CPG

Part
01
of five
Part
01

Nutrition Bars CPG Digital Campaigns: Larabar

In the past year, Larabar has worked with influencers, appeared at the London Fashion Week and presented the product as enviromentally-friendly.


LARABAR — DIGITAL MARKETING EFFORTS IN THE PAST YEAR



POSITIONING STRATEGIES



DIGITAL CHANNELS USED TO REACH CONSUMERS



BRAND STORYTELLING VS. PRODUCT MERCHANDISING



Research Strategy:


To answer the query, the research team has examined and analyzed brand's official website, social media accounts as well as third-party reports on the brand's marketing efforts.
Part
02
of five
Part
02

Nutrition Bars CPG Digital Campaigns: RxBar

RXBar's digital campaigns throughout the past year are the "No B. S." campaign and the "Simple Good" campaign. The first campaign avoided brand storytelling and focused on product merchandising, while in the latter campaign, marketing focus started to shift towards the story behind the brand.


DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS WITHIN THE PAST YEAR

The "No B.S." campaign featuring Ice-T


The "Simple Good" campaign


POSITIONING STRATEGIES


DIGITAL CHANNELS


Research Strategy:

In order to provide an analysis of the digital campaigns by RxBar, we examined the official company website, official press releases from the company, marketing publications such as Ad Week, Media Village. Additionally, interviews with company leadership were analyzed.
Part
03
of five
Part
03

Nutrition Bars CPG Digital Campaigns: Kind Snacks

Kind Snacks’ 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign was launched in June 2019. The campaign is currently active on digital channels such as their website, their Amazon page, and six other social media platforms. The campaign’s commercial talked about how Kind Snacks’ products use “75% less sugar than the leading Clif Bar.”

LAUNCH of the DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN

POSITIONING STRATEGIES

  • Kind Snacks has used the 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign to position its snacks as having “first ingredient superiority” and being healthier than its competitors’ products.
  • It has been reported that the 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign was launched to counter Clif Bar’s print ad in the New York Times that challenged Kind Snacks to use organic ingredients, as well as the follow-up TV spot released by Clif Bar.
  • As seen in the main commercial, the narrator stated that the first ingredient in the Clif Bar product is brown rice syrup (sugar) while the first ingredient for the Kind Snacks product featured is almonds. The narrator continued to say that the snack used “only five grams of sugar,” which is “75% less sugar than the leading Clif Bar.”
  • The company did not directly address Clif Bar anymore after the main commercial was released. However, it has continued to emphasize the use of healthy ingredients on its website (“real food, wholesome ingredients”) and in posts on social media. The content in its posts on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms features “5g of sugar” and other healthy ingredients.
  • In general, posts published on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms before the 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign was launched also featured the company promoting its use of healthy ingredients and less sugar.

DIGITAL CHANNELS USED

CONTENT AND FUNCTIONALITY PRIORITIZED

  • On social media, Kind Snacks is most active on Facebook and Twitter with around 100 to 150 posts published over the past year.
  • An examination of the company’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts has revealed that Kind Snacks does not prioritize any specific types of formats/functions as they feature a mixture of images, videos, and text as well as links to external articles.
  • Besides content about its products, Kind Snacks has also posted content related to its founder Daniel Lubetzky.
  • Kind Snacks only prioritized “attacking” its competitors in the 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign.
  • In general, the company prioritizes content that promotes its use of healthier ingredients.

MORE TIME SPENT ON BRAND STORYTELLING

  • The 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign focused on brand storytelling by linking kindness to healthy products.
  • Similarly, Kind Snacks’ “Promise” web page, video on its Amazon page (origin of company's name), and posts related to the Kind Snack & Give Back project have shown how the company spends more time on brand storytelling than simply promoting its merchandises.
  • Kind Snacks is only focused on product merchandising when new products are launched.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To identify digital campaigns launched by Kind Snacks within the last year, we started by conducting a press search for articles published by the company and external media outlets since September 2018. Based on the press releases published on Kind Snacks’ website, the Be Kind to Yourself campaign is the only digital campaign launched by the company over the past year. Kind Snacks’ only other marketing effort during this period is a pop-up shop launched in April 2019 called 'Sweeteners Uncovered'. External media outlets such as Ad Age, Fast Company, and others did not provide insights on any additional marketing campaigns.
Next, we examined every digital channel run by Kind Snacks. An examination of the company’s website, Amazon page, and posts/videos published by Kind Snacks’ social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn over the past year did not reveal any other digital campaigns apart from the 'Be Kind to Yourself' campaign.
Lastly, we examined advertisement databases such as iSpot TV, Ad Forum, and Moat. iSpot TV featured TV spots from the Be Kind to Yourself campaign and older campaigns such as the Do the KIND Thing campaign. The Do the KIND Thing campaign was launched in 2015 to promote the company’s products and the CEO’s book. Ad Forum also contains older campaigns such as the #KINDAWESOME (2015) and More Than Nice (2017) campaigns. Moat database contains several digital banners that say “give Kind a try,” which is the current tagline seen on Kind Snacks’ website.
Part
04
of five
Part
04

