A couple of weeks ago, #NationalBreakfastWeek was trending on twitter in the UK. We took the opportunity to highlight six new breakfast products that launched in the UK, US and central Europe. Since then, we’ve come across a new US start-up called Native State Foods. Claiming to be the “next evolution in breakfast”, the company’s recently launched range, Purely Pinole, aims to make pinole, an ancient Aztec power food, a breakfast staple in the US. We spoke with Angela Palmieri, co-founder of Native State Foods, about pinole and what 2016 holds for the brand.
Tell us about Purely Pinole. Why is it the “next evolution in breakfast”?
Purely Pinole is an ancient Aztec power food – a recipe created centuries ago for energy and endurance and powered by purple maize, cacao and other special ingredients. We are the first company to introduce pinole to the US market through our line of premium, authentic, and delicious breakfast and snacking options. We believe Purely Pinole is the next evolution in breakfast because it provides the consumer with a 360°, nutrient-packed breakfast like never before.
What ingredients have you used and what are their health benefits?
Purely Pinole’s nutrient power and great taste come from its unique combination of powerful, premium ingredients that give you the staying power you need throughout the day. Its cornerstone ingredient is a rare variety of non-GMO purple maize, which traces its origins to the Incas and contains high levels of free-radical fighting antioxidants – in fact, the maize alone uniquely delivers around twice the antioxidant power of blueberries. We also use a 100% pure, Fairtrade cacao; organic blue agave; a blend of flavours; spices; and real fruit. Together these provide high fibre, high protein, whole grains, and antioxidants in every bowl.
Why do you think pinole isn’t more widely consumed?
After hundreds of years, pinole is still primarily made by hand in Central America. Consumed predominantly in rural areas, making pinole is quite a lengthy process. Traditionally this includes slow-roasting and smoking the ingredients in an adobe – or wood-burning – oven, and then grinding them with a stone and pestle to create a unique, textured blend. We worked diligently and with great care to build a proprietary process here in the US that mimics this ancient handmade process. Our goal was to preserve pinole’s complex flavour system and defining texture.
Who is your target market and how do you plan to attract this audience?
Purely Pinole is for those seeking a delicious and more nutritious start to the day. Pinole has a rich history in that it has been providing energy and fuelling endurance for hundreds of years – from the Aztec warriors to the modern-day Tarahumara Indians of Mexico (featured in the book Born to Run, and who run hundreds of miles nearly barefoot over rugged terrain with pinole). Our focus is the modern, health-conscious consumer that lives an active, fit lifestyle – and more specifically who views the outdoors as their playground. Channelling the rich history of pinole, we work to inspire our consumers to find adventure. And we want to provide the power and energy they need to discover more, live better, and play harder.
Tell us about your packaging. Why did you decide upon a pouch format?
For our first introduction of pinole to the US consumer we wanted to capture the most authentic experience of the food, and that was as a wholesome hot cereal. Our stovetop blend allows consumers to experience making pinole for themselves – including unlocking its unique, delicious aroma that fills the kitchen as it’s prepared. The multi-serve pouch format was perfect for this experience and provides consumers with a week’s worth of nutrient-packed pinole for a strong start every day.
What challenges did you face trying to convey your brand’s message on pack?
It can always be a challenge introducing a new food to the consumer and so we worked very closely with our branding team to carefully craft our messaging as well as the look and feel of the bag. Design was important to us and we wanted a very clean, modern look but one that could simultaneously still evoke the historical roots of pinole in Aztec culture. And, we wanted to quickly communicate pinole’s superior nutritional benefits without significant clutter on the front of the bag. This was a tough balance to strike. We love where we landed but are continuing to make improvements all of the time!
What does 2016 hold for Purely Pinole?
Given the excitement in the marketplace for innovative, plant-based foods, and better nutrition, 2016 will be a big year for Purely Pinole. In addition to our original, blueberry and banana, and tart cherry and lemon stovetop blends hitting a number of major retailers, we will debut a new Grab & Go cup line in the coming months that will offer our consumers even further convenience. Already there is a significant buzz building around Purely Pinole and we look forward to growing the brand and sharing better nutrition with the world!
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