How Smart Nutrition Marketing Built the “Millennial Snack Brand”

Hippeas makes their massive growth look easy peasy. Here’s how they hacked the system, and how your brand can do the same.

Peas are having a moment. Not those green things you used to push around your plate. These Snackaprenuers have discovered how to puff up peas into a delicious crunchy snack (and they’re better than Cheetos). A few months ago, I wrote about Harvest Snaps, a pea-based snack product with a big focus on health. Today, I’ll be taking a look at another popular pea-based brand that takes a different approach.

Chickpea-based Hippeas, preaches peace and love — as in peas and love. You probably first spotted these bold bags at Starbucks. That’s because they were launched as part of a pilot item for the ‘Bucks.

In a somewhat backward journey to the shelf, entrepreneur Livio Bisterzo pitched the idea to Starbucks execs before creating the product. In two years, Hippeas surpassed that initial placement to be sold in 50,000 locations. The brand could reach $100 million in sales in no time.

So how did these guys achieve such massive success?

  1. Hippeas” is a great name. It proves, your product name can (and should) become an integral part of the brand. The brief for a product called “Hippeas” writes itself — so does the marketing — no tough sledding. Consistently awesome.
  2. Capturing the zeitgeist. There’s a reason Hippeas has been dubbed the “millennial snack brand.” Sure, Woodstock was in the ‘60s but with messages such as “Power to the Peaple” and “Good for You, Good for the Earth” this brand resonates with a new hippy generation.
  3. Strong social game. 43.7k followers on Instagram. Harvest Snaps has 21k and Pirate’s Booty, a mere 7k. The levels of engagement on every Hippeas post is almost unheard of in the CPG world. Imagery of Venice Beach, surfing, skating, yoga, and the festival-touring banana-yellow VW bus has successfully created a lifestyle.
  4. Putting the cart before the horse. I’ve seen so many brands slave away to perfect their product before they even think of the word “pitch.” However, Hippeas is a prime example that pitching a prospective buyer with an engaging idea can be successful. This way you can always calibrate your product to meet specific retailer needs.

Where can this rising yellow star go from here?

  • Hippeas has firmly established an emotional connection with their audience — but now it’s time to grow that connection even further with education. How about for the next Hippeas “Summer of Love” bus tour, the brand focuses on defining what “Peace” truly means? As in the peace of knowing what to eat to get your body to behave.
  • I’d also love to see the partnership with Farm Africa become more of a centerpiece than a side note.
  • Of course, they can go remake a million different food items, replacing the grain with peas.

The future looks bright for Hippeas, and for any brand that’s able to forge a connection with its audience through positivity.

Want to brainstorm some cool stuff for your brand? Email me at if you’d like a copy of my marketing tools one-pager (that’s actually three pages).

And if you’re still not sure what to do, let’s chat.

Be digestible. And thanks.

Eric Kiker: Speaker

Author of The Digestible Brand: The Secret Sauce for Marketing Nutrition to the Confused Consumer

Agency Principal/LRXD

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