Chris Kiser of Spice World On How They Are Promoting Healthy Snacks and Treats

Chris Kiser of Spice World On How They Are Promoting Healthy Snacks and Treats

Never stop innovating. Consumer behaviors demand it and businesses that move with pace thrive. Those that don’t will die.

Intoday’s fast-paced world, snacking has become an essential part of our daily routine. However, not all snacks are created equal, and many options available are unhealthy. Fortunately, there are companies dedicated to creating and promoting healthy snacks and treats that are not only delicious but also nutritious. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chris Kiser.

Chris L. Kiser has been the CEO of Spice World since 2021. He is an accomplished growth oriented senior leader with deep experience in leading successful consumer facing food and beverage businesses.

Over his career, Chris has a long-term track record of success building teams, driving innovation and fueling market leading growth. Over his career he has worked for leading blue chip CPG organizations like Reckitt Benckiser, Campbell Soup, Diageo, Pinnacle Foods and AdvancePierre. His passion is fueled by seeking solutions to complex challenges, uncovering new opportunities and helping teams strive for and achieve breakthroughs aimed at driving above market growth.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I’m Chris Kiser, CEO of Spice World, and I have spent my entire career in the consumer-facing food industry. I started my career right after undergrad and have had the pleasure of working with, and on, some of America’s largest food brands. I am especially passionate about food as it is such an integral part of all our lives, not only providing nourishment but also enhancing our moments with family and friends.

Leading Spice World gives me an opportunity to be an “amateur chef” in my own kitchen and behind the grill during these summer months experimenting and exploring food and flavor. I’m on a constant quest to uncover easy and convenient ways to be creative in making meals for and with my loved ones.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of the most pivotal moments in my work life so far was when I was at Pinnacle Foods. During that time, I learned how important alignment and teamwork are to helping people succeed. It is imperative to be clear about what is important, and ensure that our ways of working support the greater good. I have applied those learnings to help lead Spice World to become America’s favorite garlic and fresh flavorings company.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

As a leader at Spice World, I stand on the shoulders of giants, inspired by the work of a pioneering family. We’ve recently been reflecting on the legacy of Andy “Pops” Caneza founding the company back in 1949 after his return from European duty during WWII and have been continuing to take the brand he started on a significant journey to honor and build on his legacy. This means not only producing amazing products but cultivating great leaders. We have focused on continuing to build the Company culture on an acronym called FLAVOR. It stands for Focus, Leadership, Accountability, Value-added, Ownership and Respect. I think of it as the mirror we hold up to the organization to see if we are living and acting against each of these values every day. Our customers expect a lot from us, especially with product quality and outstanding service. When we lean into FLAVOR, we develop new ideas based on consumer wants and needs and those insights power our decision making which we then nimbly act upon. For instance, we harvested an insight that consumers want to create new dishes that break typical routines. To this end, we have endeavored to fill our website and digital channels with recipes for great foods throughout all day-parts. Some popular dishes of late have included cheesy garlic pull-apart bread, garlic cheddar biscuits, garlic avocado toast and garlic and lemon dill salmon. These are just a few of the simple, better for you, easy to prepare meals and snacks that consumers find appealing.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

We are celebrating a major milestone in the Company history this summer, our 75th anniversary. As we mark our 75th year, we are taking a “Recipe Roadtrip” to uncover America’s favorite foods, inspired by flavor. We think it is fitting to do this as our brand has made a significant journey over the past 75 years, bringing great flavors that help consumers elevate the way they eat with convenient, better for you flavor. We’re spending this significant summer by inspiring consumers with meal ideas from ten U.S. regions and giving consumers a way to vote on favorite dishes for a chance to win a trip to our founding city of New Orleans. It harkens to our roots and the passion “Pops” and the family put into building this great business.

What inspired you to focus on promoting healthy snacks and treats?

