Pecan Nation (thepecannation.com), leading the emergence of farm-fresh pecans into the $5.1 billion snacking nuts category, recently won the prestigious 2022 Most Innovative New Product Award from the National Confectioners Association (NCA) for its Cinnamon Roasted Pecans.
“We were up against some serious competition, including from some global snacking conglomerates, so this is really quite an honor,” said Nick Quast, vice president of sales, Pecan Nation. “Consumers are gravitating to healthier snacks, and our full line of conveniently-packaged, healthy, snacking pecans has proven to be a big year-round seller, especially throughout the South and Southeast.”
From growing to shelling to flavoring and packaging, Pecan Nation is vertically integrated and was founded by 5th generation peach and pecan family farmers who annually harvest over 30 million pounds of pecans grown on over 7,000 acres in the fertile, red clay soil of Central Georgia. Pecans are the only nut native to North America, and some trees in Pecan Nation’s orchards were planted over 75 years ago, which provides a great story for consumers who are interested in where their food comes from.
“When most people see and taste our pecans for the first time, they can’t believe they are the same nuts they’ve thought of as pecans. Our pecans are so plump, colorful and most of all, full of flavor, that there really is no comparison,” Quast continued.
Pecans are antioxidant rich and a good source of dietary fiber, healthy fats and protein. Pecans are leading the way in savory snacks as more consumers are gravitating to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. In 2021, when the overall snacking nut category grew by a respectable +2.9%, pecan sales grew by an astonishing +21.2%.
“Pecans are perfectly positioned for the confluence of consumer taste and nostalgia, but our biggest innovations, and what has made us the category leader, are the convenient, 4 ounce ‘Grab N’ Go’ packages, combined with our proprietary flavoring process,” said Quast. “Some other flavored nuts are more super-sweet, hard candy with a nut center. Pecan Nation pecans provide just enough sweet or savory flavor to satisfy any craving, while still allowing the rich taste of the pecans to shine through.”
In addition to the award-winning Cinnamon flavor, Pecan Nation pecans are currently available in Sneaky Heat, Gingerbread, Maple Crumbles, Roasted & Salted, and Natural—with more flavors under development. “Our products are currently available in over 2,500 retail grocery stores for companies such as Kroger, Walmart, Southeastern Grocers, Food City, and Ingles to name a few, but we’re seeing the greatest interest and growth in convenience and hardware channels, where we’re proudly displayed on end caps and point-of-sale displays as a quick, healthy snack option,” Quast concluded.