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Food Innovation Strategy Example: S’noods

Food Innovation Strategy Example: S’noods

From Netflix to a Store Near You?

What are S’noods? Not to be confused with the snood, a kind of “traditionally female headgear,” S’noods is an emerging snack brand that combines snackable portability with the comfort and nostalgia of a bowl of noodles. They have not started to sell their product, but they are hoping to take the snack world by storm soon. S’noods emerged from Netflix’s new show, Snack vs. Chef. I binged it over the course of one evening when I wasn’t feeling very well, and I give the show three out of five stars… but S’noods has the potential to be a five star food innovation strategy example!

Food Innovation Strategy Example:
Prototyping S’noods

The reality TV show challenges chefs to compete in the kitchen to see who can recreate commercial snacks, like Pringles and Cheetos. It also asks chefs to come up with their own original snack ideas. A prototype of S’noods was developed as one of those original snack ideas, which were not only evaluated on the show for their taste, but also for their marketability. S’noods was praised for its novel flavors and possible marketability. 

Why is the company, and their food innovation strategy, so promising? Let’s dive in.

First, S’noods has a media-savvy edge. The team behind S’noods is the winner and runner-up of Snack vs. Chef, Lauryn Bodden and Sandy Dee Hall. These two charmed audiences on the show. Bodden (who won the show with a prototype of S’noods, and showcased noodle snacks on more than one occasion) was especially savvy to recruit Hall, who has a very sympathetic backstory. Hall is an orphan who grew up in group homes, yet he put himself through college after serving in the armed forces, and is now an entrepreneur. In a country that idolizes the self-made-man, Hall’s legitimately inspiring backstory (in addition to his other skills, of course) make him a great asset as one of the faces of the brand.

Food Innovation Strategy Example: S’noods

Food Innovation Strategy Example:
Funding through Kickstarter

Due to its start on Netflix, the team at S’noods already has an advantage for this food innovation strategy example: the startup is already more visible. 

S’noods quickly exceeded its initial target for Kickstarter funding, having raised about $31,500 even though its initial goal was only $30,000. This is an especially impressive feat because Snack vs. Chef premiered in late 2022, and the Kickstarter campaign met its goal at the end of January 2023. 

This speedy fundraising success illustrates a general principle of innovation strategy that also applies to food innovation strategy: the importance of influencers and personal likability on social media. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that the global influence market: 

“grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to… a whopping $16.4 billion industry [in 2022].” 

As the positioning strategy of influencer marketing becomes larger and larger, it is more and more useful for the founders of companies to have a media presence themselves. Both the Netflix exposure and Hall’s powerful story were no doubt helpful to the success of the S’noods kickstarter campaign.

Food Innovation Strategy Example:
Trends in Snacks

S’noods is not just a good food innovation strategy example because it is media-savvy, however. Lauryn Bodden and Sandy Hall have picked up on a number of snack market trends, specifically premiumization and sustainability. 

S’noods is a good example of premiumization. Premiumization is what it sounds like: a shift towards a more premium image for many brands. Especially in the alcoholic beverage category, premium products are seeing disproportionate growth, but this is happening across different categories of consumables, including snacks. According to Databridge Market Research, “premiumization [is] driving development” in the snacks category, with more customers looking to snacks to provide a premium experience. 

The kickstarter campaign describes S’noods as “a chef-driven noodle snack inspired by global cuisines,” and much of the rest of the marketing material highlights that: 

  1. the product was created by chefs
  2. the product will provide a gateway to “global cuisines.” 

Indeed, much of the marketing material for S’noods promises that the snack will transport you to a different place; watching the episode where Bodden developed the S’noods idea originally, this seems to have been her core concept. Noodles are not always thought of as premium, but “chef-driven” noodles that draw their inspiration from “global cuisines” are certainly trying to position themselves as premium. By emphasizing these elements of the S’noods vision, the company is able to incorporate premiumization into their food innovation strategy. 

Another element of the S’noods food innovation strategy that fits market trends is their commitment to sustainability, which they express through upcycling. According to media analytics firm Commetric

upcycling has become an emerging trend among consumers who want to draw attention to the problems of overproduction and overconsumption.” 

Commetric also found that between March 2020 and March 2022, the food industry was the second most mentioned industry in news articles about upcycling (following the fashion industry). Upcycling responds to consumer concerns about food waste and sustainability, and S’noods is responsive to these concerns. As the kickstarter page for S’noods notes: 

“many of our snacks use produce, protein, and grains that would otherwise get trashed, improving sustainability from farmer’s seed to exceeding expectations.”

Check out the Insight to Action article “Reusable Water Bottle Growth Strategy Example” for more data on sustainability as a market focus.

Interestingly, the focus on sustainability seems to be Hall’s influence, which really showcases the utility of collaboration in this food innovation strategy example. While Bodden pitched S’noods as a nostalgic, premium snack on the finale of Snack vs. Chef, it was Hall’s entry to the finale competition (a specially-seasoned type of popcorn) that used ingredient upcycling as a key selling point. 

While the pair are moving forward with Bodden’s winning entry, they seem to have capitalized on part of Hall’s concept as well. We can see that as a leader, Bodden has not just demonstrated savvy by bringing on the charismatic Hall, but also flexibility, as she was able to adopt some of his most marketable ideas while still maintaining the core identity of her own product. This dynamic demonstrates the truly collaborative element of the S’noods food innovation strategy. 

Food Innovation Strategy Example: S’noods

Food Innovation Strategy Example:
Snacks Themselves are a Growing Trend

Finally, S’noods is capitalizing on a broader trend within the food market, which is important to a good food innovation strategy. Broadly speaking, the snack market has grown more and more popular. According to a report by Grand View Research, the pandemic only accelerated the growth of the snack food market, with more consumers spending more time at home and working from home more, even as the acute phase of the pandemic has ended. Savory snacks are expected to grow most quickly. S’noods is capitalizing on this trend by bringing new flavors to a growing market. 

While a cameo on a television show and a successful kickstarter campaign are good signs for any brand, only time will tell whether this S’noods food innovation strategy example will bear fruit. The founders are media-savvy, and they hope to capitalize on market trends like the overall growth of the snack industry, along with premiumization and sustainability/upcycling. 

However, the product does not fit every market trend: for example, consumers are looking more and more for snacks that fit within a healthy diet, and given that S’noods seem to be fried noodles, they are probably not going to fit that niche. At the same time, not every product can meet every trend. Hopefully, the strengths of the product can propel S’noods to success. In any case, I hope someday I can try a bag!

Insight to Action can help with your company’s food innovation strategy. Our founder, Michal Clements, is an expert in food marketing, with decades of experience. Our resources page has more examples of food innovation strategy, as well as information on market segmentation, positioning, competitor analysis, and more. If you want to speak with a member of our team about these topics, we also offer office hours. You can keep up with our latest insights by subscribing to our newsletter.