Me and My Brand: Joanna Allen of graze

Joanna Allen, CEO of superfood snack sensation, graze, gives us a crunchy breakdown of the secrets behind the success of this healthy but very, very tasty brand

Joanna Allen

Can you please give an overview of your brand?

From the very beginning graze has been the brand to rewrite the snacking rule-book and offer shoppers a deliciously healthy snacking experience. We started as a direct-to-consumer business, delivering healthy snacks to doorsteps, and have since expanded into retail, where we’ve seen remarkable growth. We work closely with our retail partners to ensure we have the right formats, flavours and range variety in their stores – from sweet and savoury to punnets and sharing bags, we’ve got something for every grazer and every occasion.

More recently, we’ve also worked hard to achieve our B Corp status which means that we’ve joined a strong line-up of businesses who are committed to being a force for good in the world when it comes to people, planet and profits. The recognisable B Corp logo is also now clearly displayed on our packs for shoppers to see.

How is your brand currently performing? 

We are proud to be the UK’s number one healthy snacking brand1, especially as the category continues to grow and develop. We know that we need to continue to innovate in the category to remain a leading brand and work with retailers to make healthy snacking more accessible every day. Due to our DTC business, we’re able to continuously gather consumer feedback and we use this to review and adapt our range to tap into the needs of our loyal grazers. We know that within snacking, customers are looking for variety across sweet and savoury options and graze is one of the only snacking brands that can offer both, helping retailers create a strong range for their store.

How is the healthy snacking market currently performing?

The trend towards healthy snacking has continued to remain prominent, with the category growing 8.3 per cent over the past year2. We expect this growth to continue as health becomes front and centre with the HFSS legislation on its way. Already, we know that 85 per cent of consumers in the UK want to eat healthier, and taste remains the top driver when it comes to choosing a snack, so there is great potential as we look ahead. At graze, we want to prove that snacking can be both nutritious and delicious, without compromising on taste and ingredients. All our snacks are created using natural ingredients and we never use artificial flavourings, but we do make sure that every one of our snacks packs a benefit, from protein and fibre through to superfoods.

Do you have any new product development?

Last year, we expanded our flavoursome Crunch collaboration with Britain’s most loved, and hated brand, Marmite – offering shoppers an on-the-go alternative to crisps. The Marmite Crunch Punnet is packed with veg, high in fibre and balances graze’s innovation capability and health credentials with an iconic all-star ingredient. This product is perfectly portioned at 28g with only 123kcal per portion, as well as being vegan and non-HFSS, which means retailers can stock it loudly and proudly in store.

How are you supporting your brand and NPD?

One of the biggest challenges that retailers are facing is the impending HFSS legislation. We believe HFSS offers a real growth opportunity for retailers who are looking to prioritise brands that play within healthy snacking. To help them navigate this transition as smoothly as possible, we’ve introduced category-leading HFSS data tools to advise retailers on HFSS scores of products across three categories, adapted our SRPs and packaging to give reassurance to store staff where products can be placed, and continue to implement brand-new initiatives in store – including trialling 100 per cent HFSS compliant gondola ends. As always, we would encourage retailers to get in touch with us to ask for more advice on how to make the most of the category and what’s best for their store.

How important are independent retailers to your brand?

graze’s formats are suited to convenience shops, as they are perfectly portioned on-the-go snack punnets. Snacking is more often than not impulsive, which strengthens our performance within convenience, so it’s important for us to help independent retailers capitalise on the opportunity in this channel. We also know that retailers are the mouthpiece to our customers and can communicate new launches to those looking for a new healthy snack. Retailers can reach out to [email protected] for more information on new products, POS materials, displays and formats which could work for their store.

What trends are occurring in the sector?

Now, more than ever, shoppers want snacks and treats that fit into their healthy lifestyles, that deliver on indulgence without the extra calories and additives. Our advice to retailers would be to stock healthy alternatives to the more traditional options on shelf. Products like our crisp alternative, Smoky Barbecue Crunch, which is 30 per cent lower in fat than the average crisp, alongside sweeter options such as our Chocolate Cookie Oat Boosts, also 45 per cent lower in sugar than the average cereal bar, will provide shoppers with a snack that tastes just as good, or better, than what customers might usually reach for.

We’ve also made sure that popular flavours in our Crunch and Oat Boosts range come in a punnet and multi-pack, with Crunch also available in a sharing-bag format for every snacking moment. This will answer the growing demand for different formats to suit different occasions – whether that’s at home, out and about or in the evening.

Describe your brand in three words …

Fun, wholesome and tasty.

[1]Millward Brown Brand Tracking, 2021

2graze is growing at 15.6% value sales over the last 52 weeks