Nutrition Bars CPG: Marketing Trends

Increasing demand for energy-packed bars, as well as increased health consciousness are two trends that are affecting the marketing of CPG nutrition bars in the US and Europe.


US - increasing demand for "energy bars"



US & Europe - increased health consciousness



HELPFUL FINDINGS


The "Vegan Rush"


Shift to D2C on a global level

  • In order to directly reach consumers, nutritional bar manufacturers are increasingly placing their brands in unusual marketing channels, such as gyms and clubs.
  • To keep up with this trend, Kellogg has built its own community with a specific D2C e-commerce website to promote its granola bar product lines.
  • A similar move has been made by RXBar, when its founders, Peter Rahal and Jared Smith decided to set up an online shop and sell directly to consumers, rather than through brick-and-mortar chains.
  • According to Samir Bhavnani, the AVP at 1010data, the growth of the nutritional bar market can be attributed to online D2C sales.
  • Some US-based companies, such as Soylent, have also gone online to reach their consumers directly. Fitness enthusiasts, who want convenience while purchasing nutrition products, have been the largest D2C target for the nutritional bar brands. The increasing millenial population, rising disposable income and urbanization have also positively affected the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online D2C marketing means.



Research Strategy


Because of the lack of relevant information, we have provided two EU and US-specific trends, along with additional trends on a global level. We deployed the following strategies in an attempt to locate additional trends pertaining to Europe and the United States:

We searched market research reports, on sites such as Mordor Intelligence, Mintel, Business Wire. There, our goal was to find trends that the nutrition bars market is facing, since various reports on this topic exist. However, while these sources granted us general, global trends surrounding the market, there was no way to extract those that specifically pertain to the US and Europe, which is why this strategy was unsuccessful.

Next, we turned to nutrition bar manufacturers. After identifying various nutrition bar manufacturers that are located in US and Europe (Powerbar, Kellogg, Luna Balance and so on), we dived into their annual reports, operational reports, press releases and websites, in hope of identifying specific trends that have affected them in the nutrition bars field. After an exhaustive search through various statements from players in this market, it was evident that the companies were focused on their own marketing strategies, efforts and internal trends, rather than market information. Although some relevant insights were obtained this way, this was insufficient to thoroughly describe the trends, which is why we moved on to the third strategy.

As a last resort, we decided to search marketing campaign databases, such as Ad Week and Ad Age. These types of sources usually outline the current trends in terms of marketing strategies and campaigns, which is why we were confident this would provide us with enough insights to reliably determine at least three trends that are specific to Europe and the United States. However, although a few examples of these campaigns existed in these types of sources, the available information was not robust enough. The relevant examples mostly appeared as visuals and imagery, with little to no context surrounding the trends that are behind the marketing campaigns.
Part
05
of five
Part
05

Nutrition Bars CPG: Trends

Three trends affecting the snack and performance nutrition bars CPG category in the U.S. are (1) refrigerated bars, (2) the focus on protein within those products, and (3) product transparency.

