Naughty nuts spread products

You know nuts. Trail mixes, counted units as a diet snack, jars of peanut butter packaged for nostalgia… Forget all that. Naughty Nuts are here to up the nut game and lead by example: Topics that lock food industry executives in brainstorming meetings are the nuts and bolts of Naughty nuts’ operations: A surprise factor, a strong brand, consumer loyalty, aaand climate footprints!

Naughty Nuts launched in 2021 with an idea planted in 2019, and a friendship that began in 2016. The two foodie founders and friends, Ben Porten and Lorenz Greiner came together as business partners to create surprising nut products for a mainstream audience. The spark that ignited the creation of Naughty Nuts was the ‘Great German Peanut Butter Shortage of 2019’. What was there before the shortage? Palm oil, added sugar, and many opaque ‘low CO2 emissions’ and ‘Sustainability!!!’ claims. As they say on their page: We can’t leave it like this. (Or in their more effective native German Das können wir so nicht stehen lassen!)

We spoke with Lorenz Greiner, CEO and co-founder of Naughty nuts, to find out how the universe they want Naughty Nuts to live in looks – and it’s a climate transparent one from the get-go.

Of course it’s climate-transparent!

Lorenz tells us that they approach transparency in everything they do and throughout their supply chain as ‘the new normal’ rather than an operational change or an add-on to their positioning. For Naughty Nuts, calculating and understanding their climate footprint alongside the launch of the brand was an intrinsic motivation rather than market pressure.

Lorenz Greiner, CEO & Founder at Naughty Nuts

We want to be in front of the wave. We don’t want to adapt our products because of politics or legal reasons. We just want to be faster and maybe to be a part of politics going for these steps.

From the beginning, we looked into solutions on how to calculate our climate footprint. We thought that this is the first step: Before changing anything, before getting too positive about it, we first have to understand it. So before we had our first product launch, we got in contact with CarbonCloud to see where we stand.

Lorenz notes that modeling on the platform was easy and they got going with their calculation quickly. As the Naughty Nuts products contain nuts almost exclusively, it was not a surprise that approximately 40% of emissions come from agriculture. However, as surprising with nuts is Naughty Nuts MO, we asked whether surprising with climate footprint was something we could riff off…?

Transport is way lower than I expected! In one instance, we had to purchase our peanuts from Asia instead of our main supplier in Egypt and the difference wasn’t that big!

And what about hurdles? What was the toughest nut to crack during data collection? Lorenz responds promptly: Suppliers. Naughty nuts have a lot of partners and motivating them to provide data was a challenge. But climate work prevailed!

We sent a bottle of wine! Nevertheless, throughout the process, we developed a partnership. Our suppliers understood it’s not a small add-on project on top. It is quite important for us to calculate our climate footprint and they understood that.

Climate footprints in a nutshell: The payoff

As soon as Naughty Nuts had their climate footprint, their original nut products were ready to hit the digital and physical shelves. Propelled by investor contacts and Lorenz’s prior experience with food retail, Naughty Nuts can now be found in over 500 grocery stores all over Germany. However, the brand is B2C at its core. Over 25,000 Instagram followers, 9 products and counting, an array of inspirational recipes, and more than 80% of their revenue from their online store.

Naughty Nuts – recipe with low climate footprint

Where did climate footprints make the biggest difference? Surprisingly, employer branding! Naughty Nuts have scaled up their team in less than a year. The feedback from candidates as well as consumers goes a bit like this:

Our web page gets a lot of positive feedback – especially in recruiting and in customer success. People say ‘it’s great that you calculate your footprint!’. But the most important learning is that people do not really ask whether the footprint is good or bad. They’re just happy that company is transparent, shows their numbers, and gets naked.

And where does climate footprint lie in the retailer landscape? Lorenz foresees:

This agenda is something that is really coming up there, especially in the management levels of retailers. It will be interesting in the future when our contact persons are higher and higher in the decision-making chain and I think climate footprints will benefit us a lot.

Looking back and ahead

We contemplated with Lorenz the huge success of Naughty Nuts, a relatively young company with huge growth and unstoppable acceleration. What brought Naughty Nuts so far in the market and so quickly? Lorenz lists 4 success factors:

  • Great recruiting decisions and a harmonized and motivated team
  • Supportive angel investors that opened the path for them to flourish
  • A great working relationship and complementary skill sets across the two founders
  • Market and timing!

Lorenz explains that the idea is always important but hitting the market at the right time and with the right opportunity is key.

The Naughty Nuts team

So what’s ahead for Naughty Nuts? To start with, the company will be gradually calculating climate footprints across their portfolio and then get on with optimization:

The big impact lies in the supply chain itself. Naturally, the next step and one of our goals is to understand the supply chain even better and to get in direct contact with the nut suppliers. One interesting solution for the future is to create a label for a great supply chain of nuts: Basically controlling and optimizing the supply chain in mass.

On the consumer-facing side, the goal is to get nuts into people’s everyday diet and inspire millions to eat nuts in a natural way – always with novelty, and always with transparency towards the consumer. Naughty Nuts are setting out to do their part for a better world – and do it with their unique touch of je ne sais quoi! And that quality echoes in Lorenz’s plea to the food industry:

Look ahead in the future, not just what works and doesn’t work in the current landscape. Take into account what would work in two or three years. Take the opportunity to position yourselves already as leaders because positioning is getting more and more important. Taking this opportunity now can moonshot your goals!

Remember what Lorenz said before about success factors? Timing and all? The timing for climate leaders in the food industry is now ­– and we are going nuts for the Naughty Nuts approach!