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Blue Chip.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

Cosmos Creations, a Junction City-based snack food maker, has launched nearly a dozen new products this year.

In January it debuted three new certified USDA organic snacks at the Fancy Foods trade show in San Francisco. Like Cosmos Creations' other products, they are puffed corn - not popcorn - and have no kernels or hulls.

They're made from GMO-free cornmeal and extruded into bite-size pieces that are baked and coated with flavorings.

Cosmos introduced three new flavors of organic puffed corn: peanut butter, chocolate espresso, and maple pecan.

Responding to consumer interest in natural and organic products, Cosmos sought organic certification, which can be onerous and expensive, spokeswoman Sarah Wilson said.

The new products took eight to 12 months to develop. Cosmos, a 70-employee, privately held company, does not share financial information, such as the research and development costs of new offerings.

These organic snacks sell at $3.99 for a 5-ounce bag. In Oregon they're available at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Coastal Farm and Ranch and Jerry's Home Improvement Center.

Nationwide, they're sold at Sam's Club, QFC and Wegmans. They're sold online at Jet.com, Costco.com and Amazon.com. They're also sold by retailers in the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia, China, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

The products will appeal to natural foods and grocery stores that carry organic products, as well as mainstream stores whose customers like the flavors, Wilson said.

The new flavors join the company's existing product line-up, which includes cheddar and pepper, sea salt and butter, coconut crunch, caramel apple and salted caramel.

Cosmos is converting its savory flavors to certified organic, Wilson said. The company doesn't use high-fructose corn syrup in its sweet flavors and is looking to replace the corn syrup it does use with a different sweetener in the next year or so.

Cosmos also is entering the ready-to-eat popcorn market. Instead of potentially confusing customers by selling both puffed corn and popcorn under the Cosmos label, it will produce popcorn under different brands.

After Cosmos and Jolly Time Pop Corn executives met each other at a trade show last year, the two firms spent about six months developing recipes for Jolly Time. Cosmos now manufactures and licenses four new innovative flavors under the Jolly Time brand.

They include Belgian waffle, with maple flavor; confetti cake, with a sweet vanilla glaze and pastel sprinkles; sea salted caramel; and snickerdoodle, with buttery, caramel flavor and cinnamon sugar topping.

The products will be sold at traditional grocery stores in the United States. A 5 1/2 -ounce bag will sell for $2.99. Cosmos is developing a 1-ounce size for vending machines.

In a different partnership, Cosmos Creations' parent company bought Masala Pop, a Portland-based maker of popcorn with sweet and spicy Indian flavorings.

Masala Pop founder Neha Patel contacted Cosmos last year for help expanding her production to meet consumer demand. Cosmos helped Patel transition from a hand-batched production system to an automated one.

Over eight to 10 months, Cosmos redeveloped Patel's recipes with ingredients it could source in large quantities. Cosmos hired a local artist with SJ Collective in Eugene to redesign Masala Pop's bags. Cosmos also led Masala Pop through the process to be certified organic and vegan by the USDA and certified gluten-free by NSF International, a testing and certification agency based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Masala Pop is available in four flavors: original Indian spice, with turmeric, mustard seed, garlic and red chilies; savory coconut, with turmeric root and organic extra virgin coconut oil; caramel rose, with rose and sea salt; and chai caramel, with Assam tea, cardamom, ginger and other spices, organic coconut and cane sugar.

All but the caramel rose are certified vegan.

These products shipped to stores in April, Wilson said. They appeal to natural food stores, grocery stores that carry organic foods, mainstream stores that find their customers like adventurous snacks, and stores such as TJ Maxx and Cost Plus World Market, she said. Masala Pop's sweet flavors sell for $3.99 for a 6-ounce bag. The savory flavors sell for $3.99 for a 4-ounce bag.

Cosmos typically launches new products for the Fancy Foods trade show in January. The recent addition of a $5.5 million, 130,000-square-foot facility in Junction City, enabled Cosmos to take on the new Jolly Time and Masala Pop lines, Wilson said. COSMOS CREATIONS New products: Peanut butter, chocolate espresso, and maple pecan organic puffed corn snacks under the Cosmos Creations brand; four new sweet flavors of popcorn under the Jolly Time brand; four flavors inspi red by Indian cooking under the Masala Pop brand Websites: cosmoscreations.com; jollytime.com; eatmasalapop.com Headquarters: 395 E. First Ave., Junction City

Follow Sherri on Twitter @sburimcdonald. Email sherri@registerguard.com.
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Title Annotation:Blue Chip; The Junction City company gains organic certification, adds flavors and new lines
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 1, 2017
Words:793
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