Kar’s + Second Nature successfully bookend the trailmix category

Kar's + Second Nature


Update a beloved brand and make room for its better-for-you sister


Kar’s has been providing consumers with a wide variety of snack choices dating back to 1933 when Sue Kar sold peanuts to Tiger fans from her kitchen. Today, Kar’s is known and loved for their little purple bag of Sweet ‘n Salty Mix.

With snacking trends moving toward “better-for-you,” choices, Kar’s created a second brand, Second Nature and had quick proof of concept as retailers began to willingly stock it.

We began working with Kar Nut Company while they were in the process of bringing in private equity with the expressed goal of helping build a brand that would keep its mid-western roots intact while building a brand that would capture North America’s imagination.

Despite having pioneered the Sweet & Salty movement, Kar Nut Company’s biggest asset was shade of purple that nearly every brand in the prepared snacks category, including Cap’n Crunch, had co-opted.


Our research confirmed that two distinct audience types would be loyal to each brand with little overlap. They could effectively bookend the snack nuts category by:

  1. repositioning and rebranding their namesake brand as ‘The American Trail Mix’ — focused on American classics flavors.
  2. Then, bring the clean ingredient functional food strategy into the ‘Second Nature line of products.”


This clear distinction between the two brands and audiences empowered their internal teams to establish brand-driven, thematic innovation programs that drove ingredient selection, manufacturing and retail channel to influence the marketplace by bookending the category of snack nuts and trail mixes.

Further paying homage to its roots, a baseball theme was designed for the look and feel – one that evokes the earlier version of their packaging, but with contemporary cues to reflect quality and freshness.

How we got there:

Tap into the company’s hometown pride, and reclaiming its heritage as the original snack nut brand from Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

  1. Leverage their company’s innovative spirit and get credit for inventing the Sweet & Salty movement.
  2. Create new products featuring flavors associated with U.S. Geography. (e.g. Texas BBQ, Mississipi Mud pie, Seattle Coffee).
  3. Our creative approach: Put a modern twist on nostalgic baseball motifs.

Our go to market strategy for Kar’s Nuts. Detroit Born 1933: The American Trail Mix

In our work for the Second Nature brand, our goal was to ensure that the consumer could see enough daylight between it and the Kar’s brand. So we established an audience that would not have the Kar’s brand in its primary consideration set.

How we got there:

  1. Focus on clean, natural ingredients with indulgent culinary flavors.
  2. Prioritize functional snacking by creating a product portfolio that celebrates taste and functional benefit.
  3. Leverage the simplicity of the ingredients, and the vitality that comes from eating well, in bright, youthful, CrossFit inspired design.

Our go to market strategy for Second Nature. Instinctively Good Snacking ought to be Second Nature.

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