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June 20, 2012

Rochester snack company spices things up

Rochester's healthy snack company, Reichel Foods, is spicing things up with a new fresh pineapple with seasoning from south of the border.

2134President and CEO Craig Reichel says the new product — Dippin’ Stix Pineapple Bites & Tajin Seasoning — was a challenge to develop, but it is unique and has a targeted appeal for Hispanic customers.

Fresh pineapple squares come in 3.3-ounce, single-serve packages. Packets of fruit seasoning made the Mexico-based Tajin Seasonings company are enclosed, to be sprinkled on the pineapple.

Tajin Clasico is a mix of red chile peppers with lime and salt.

So how did a Minnesota firm known for its grab-and-go products like Carrots & Ranch Dip and Sliced Apples & Caramel end up creating a spicy pineapple snack?

"Our research and development team is always working with new and healthy flavor combinations," says Reichel. "Tajin makes the most popular spices in Mexico…usually used on fruit. And the Hispanic community eats a tremendous amount of fresh fruit."

The Pineapple Bites started rolling out Reichel's processing facility along Bandel Road Northwest more than a month ago and the early signs are that the product could be a hit.

"Sales are going well. It is already in Walmarts in some areas with a large Hispanic population," he says. "We're pleased so far."

While you will probably not find it on local shelves at Walmart or other retailers right now, that could change as Tajin's popularity continues to grow in the U.S.

"We developed the pineapple-and-Tajin combination primarily focused at the Hispanic demographic, although we’re finding it has a broader reach than that," he says

Making a fresh fruit product with a shelf life similar to its current lines proved to be challenging, but the real bite is when Reichel does a taste test. He says he has traditional Norwegian taste buds that aren't all that adventurous.

"I always have a glass of water handy when I eat it," Reichel admits.


That's funny, I just discovered Tajin seasoning about two months ago - they sell it at Hyvee Barlow in their latin cooking section. I have not had it on pineapple but it is awesome on Pistacio nuts and pizza.

It's great on meat and strawberries too. You can get the Tajin seasoning at the mexican store on Marion Road. Lots of great spices there.

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