Findings

1. Refrigerated Bars

  • One trend affecting the snack and performance nutrition bars CPG category in the U.S. involves refrigerated bars.
  • Refrigerated bars are the fresh version of a snack/nutrition bar, hence why they need to be refrigerated.
  • In fact, among shelf-stable products that have now entered the fresh-product segment, refrigerated bars have done so "most prominently."
  • Wellness bars are even fueling the growth of the refrigerated product segment overall, not just in the snack/nutrition bar market.
  • A key reason behind the refrigerated bar trend that manufacturers are clearly responding to is the fact that a research study published by Mintel found that the top purchase factor among iGen and Millennials is fresh food.
  • This trend is affecting the U.S. snack and performance nutrition bar industry because it has introduced a whole new category of such bars into the market, whereas they used to only be manufactured for non-refrigerated storage.
  • This trend is also affecting the U.S. snack and performance nutrition bar industry by creating more competition due to its popularity. According to the source Nutritional Outlook, "Compared to the growth rate of the shelf-stable wellness bars/gels segment, the refrigerated set is up double digits, up 93.6%, totaling $37.8 million in annual sales."
  • A company at the forefront of this trend is Perfect Bar. Just one year ago, the company launched its product line called "Perfect Kids, which the company claims is the first refrigerated kids’ snack bar."
  • Another company at the forefront of this trend is OHi, which saw its distribution of retailers grew four-fold since January 2018 and now includes over 1,000 stores.

2. Protein Focused

  • A second trend affecting the snack and performance nutrition bars CPG category in the U.S. is the focus on protein within such products.
  • According to AMCO Proteins, "[p]rotein remains the overriding health trend in today’s nutrition bars."
  • This trend is affecting the U.S. snack and performance nutrition bar industry by fueling the production of protein snack and performance nutrition bars. In fact, approximately 33% of snack and performance nutrition bars in the U.S. "are associated with protein."
  • The incorporation of protein within snack and performance nutrition bars increased, as sales of such bars have risen 9% compared to the 1% decline of bars that are devoid of protein (per a 2019 article).
  • Snack and performance nutrition bars "associated with protein" yielded $2 billion in sales, according to a 2019 article published by industry source AMCO Proteins.
  • A company at the forefront of this trend is Glanbia, which manufactures over "20 protein bar solutions designed to address common formulation issues and to help co-manufacturers, large CPGs, and innovative marketers develop the types of bars consumers prefer."

3. Product Transparency

  • A third trend affecting the snack and performance nutrition bars CPG category in the U.S. is product transparency.
  • Product transparency refers to snack and performance nutrition bar manufacturers clearly stating what ingredients and types of ingredients (e.g. non-GMO) are included within products. Furthermore, product transparency also usually refers to healthy ingredients.
  • While this trend originates from consumers who are very intentional about which ingredients they do and don't consume, this trend is equally a business trend because companies are responding to such consumer interests through the types of snack and nutrition bars they manufacture.
  • In fact, product transparency was described by the source Neutraceuticals World as "a key trend propelling growth within the bar and snack categories."
  • As was stated in part in the previous statement, product transparency is affecting the U.S. snack and performance nutrition bar industry by propelling the industry's growth.
  • A company at the forefront of this trend is RXBAR, which has been described as both "a prime example of transparent product formulation" and a "popular clean label protein bar brand."
  • RXBAR provides transparent protein bars through a brief, simple list of known ingredients included in the center of its packaging for consumers to easily see. The company offers 11 different varieties of its nutritional snack bars.
  • Another company at the forefront of this trend is KIND Healthy Snacks, which was the "first national snack brand to publish added sugar content" for its products, many of which are snack and nutrition bars.

Your Research Team Applied the Following Strategy:

