Unique Snacks releases twisted take on cheese curls

It’s the Trojan horse of treats: A puff snack, only shaped like a pretzel and loaded with bold flavors.

“Typically, the only variation of a cheese curl is cheese,” said Justin Spannuth, Unique Snacks vice president and chief operating officer, “Trying to sell a honey mustard cheese curl is going to be tough. So I put it in a pretzel shape, and your brain associates pretzels with honey mustard. And then you try it, and you realize, ‘hey, this is pretty darn good.’”

That’s the master plan behind Puffzels: a new product from Unique Snacks that daringly defies cheese curl standards.

“Nothing exists on the market like (Puffzels),” Spannuth said. “It’s gonna be one of the best snack products in the aisle.”

Puffzels have a crunchier texture than the standard cheese curl, Spannuth said, thanks to the incorporation of whole oat, as well as corn.

They come in four flavors: Wild Buffalo, Honey-Mustard, Homestyle (garlic and butter), and Aged Cheddar.

Spannuth said Puffzels were developed entirely in-house over two years, and he personally played a large role in overseeing their creation.

“I did take our (company) name as a personal challenge,” Spannuth said. “If I’m gonna come out with something, it needs to be unique.”

Justin Spannuth, vice president and chief operating officer of Unique Snacks.

Unique, based in Muhlenberg, is known for its novel takes on pretzels, including Splits and Sourdough Rings.

Spannuth said his first stab at innovation was creating the company’s popular Pretzel Shells in 2010.

“That kind of put us on the map,” Spannuth said.

He noted that while Puffzels’ development was handled entirely in-house, Unique is outsourcing the manufacturing.

“We’re very good at pretzels, and that’s where we’re going to keep our wheelhouse in manufacturing,” Spannuth said, “but our ability to scale and grow faster is without that capital outlay. We’re able to order the product in and utilize our innovations with other people’s capacity.”

Puffzels on their way through the production line (Courtesy of Unique Snacks)Puffzels on their way through the production line (Courtesy of Unique Snacks)

He said the company has brought on a regional sales rep and plans to hire a few additional sales and marketing employees to help build the brand.

Puffzels are the first of several new ideas that Unique has planned over the next few years, Spannuth said, including a new sourdough innovation.

Puffzels are available to buy on Unique Snack’s website and Amazon, and will be coming to Giant, and then to Redners, Boyers, Weis, and other regional markets in March.

Spannuth said approvals are also underway for the Puffzels to appear in other major chains across the country.

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