Tyson debuts Yappah protein crisps – Consumer News

on May31

31 May 2018 | 3:56 pm

Six months after launching an innovation lab to explore food products that aren’t, well, chicken, Tyson Foods today debuted a brand of protein crisps that “upcycle” food waste.

The crisps, which use spent grain from beer brewers and vegetable pulp from juice stores, are the first product to be marketed under a new brand, Yappah, that Tyson’s innovation team will expand in the coming months.

The name “is inspired by a tradition from my home country of Ecuador and the whole South American region,” says Santi Proano, a senior associate brand manager at Tyson who is one of eight employees now fully dedicated to the innovation lab, based in the West Loop. After making a sale, food vendors “throw in a little freebie that might otherwise get tossed at the end of the day.”

Tyson, the largest meatpacker in the U.S., bought Chicago-based Hillshire Brands, the packaged-meat spinoff of Sara Lee, for $8.55 billion in 2014. headquarters.

The company, which has more than 122,000 employees worldwide, has been trying to jumpstart innovation through a variety of channels. Earlier this month, it co-led a $2.2 million seed investment in an Israeli startup that aims to affordably produce meat from animal cells, without the need to raise or harvest livestock.

In December, Tyson raised its stake in Beyond Meat, a plant-based burger manufacturer.

The Yappah protein crisps are a light, puff-like take on a traditional Southeast Asian shrimp cracker. Less than five months after the Tyson team came up with the idea, the crisps are now available in four flavors via a campaign on crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. The point of the campaign, the team says, is not to raise money but to learn more about how customers respond.

“We can learn a lot about the pricing, packaging, product experience and brand communication,” says Rizal Hamdallah, a senior marketing director at Tyson who leads the innovation lab. The crowdsourcing test is part of the lab’s attempt to act like a startup company, he says. “We created a very different team structure and we use tools in design thinking to create a minimum viable product” extremely quickly. The idea is to introduce the product to the market and improve it in near-real-time based on customer reaction.

Solving the problem of food waste was a priority from the start of the project, according to the Yappah team. Tyson provides trimmings from chicken breast, while Molson Coors offers spent grain from brewing. Vegetable Juices, a Bedford Park purveyor of juices, concentrates and purees, donates its pulp, which had previously gone to the landfill because the company did not produce enough volume to warrant investment in a composting or animal-feed set-up.

The idea of reusing veggie refuse isn’t new to chefs, who are masters of wringing value from produce. “A lot of Italian sauces start with a pulp—a Bolognese has carrots, celery,” points out Kang Kuan, Tyson’s executive research and development chef who runs Yappah’s culinary development. “The ‘a ha!’ moment came when Santi and I sat in a room with consumers who were saying, “I wish my kids would stop eating so many carbohydrate-heavy snacks.”

The four types of Yappah crisps—chicken curry and chicken celery, from veggie purees, plus chicken IPA white cheddar and chicken shandy, from Molson Coors’ grain—each contain 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving. They’re sold in single-serving “tall-boy” containers that resemble beer cans with pull-tab tops and will retail for $2.99 each. “Rather than going for a mainstream buffalo chicken flavor, we decided to let the (upcycled) ingredients take the lead in the flavor profile,” Kuan says.

The team is now turning its attention to its next six-month “sprint” to create another product under the Yappah brand. A couple of months from now, it’ll gather the data from the crisps’ Indiegogo test and undertake another testing and improvement period.

“By testing on a small scale with a low-level investment, we’re embracing the idea that everything we do won’t necessarily be a success,” Proano says. But with additional iterations and improvements borne of research, he says, the goal is to move the Yappah brand out of the innovation lab and into a Tyson business unit as a full-fledged brand.



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