Handfuel innovates its way into a competitive new space

The healthy snacking brand has launched a new nut cluster product on the heels of a packaging refresh and retail expansion.



Healthy snacking brand Handfuel has entered into a new – and more competitive – product category with a clustered nut product in a bid to further grow its brand and expand its shelf presence.

Founded by Toronto-born entrepreneur Cole Richman in 2017, Handfuel started as a brand with a single family recipe that used almonds, lemon juice and sea salt.  The brand grew slowly, adding new nut products to its line as it developed a loyal customer base through word of mouth.

It has been building upon those successes by expanding its retail presence to 2,400 stores across Canada over the past three years, including in major grocers such as Sobey’s and Loblaws. That expansion has helped the brand grow its revenue by 300% over a three-year period, according to Richman, who also serves as Handfuel’s CEO.

This past year, the brand partnered with WestJet to get its products in the hands of passengers across Canada – driving more trial and, potentially, creating new customers.

Handfuel_FitnessHandfuel also revisited its packaging, developing a new look that better stands out at shelf, Richman says.

The new packages feature prominent imagery of the natural ingredients within, giving consumers a clearer idea of what, exactly, is inside each bag. That packaging bump was necessary for the brand, which has yet to invest in a major marketing campaign and has mostly courted new customers directly through its retail presence.

And the packaging isn’t just catching the eyes of retail consumers: this year, it was named the winner of the Pac Global Awards’ “best in class” for revitalized brand marketing in food.

These successes have snowballed, and now Handfuel is looking to capitalize with the launch of its new nut cluster line of products. Available in three flavours – dark chocolate almond, raspberry pistachio and coconut pecan – the line clearly targets better-for-you shoppers who are looking for healthier snacking options that come in with a lower sugar content (Handfuel’s nut clusters contain just 2 grams of it). It also caters to different dietary styles, being plant-based, gluten free, non-GMO and keto friendly.

“Adding a completely new line of products is very exciting for us, and really characterizes the growth trajectory of our company,” says Richman. “Our mission is to keep up with our customers’ busy lives and to continually evolve our product line to meet their needs by making easy-to-grab snacks that strike the perfect balance between health and taste.”