We identified the three trends described above by reviewing market research reports and articles about trends within the U.S. snack and nutrition bar market. In so doing, examples of sources we consulted included Nutritional Outlook, Nutraceuticals World, and AMCO Proteins. We determined that each trend is indeed a trend based on the information stated/data provided about the prevalence of such factor within the market. Thus, each of the trends we included are prominent trends within the market. The trends apply to the business side of the U.S. snack and nutrition bar market, as they are clearly impacting the manufacture of such bars per the information provided. Our research findings are specific to the U.S. market, which we ensured by using information about the U.S. market and/or U.S. sources.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "General Mills has put a ‘squad’ of hand-picked influencers at the heart of its plans to launch its vegan fruit and nut snack Lärabar in the UK. The investment into the influencer-led campaign is the largest of its kind for the company and will take it into unchartered waters as it tries to draw more value from partnerships with social stars in an industry coming under increasing scrutiny."
Quotes
  • "As part of its launch into the UK market, we’ve positioned LÄRABAR as a fashionable and healthy snack – true to its heritage of being the original fruit and nut bar. Our brand experience saw hundreds of LFW guests at the #PositiveFashion events receiving samples of the Official Nutrition Snack Bar."
Quotes
  • "It started out as just a hike, no different than countless others I've taken into the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Little did I know I was about to come up with a mountain of an idea: combine simple ingredients such as fruits and nuts to create a food product that's tasty, wholesome, and convenient."
From Part 03
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "Bars are one of the best functional and convenient foods in the market today," she said. "They can deliver on all of the consumers’ needs."
  • "The Institute of Food Technologists defines functional food as having “specific nutrients added to it, like vitamins or minerals, fiber, or probiotics or prebiotics. In general, this includes anything added for a specific functional purpose."
  • "Some benefits consumers are demanding were noted in I.R.I.’s “2018 U.S. Snacking Survey” and include the following: 65% of consumers want an energy boost, which is often obtained by consuming protein; 53% want fruits and vegetables for specific nutrients; and 40% want snacks with probiotics for digestive health."
  • "Hearthside Food Solutions saw this trend unfold a few years ago and took action. The Downers Grove, Ill.-based contract manufacturer built up its ­nutritional performance bar business by acquiring VSI in The Netherlands; Nashville, Tenn.-based Standard Functional Foods; and a nutritional bar plant in Boise, Idaho."
  • "Our positive outlook on bars is the confluence of numerous trends over the past several years,” said Brian McNamara, vice-president of sales and marketing for Hearthside. “You’ve got the convenience and portability of a bar and the evolution of bars not fueling hunger as much but fueling bodies."
Quotes
  • "The rise of active consumers who seek healthy attributes from foods present a diverse set of needs, from bulking up to helping prevent age-related muscle loss. Snack bar marketing in the United States showcases health aspects, including fiber and protein content as well as varieties for specific dietary needs, such as gluten-free products."
  • "To address consumer concern about the potential health effects of unknown ingredients and preservatives, new product entries often highlight clean label claims like all-natural or pure."
  • "One of the key drivers in the nutrition bars market in recent years has been the global health and wellness trend. The evolution fuels steady growth around the globe in overall consumption and innovation, with 70% of new cereal and energy bars worldwide positioned on a health platform in 2013."
Quotes
  • "Energy Bars are the supplement bars composed of cereals and high energy-providing nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients, which provide instant energy to the body. Energy bar market includes sports nutrition bars and snack bars designated to meet both daily and sports nutrition needs. "
  • "Clean label and free-from products leading the way in US which is growing at a faster pace in energy bar market. "
  • "Increased consumer demand for nutritious product and rising clean label claims on product accelerated the market growth in the region. Product launch with various label claims, such as no artificial additive, high or added fiber, and reduced sugar achieved strong growth in the past five years. Expensive brands offering product composed of natural and organic ingredient is expected to increase sales."
Quotes
  • "All In Nutrition LLC aims to become the leader in clean protein snacks through its brand, WICKED Protein. Since its inception, WICKED Protein Bars has combined the market’s leading trends with a balanced nutritional panel and quality ingredients."
  • "We consistently see it play out in the media. Consumers are increasingly concerned about heavy metals, pesticides, residues like Glyphosate, and plasticizers like BPA, BPS, and phthalates with links to cancer and reproductive harm. Consumers are setting the definition of food safety in America with a long term view on health,” said Jackie Bowen, executive director of the Clean Label Project."
  • "We wanted to show our consumers how committed we are to product safety — both for short and long term health,” said Josh Eichel, founder and CEO of All In Nutrition LLC. “We are often asked if and how our bars are any different than the rest on the market. This certification adds another clear reason that WICKED Protein Bars are different and better."
Quotes
