When Livio Bisterzo and his team set out to make a “better for you” snack, they pushed the boundaries as far as they could go. What resulted is a new product called Hippeas, organic chickpea puffs that are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, 100 calories per pack, 3 grams of protein and a good source of fiber.
“We worked really hard to create a snack for the health and socially conscious consumer,” said Bisterzo, founder, Green Park Brands. “We also wanted to create a snack that delivers on taste.”
Hippeas recently became the latest product to join Starbucks assortment of grab-and-go snacks. Two flavors – Vegan White Cheddar and Far Out Fajita – are available in more than 7,500 Starbucks locations across the U.S.
Bisterzo has been in the health and natural food industry for seven years. In May 2015, he started working with a food innovation company to create Hippeas. After several rounds of product development and consumer testing, they landed on a finished product.
“We started working with chickpeas as the hero ingredient and worked very hard to get the right shape, taste, bite and texture,” said Bisterzo. “We knew that we needed to create a product that didn’t steer too far away from what customers are used to and one they would be proud to pick up from the shelf.”
Bisterzo has fielded thousands of comments from customers who are happy to have Hippeas as their new go-to snack.
“We wanted our snack to be culturally relevant, address many consumer trends and resonate with consumers,” said Bisterzo. “I believe that we delivered on the right product at the right time.”
Carolyn Chinn, merchandising lead for Starbucks Retail Branded Partnerships, is constantly seeking new snacks that customers will enjoy.
“We listen to the feedback we receive from customers, including the need to provide food items that meet certain dietary needs,” said Chinn. “Our goal is to have products that are fantastic by any standard and, if they are also gluten-free, vegan or meet other needs, that’s even better.”
While Bisterzo is extremely pleased with the Hippeas product, he is equally proud of the brand’s social mission. Hippeas has partnered with Farm Africa and will be giving back by supporting chickpea farmers in eastern Africa.
“The recognition the brand is getting, the opportunities coming our way and the ability to give back are incredible. I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said.