Bookend the Trail Mix Category Sources: IRI, Spins, Kar Nut Company

Kar Nut Company 360° Brand Strategy


Ready to Expand Beyond Michigan Roots

  • Private label dominates the category
  • Lots of regional players
  • Little to no brand awareness despite strong sales


Establish a brand architecture for two brands without cannibalizing each other


  • 40% of people plan for and purchase snacks in advance
  • Traditional snackers: crave variety, want taste and to satisfy hunger
  • Fitness/wellness snackers: read labels, shy away from ingredients they don’t understand
  • Consumers seek snacks that fuse new flavors and deliver new functionality


  • Reposition Kar’s as “The American Trail Mix”
  • Prioritize functional snacking and indulgent culinary flavors for Second Nature
  • Establish innovation programs to drive ingredient selection and manufacturing

Go-to-market Strategy:

Kar’s Nuts: Detroit Born 1933: The American Trail Mix
Second Nature: Instinctively Good Snacking Ought to be Second Nature


  • Bookended the trail mix category
  • Kar’s is the bestselling trail mix in the U.S.

Scope of Work

  • Audits & Analysis
  • Audience Insights
  • Research & Insights
  • Trend Analysis
  • Brand Positioning
  • Visual Strategy
  • Packaging Design
  • Branded Ecosystem
  • Sales Collateral
  • Photography Guidelines
  • Brand Bible

We helped Kar’s and Second Nature use brand architecture, brand positioning and product innovation to successfully bookend the trail mix category. What’s your brand’s growth challenge?


“What I appreciated most was the interactive nature of the process. In the end we feel that we evolved as a company in our understanding of what distinguishes our brands. This creative yet disciplined approach produced results that energized the entire organization.”

- S. McKinnon, VP Sales & Marketing, Kar Nut Company