Our company is firmly rooted in the original vision of providing high-quality, year-round flavor and excellent customer service that was established by our founder as we innovate, grow, and make a positive impact today. The great thing about garlic in particular is the many proven health benefits it provides us throughout the day, whether in a snack or a full-fledged meal. Garlic is high in antioxidants and has many nutritional benefits. It has been proven to help lower cholesterol, help manage blood pressure, as well as boost overall wellness. So a little garlic in a treat like cheesy garlic bread or a lot of garlic in a pasta dish or pizza can all be enjoyed with health benefits in mind. It’s heartening to be associated with products that provide a flavor boost and are a net good to family meal preparation.

How do you ensure that your products remain both healthy and delicious?

Spice World offers garlic in many forms — fresh, minced, organic, peeled, squeezable to name a few. Some recipes call for a little, others a lot! Our product starts out healthy and delicious when harvested and remains so all the way through to when you buy it in the produce section of your favorite store or online. We also offer a healthy array of ginger, onion, and seasoning blends products that consumers love.

What are some things you have done to educate consumers about the nutritional benefits of your products?

Spice World shares these nutritional benefits on our labels, on our website and in digital campaigns. Many of our users turn to the internet for health and recipe tips, and we provide a robust selection of them on our website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok and more. Spice World fans routinely share meal recipes and tell us ways they feel great about using healthy products in their family meal prep.

Have you experienced any challenges in changing consumer perceptions about healthy snacks? How did you approach that?

Our full array of products are well-positioned to allow consumers to add better for you flavor to their appetizers, snacks, and simple meals, satisfying their desire to address key day parts in their snacking and meal routines. As more international flavors have been embraced in American diets, I’d say we have seen even more use of our products in more adventurous ways beyond inclusion in everyday meals.

What are your ”5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started”?

With all my years in the food business, I’d say these are five lessons I now know that guide me day to day:

  1. Never compromise on quality — I am fortunate to have joined a company that had this built into its DNA from the beginning.
  2. Customer service is paramount to everyone’s success at Spice World. Cheerish those relationships and nurture them every day. Do what you say, and customers will reward you.
  3. Hire the best people, be clear on what matters, and support them fully to be successful. There is nothing more important in business than people who lead with passion, tenacity, and drive.
  4. Never stop innovating. Consumer behaviors demand it and businesses that move with pace thrive. Those that don’t will die.
  5. Have fun. We’re in the food business and food is functional for sure, but it is also emotive. Lean into it and enjoy the journey.

In a constantly evolving industry, how do you stay ahead of trends to keep your offerings innovative and appealing?

Spice World’s robust innovation program is designed to deliver on consumers’ desires to elevate the way they eat with innovative, convenient, and fresh flavor. We work with partners across 50 states and track consumer trends from around the world to ensure our product portfolio is keeping pace with our consumers’ tastes and desires. We talk regularly to our consumers and listen intently to what they have to say. It ensures we don’t live in an echo chamber. As an example, one of our products, Easy Onion, came out of a consumer insight to make one of America’s favorite hot dog toppings easier than ever.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

As a food industry leader, we see a tremendous opportunity to combat food insecurity among individuals and families, especially children. Children should be able to go to school hungry to learn, not hungry because they have not eaten. Education is so important to their futures and research shows clearly how important proper nutrition is to kids doing well in school. To honor our 75th anniversary, Spice World is donating $75,000 to Feeding America and other local charities focused on addressing food insecurity. We look forward to giving back as part of the stops along our summer program. We hope others will join us and contribute their time, talents and treasures in ways that move them to help eliminate hunger in America.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can follow our Spice World 75th anniversary Recipe Road Trip program this summer at Spice World is promoting its Recipe Roadtrip and sharing great historical milestones on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn including hashtags #reciperoadtrip, #75yearsofspiceworld and #spiceworldinc. Consumers can additionally follow Spice World on TikTok and YouTube for even more flavorful meal inspiration. Recipes can be found at

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at

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