Scelta Flexes Muscle with Popeye Spinach Snacks Rollout

Popeye the Sailor Man was in high profile at the stand of Scelta Mushrooms during the Anuga in Cologne, as the Venlo, Holland-headquartered company launched Breaded Spinach Balls in 1,000-gram bags under the Popeye Spinach Snacks label.

Noting that the product was one of a number of healthy-eating frozen snack items showcased at the fair, Jules Klerken, snacks manager, said that Spinach Balls are positioned not just to appeal to kids, but to a wider consumer demographic.

This is for good reason, as the iconic spinach-eating cartoon character gracing the front of the package has appealed to “children of all ages” since first debuting in King Features comic strips back in 1929. Four years later Popeye began appearing in animated cartoon short features produced by Paramount Pictures, and ever since the Sailor Man has starred on TV and in big screen films in addition to comic books and video games.

Popeye has been credited with making eating spinach cool among kids for more than eight decades, as not long after he entered the popular culture scene in the USA spinach consumption rose by 30%.

“We want to do our part to give consumers a healthy choice and make them stronger by enjoying our Popeye Spinach Snacks,” said Klerken. “We are also using olive oil with it (or is it Olive Oyl?).”

popeye-spinach-snacksThe surge of Popeye’s legendary strength following consumption of spinach is the leafy green plant’s huge amounts of iron, in addition to rich concentrations of calcium, copper, foliate, folic acid, lutein, magnesium, manganese niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous potassium, protein, selenium, vitamins A, B, C, E and K and zinc.

The special Popeye edition of Scelta’s award-winning vegetable snacks features a crunchy bite and top quality spinach totally free of artificial additives.

Other products in the spotlight at Anuga included ready-to-eat mushrooms in Ecopouch packaging, and umami salt reduction offerings. Scelta Umami concentrates naturally enhance food flavor and can thus replace MSG. At the same time, they enable producers to use less salt. As governments around the world increasingly promote the reduction of salt usage in foods for health reasons, the company’s mushroom powder is poised to play a more important role in the future.

Klerken has dubbed Scelta’s foremost product “Dutchrooms.” This is because what it sells is grown almost entirely in Holland, a country that ranks as the world’s third largest producer of mushrooms. In addition to its primary sourcing area in Venlo, raw material is procured from suppliers across the nation – most of whom utilize state-of-the-art technology to sustainably grow and harvest high-yield mushrooms in controlled cellar settings.

Scelta is the largest European supplier of frozen mushrooms, 85% of which are exported, and Klerken is also fond of calling them as “super food.” The reason, detailed in the company’s 50 Years of Mushroom Experience booklet, is explained as follows:

“The tiny miracle of nature is packed with essential minerals like iron, phosphorus, copper, potassium and selenium (a powerful cell-protecting anti-oxidant rarely found in vegetables). The mushroom contains hardly any fat, sugar or salt, yet is high in fiber and protein. It also is a source of vitamins B, C and D…With powerful anti-oxidants (such as L-Ergothioneine) and rich in the fifth taste – umami [a Japanese word meaning delicious or yummy], this makes the humble ‘champignon’ a true champion...”

Scelta Umami concentrates naturally enhance flavor of food and can thus replace MSG. At the same time, they enable producers to use less salt. As governments around the world increasingly promote the reduction of salt usage in foods for health reasons, we see big opportunities for our mushroom powder to play a more important role in the future. – Reported by John Saulnier