Food and beverage giant PepsiCo recently launched Hilo Life, a keto snack that looks like a Dorito but contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates. The tortilla-style chips are made from defatted almond flour, making them a good source of plant-based protein with nine grams per serving. Hilo Life also contains only three grams of net carbohydrates and zero grams of added sugar per one-ounce bag.
“We connected directly with consumers who follow a keto lifestyle to learn what they were missing, and a top request was a carb-conscious chip that tastes like the snacks they used to love,” said Amanda Cheung, brand director for Hilo Life, in a press release. “We also identified almond flour as a very popular ingredient and used that insight to develop something truly unique that delivers on protein content and 3g net carbs. We recognized a delicious opportunity to innovate and bring our consumers a keto-friendly snack with the flavors and textures they crave.”
The keto snack is part of PepsiCo’s Hive portfolio, a business unit within the company that focuses on accelerating the growth of smaller, emerging brands with strong consumer potential in the North American market. Some other Hive brands include artificial sweetener-free Stubborn Soda, pumpkin and chia seed bar brand Health Warrior and Maker Oats. Hilo Life will be the first keto snack in Hive’s portfolio as PepsiCo responds to changing consumer needs for healthier snacking options.
The keto snack isn’t the first of Hilo Life’s products. In 2019, the brand quietly launched an online-only low-carbohydrate cheese and nut snack mix with a similar nutritional profile to the new product. Consumers also may have spotted the product on select retail shelves earlier this year, perhaps signaling that the new keto snack will follow a similar retail route.
Like many new products or reboots of old products, Hilo Life was developed to tap into nostalgia, Cheung said. However, Hilo Life’s nostalgia is prompted by missing the little things on a keto diet, such as opening a bag of chips, feeling a satisfying crunch and even licking the cheese dust off your fingers.
It’s no surprise that PepsiCo is entering the world of keto snacks since many food giants, from General Mills to Nestlé, have also recently introduced ketogenic products. The low-sugar, low-carb, high-protein diet has been increasing in popularity, despite some experts calling it unsustainable. In the US, ketogenic diets saw the biggest increase in adoption in 2019, with the number of people on a keto diet doubling from the previous year.
Whether a keto diet is sustainable remains unknown, but what is certain is the market value of keto food products. The global ketogenic diet market, according to Report Linker, was valued at $10.22 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $15.27 million by 2027 with an expected CAGR of 5.3 percent during that period. With PepsiCo’s vast distribution network and marketing power, Hilo Life is sure to tap into the keto market in the coming months.