  • "In view of the ‘vegan rush’ across a large consumer base globally, food innovators and nutrition bars market competitors are concentrating on providing nutrition-rich solutions that tickle the taste buds of consumers demanding plant-based products. It comes with no surprise that the continual transition towards plant-based alternative has significantly influenced the overall nutrition bars market as food providers are adopting a full-fledged consumer-driven approach. Recent product range expansions with the introduction of the high protein plant-based nutrition bars consisting of 100% natural and gluten-free ingredients, approved as vegan are reflecting the positive impact of the trend."
  • "The nutrition bars market players’ focus remains directed toward the younger consumer base including the millennials and baby boomers. Moving forward with an extensive consumer-centric approach, nutrition bars market players are introducing products that are designed in cognition to these consumer bases and aligned with the evolutionary industry trends. "
  • "Key nutrition bars market players emphasize on the demographics that are gym enthusiasts and health conscious. This will propel the consumption of protein-based nutrition bars over the forthcoming years. Flavor innovations will further influence the overall nutrition bars market in future, as companies are exploring new flavors for addressing changing consumer preferences."
  • "Nutrition & Santé SAS, a leader in dietetic and organic foods and provider of nutrition bars based in Europe recently completed the acquisition BC Bio, an Auch-based manufacturer and seller of refrigerated organic products. The acquisition allows Nutrition & Santé SAS to enhance their vegetal ranges."
Quotes
  • "The global energy bar market is witnessing increased popularity of online retailing owing to factors such as the growing millennial population, rising disposable income, and increasing urban consumers. The demand for energy bars through online platforms is particularly high from fitness enthusiasts who seek convenience while purchasing nutrition foods. Thus, the increasing sales of energy bars through online retailing will fuel the growth of the energy bars market during the forecast period."
Quotes
  • "the science of sports nutrition is no longer moving the needle. That, too, is understandable, given that bar fatigue has predictably been followed by gel fatigue and block fatigue. “The early energy products were science experiments,” says Schweizer. “Today you mostly see that type of product in a GNC or online."
Quotes
  • "Life takes fuel. Life takes complete nutrition. You feel good when you fuel good. With ready-to-drink meals, customizable powders, and 100 calorie nutrition bars, we’ve got a Soylent for you. Fuel Good. Fuel Complete."
Quotes
  • "Based on distribution channel, the market has been segmented into non-store based and store based. The store-based segment has been classified into supermarkets and hypermarkets, convenience store, and others. The supermarkets and hypermarkets segment are expected to largely contribute the proliferation of protein bar market. The facility of one-stop shopping experience and the maximum number of sales though the supermarkets and hypermarkets channels are factors accounted to foster the market growth in the coming years."
  • "However, the non-store-based segment is predicted to experience the highest growth rate owing to the increase in application of e-commerce in the retail sector."
Quotes
  • "Supermarket/hypermarkets led the sale with more than half of the distribution channel sale. Discount price offer on bulk purchase are driving sales in supermarkets/hypermarkets."
  • "Convenience Stores is another growing retail channel in the UK, which recorded a growth of 6% in the past five years. Vending machine energy bar sale recorded a significant increase of 8.1% during past five the year 2012-2017. Variety stores and online sales are another growing retail channel driven by the wide brand availability."
Quotes
  • "Manufacturers are now pushing their nutrition bars into the market through unorthodox sales channels such as clubs, gyms, and other institutions, to directly target their product towards the core users. Besides, contract manufacturers are expected to witness a growth in the demand for nutrition bars, as new players are playing safe by bypassing equipment and raw material cost for nutrition bar production."
  • "Detailed labeling of nutrition bars is expected to help manufacturers stand out in the crowded nutrition bars segment. Labeling such as '70% organic' is expected to catch more hits, as consumers know the real amount of organic products that they are going to consume per unit, creating trust for the product, and helping to create a strong brand equity for nutrition bars."
Quotes
  • "Kellogg, meanwhile, is building a community with a D2C e-commerce website for its Bear Naked brand of granola, granola bars and ready-to-eat cereal. "
Quotes
  • "Since its founding in 2013, RXBar has gone from two childhood friends making protein bars in a home kitchen to an acquisition by the Kellogg Company to the tune of $600 million."
  • "We started with e-commerce, which was special because it allowed us to control the consumer journey from beginning to end,” said director of digital marketing Charlie Hart. “We owe our success to how we built our digital ecosystem, and our approach to data and understanding consumers and their needs."
  • "RXBar built its digital-first approach in part from necessity. The number of nutrition bars on the market more than quadrupled between 2005 and 2015, making it tricky for founders Peter Rahal and Jared Smith to convince brick-and-mortar grocery stores to take a gamble on their product. So the fitness enthusiasts decided to set up shop online and sell directly to consumers."
  • "If you have a big in-store shopper marketing program, you’re getting information passed back to you months down the road,” said Hart. “E-commerce is immediate, and you get feedback immediately from your customers and from the advertising you do. That’s allowed us to move quickly, test, learn and become a big player in the space, competing with legacy brands."
  • "In its new partnership with Kellogg's, which will increase RXBar’s brick-and-mortar distribution, the company will continue emphasizing digital commerce and using store data to understand customers better — wherever they may be."