Knouse Foods on Apple Butter and Identifying Fads vs. Trends

Consumers today are constantly evolving in terms of how and where they want to engage with food. The Food Leaders podcast aims to highlight the innovative companies that are working to meet those changing needs while simultaneously exploring how to improve the food system on a global scale.

The podcast’s opening episode features Todd Michael, the director of sales for the food service division of Knouse Foods. With 150 growers, six processing plants in two states, and over fifty years of service, Knouse Foods is a grower-owned co-op that prioritizes high quality, nutritious ingredients. Some of the brands that have partnered with the co-op include household names like Musselman’s and Lucky Leaf.

“We’ve looked at trends in data as well as our customer needs and wants, and we wanted to look at what the future could hold as far as apple butter and unique flavors,” says Michael. “We’re beyond the millennials. We’re tapping into the future generation as well as the current base.”

Knouse Foods is adding a number of new flavors to its product line, and the company has a particularly unique approach when it comes to crafting and understanding apple butter. “Apple butter is made by slow simmering of our grower apples, and we add a little sugar and spice to it,” says Michael. “It’s more than just a spread—it’s also a delicious and versatile ingredient.”

While Knouse Foods is tapping into current trends, Michael advises new or emerging businesses to be careful about investing in a recently popular concept or type of product. Trends can transform into a forgotten fad in the span of a year, and product development typically requires nine to eighteen months before launch. Gather as much market data as possible regarding packaging, flavors, and consumer wants and needs first.

“We want to yield the best results for our growers,” adds Michael. “We’re successful on our side, and they’re successful on their side. That’s our largest differentiators from our competitors.”

This episode is sponsored by IFMA. Check out the podcast above to learn more about the company’s conservation efforts, multimillion water treatment facility, and its solar power innovations in Pennsylvania!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer