"These are the only snacks that have been designed for the licensee trade," claims Charlie Martin, co-founder of the snack nut firm Edgar's Choice.
Martin and founding member Chris Sears, launched the firm about six months ago and have already made inroads into the pub trade from their Guildford, Surrey, headquarters.
There are seven varieties of flavoured nuts and nut mixes in the brand, which have colourful pack designs with quirky characters on them.
"We understand that operators need to be able to offer something different and don't want consumers comparing the price of their snacks with what they can get from the supermarket"
- Charlie Martin
The range includes: roasted and salted peanuts; dry roasted peanuts; jalapeño chilli peanuts; wasabi peanuts; Thai peanuts; and carnival mix.
This is, he claims, the start of the nut market's evolution. He points out that the crisp market has evolved during the past 15 years and has a vast offering, compared with that of nuts.
Yet, with the market dominated by well-known snack nut brands already – with many pub punters happy to scoff down a bag of KP nuts or Nobby's – it's a bold move from Martin and Seers to step into the sector.
"We understand that operators need to be able to offer something different and don't want consumers comparing the price of their snacks with what they can get from the supermarket," Martin tells the Publican's Morning Advertiser.
In fact, the founder promises that his products will never be seen on supermarket shelves. As consumers become more familiar with the unique offerings they can find in pubs – craft ales, fine wines and interesting food – it's more pertinent now that the sector has its own snack brand, he says.
"It's become more and more apparent over the past five years that more food and drink in pubs needs to be specific to the trade and licensees have become more aware of that," Martin claims.
"There's the craft beer movement and people understand that if they do offer something different, it stands out a little bit and makes their customers become more loyal. Customers like it too – when in the pub, they're in an environment where they're willing to try something new."
Importantly, Martin believes there's more space for smaller, independent snack companies to enter the market as a result of consumer interest in newer and better food and drink. While he spent 10 years running a large snacks supplier to the foodservice sector – Welco Foods – he believes the larger brands aren't good enough for pubs and don't offer the licensee a high enough GP.
Cost licensees 50p
As for GP, each individual pack of Edgar's Choice nuts costs licensees 50p, which they are recommended to sell to punters for £1.25.
Smaller, independent snack firms are also often able to create flavour profiles that are vastly different from the larger companies, he claims. "We created the flavour profiles ourselves – most other brands will just buy a ready-made flavour.
"New flavours and products help contribute to one of the purposes of the pub," continues Martin. "The pub is a place for customers to escape the normal world – they're not there to buy their weekly shop, but are having a total experience."
Better bar snacks have become a bigger part of a pub operator's offer, as the trade has adapted more to the consumers' needs over the years. More pubs are attempting to boost their food trade and snacks should play into that too, he adds.
"We supply in bulk as well as in single bags because many operators are also displaying nuts in Kilner jars on the back bar – that will continue to grow as operators realise the potential available margins and opportunities to easily rotate stock."
Many of the nut mixes are currently available in wholesalers in bulk, while the individual portions will be available soon, Martin says.
Try these with a strong American Pale Ale like Sierra Nevada, often regarded as the benchmark of pale ales. It is the perfect accompaniment to wash them down. A little trickier to find is Thwaites 13 Guns, a 5.5% ABV American IPA with strength of character, a smooth floral aroma with a bold zesty tang, also a perfect partner to the jalapeño chilli nut.
These crunchy sugar-coated peanuts are typically Dutch and enjoyed throughout the Netherlands. The perfect accompaniment is a strong caramel beer. Try Fullers ESB – strong bitter that is fruity, malty and easy to drink. It is balanced and delicious with lots of toffee and a little sweetness.
These peanuts are coated in a spicy Thai flavour batter. The flavour of lemongrass gives them an Oriental appeal. Try Wild Swan, a white-gold pale ale with aromas of light bitter lemon, a hint of herb and a subtle spiciness – a great refresher and a good session beer at 3.5% ABV.
These green bad boys have a firm crunch and a subtle nose of Japanese horseradish. Wheat beer is the best drink for these. Try the Japanese Hitachino Nest white ale. Failing that, any wheat beer will do such as Erdinger or Hoegaarden.