Detroit News: Laura McGowan on Kar's Nuts company rebranding


Kar's Nuts, the maker of Sweety 'N Salty trail mix and Sanders Chocolates, is changing its name to Second Nature Brands as the Madison Heights snack food company seeks to broaden its portfolio and position itself with better-for-you offerings. Kar's, the company's biggest brand, will continue to exist, but the company itself is letting go of its 90-year-old identity that traces its roots to Detroit. Instead, the business is opting to use the name from the gluten-free, non-GMO trail mix brand it launched about a decade ago as it continues on a growth trajectory following the acquisition of Sanders in 2018. Changes to an umbrella company's name won't always matter for consumers as it's less visible than its brands, said Laura McGowan, a marketing professor at Wayne State University. Given Kar's following, eliminating the brand completely would be risky, but changing the over-arching company's name to a more health-oriented name to take advantage of consumer trends could be worth the costs. "In this case, if you think of Second Nature as a natural option and that it's taking care of people, it complements the long-term trends toward healthier choices going on," McGowan said. "People value and place a higher value on companies doing the right thing by their consumers."

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