BakeryandSnacks caught up with founder and CEO Matt Weiss at Sweets and Snacks, held in late May in Chicago, US.
“We are a New York-based snack manufacturer focused on the power of the peel,” said Weiss.
“All the nutrition, all the fibre, is concentrated in the skin of the fruit, and yet it’s the most commonly discarded food scrap. So, it has been our mission as a brand to build an exciting portfolio of snacks that maximises nutrition and minimises food waste,” said Weiss, noting he based this on lessons from his great-grandmother, a health food pioneer in the 1920s who lived to the grand age of 100 years.
“She used to preach roots, rinds, seeds and stems, all the forgotten scraps of produce that house the most nutrition. She lived to a hundred and she was full of vitality, even later in life, and that always stuck with me. So, when I started the snack brand, it was her influence and her entrepreneurial spirit that brought this forward.”
Giving ‘waste’ a second life
Rind is fully rooted in sustainability – using rescued fruit that is considered too ripe or bruised for retail and upcycling not just bits, but the whole fruit.
“We’re able to help eliminate hundreds of thousands of pounds of edible peels from going to food waste. We think it’s a very big idea to partner with a citrus juice manufacturer. Orange juice, interesting, is the fourth most consumed beverage in the US after water, coffee and tea.”
However, Weiss said most of the juice comes from concentrate and doesn’t have the benefits from the fibre-rich peel, so a wealth is there for the taking in reclaiming the spent grinds from the juicing process.
Giving fruit a ‘second life’ comes with a lot of exciting eating experiences, such as Rind’s line of chewy fruit blends (launched in 2018), its single ingredient, thin-cut fruit with the rind on – “an infinitely healthier alternative to a fried potato or a grain-based snack, but it still delivers on that craveable crunch that snackers are looking for” – and now, a line of @even more craveable” chips that have a little bit of seasoning – taking “us even further into the savoury and sweet category.”
Weiss said the pandemic was a crucible moment for Rind, like it was for many young brands.
“I think it actually strengthened us in many ways … we were the kind of the brand that was ‘born’ during that period, so we were very fortunate to [guage] the fast-changing landscape of grocery with lockdowns, quarantines, then stock up and [pivot towards] subscription boxes and online platforms. Retail is obviously still the bulk of the business, but it’s balanced by a number of other omnichannel retailers.
“There’s no shortage of challenges out there in the market, but I think that’s true of any moment in time. So, we have a ‘no excuses’ philosophy,” said Weiss.
The power of the prince
“We’re a young brand and we see opportunity everywhere.”
It’s this thinking that has garnered Rind ardent followers like Prince Harry and Kim Kardashian.
“On social, we’re actually investing in influencers to support our retail activations,” said Weiss.
“We live in a world where demos are no longer what they were – that ability to drive trial – but you can do that in digital ways using content, using influencers, using digital couponing. So, that’s what we’re doing to keep our partners happy and excited.
“We have been very fortunate to have found our way organically into some of the biggest influencers, whether it’s their car snacks like Prince Harry last August or Kim Kardashian’s pantry, which happened just last month: we are one of the smallest brands to show up in their stable of snacks. And that’s an honour.”