Healthy Lunchables: The Rise of Sunnie Snacks

Healthy Lunchables: The Rise of Sunnie Snacks

While Sunnie snacks offer higher quality ingredients and a healthier nutritional profile, Lunchables are affordable and accessible. Photos courtesy of Sunnie and Kraft Heinz.

A Los Angeles startup, Sunnie, has unveiled its version of healthy Lunchables, providing a refreshing and nutritious twist on the nearly four-decade-old Lunchables brand, which reported sales of $1.8 billion last year.

Sunnie has introduced a series of refrigerated snack packs, premiering in select Target stores this month. Each pack features grain-free crackers made with cassava flour, avocado oil, flaxseed, coconut sugar and sea salt. Its pizza-inspired healthy Lunchables pack includes organic mozzarella cheese and a marinara sauce bursting with organic veggies such as zucchini, carrots and celery. Sunnie also offers options with hummus and sunflower seed butter paired with strawberry chia jam.

Sunnie’s Startup Story

The brains behind Sunnie, Katy Tucker and Lisette Howard, who are longtime friends and mothers, collaborated with a pediatric nutritionist three years ago. They embarked on this venture after realizing a void in the children’s snacking market for wholesome options.

Related: Why Lunchables Gained Approval for the National School Lunch Program

During the pandemic, the duo tried various healthy Lunchables designs, collecting feedback through online sales, which helped refine their final product lineup. An earlier iteration had a smoothie, raw veggies and cookies sweetened with coconut sugar.

Sunnie’s motto of “all of the nostalgia, none of the junk” caters to the current trend where startups are redefining old-school favorites like cheese puffs, macaroni and cheese and breakfast cereals to cater to the contemporary demand for nutritious and straightforward ingredients.

At the same time, the healthy Lunchables-inspired snack segment has seen an influx of high quality, preservative-free products. Brands like Perfect Snacks, Honey Mama’s, Mid-Day Squares and Core Foods now feature prominently in the refrigerated aisles of supermarkets.

Having made its mark in some office buildings, Sunnie’s products have garnered a fan base among busy working adults. Since launching, its expansion has been vast, spanning nearly 200 Target stores in the Southern Pacific area and specialty grocery stores including Erewhon, Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres. The products can also be bought online and shipped directly to consumers on Sunnie’s website.

Sunnie Snacks versus Lunchables

How do Sunnie’s products compare to traditional Lunchables in terms of nutritional value, ingredients and price? To compare, let’s explore Sunnie’s Flatbread Pizza Dippers and Lunchables’ popular Pizza with Pepperoni flavor.

Sunnie’s Flatbread Pizza Dippers contains 250 calories, 14g of total fat, 490 mg of sodium, 26g of carbs, 4g of sugar and 8g of protein. Meanwhile, Lunchables Pizza with Pepperoni contains 380 calories, 18g of total fat, 690 mg of sodium, 42g of carbs, 17g of sugar and 13g of protein.

In terms of ingredients, Sunnie’s offering prioritizes fresh, wholesome ingredients, including organic vegetables, mozzarella cheese and a marinara sauce made from organic vegetables like zucchini, carrots and celery. Not to mention, all of its products are organic, non-GMO, vegetarian and made fresh. Lunchables, on the other hand, include processed pepperoni, cheese and pizza crusts that contain preservatives and additives.

While Sunnie snacks are healthier in terms of nutritional value and ingredients, Lunchables are much more affordable. An eight pack of Sunnie snacks from the company’s website will set consumers back $49.99, equating to around $6.25 per pack. Meanwhile, Lunchables are around $2 per pack and widely accessible, making them a popular choice for many families.