthy snacking. It wasn’t a fad, and it’s still a major portion of our business. Our focus has been on options for people looking for healthier snacks.”
As a manufacturer and supplier, Mister Snacks has a lot to offer retailers. “We keep our minimum very low for our wholesale sales, 100 twelve count cases, that is. Twelve packages per case, 100 case minimum. We have signage that’s available,” Letourneau reports. Although our best point of display tool is the package itself, we also have fixtures available on a cost share basis. We also have route distributors who come in and service our racks, and sales people are checking the product in stores, too.”
Another tool Mister Snacks offers is its Internet site. “Our website is most definitely an important part of our business. It makes it a lot easier for people to find the info they are looking for,” says Letourneau. “We offer a consumer friendly site at sunbirdsnacks.com, and a trade site at mistersnacks.com. People can do searches for wholesale snacks or healthy snacks.”
Last year the down economy did affect the 30 employee company. “We deal with a lot of resorts and travel-tourist people. Obviously, people didn’t have the money for getting away, travel was down, vacations were down, and it hurt our business,” Letourneau notes. But it seems to be a rosier picture this year. Customers are ordering a little more, and business is coming back. “Healthy eating is not a fad, it’s a trend that will continue,” says Letourneau.
For more information:
Mister Snacks Inc.
500 Creekside Drive
Amherst, NY 14228
Toll Free: 800-333-6393
Email: please use form on website