Before Taylor Jones started Jonesbar, he had been subsisting on energy bars as he lived a busy professional and athletic life. And he had eaten many different varieties of them. “I’ve tried every single one under the sun,” he told PYMNTS in an interview. He was traveling for work, and he was “literally eating some for dinner on planes.” At the same time, he was also participating in competitive paddleboard racing on the weekends — and he needed energy to fuel him throughs the sport as well as through hikes with friends.
But he wanted more of out what he was eating and what was available for him to consume that was on store shelves at the time. For that reason, Jones wanted to come up with a flavorful bar that had a good texture, was organic and wouldn’t compromise on ingredients. And that is the mission Jones aims to accomplish today with his organic real food bars that he sells through eCommerce as well as in stores. The company has six flavors to date ranging from coconut to mango, PB + J, peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter, and banana chocolate chip.
The bars only have four or five ingredients each, and those ingredients are listed on the front of the product packaging. Its banana chocolate chip has banana, cacao, almonds, dates and chia seeds, while its chocolate peanut butter bar lists cacao, peanuts, dates, sea salt and chia seeds as its ingredients. (The company aims to differentiate its chocolate bars by using 100 percent pure cacao). Beyond chocolate, the company also offers bars with flavors such as mango flavor, which has mango, almonds, dates, and chia seeds.
Jonesbar’s target market includes a consumer who is living a healthy lifestyle, and it mainly aims to reach shoppers between 25 years old and 50 years old. In terms of health preferences its customer is someone who cares about what he or she is eating. That person is also likely one to read a product’s ingredients before purchasing it. The company gets the word out about its brand through word of mouth and in-store sampling.
The company offers a one-time purchase option of cases of its bars through its eCommerce website. It also allows consumers to sign up for subscriptions through which they can have bars sent to them every four, six, or eight weeks. Jones says consumers can “click it and forget about it” and know that they are going to get bars sent to their houses every so often. The brand uses Shopify to power its online platform, and consumers can pay for their purchases by credit card.
And the company also sells its bars directly through Amazon. As those orders are seller fulfilled, the deliveries go straight from the company’s warehouse to a consumer’s door. The company is in approximately 500 stores, ranging from Whole Foods to Fairway and ShopRite, as well as coffee shops and natural independent stores. (The first store Jones ever sold in was his local coffee shop, and the second one was a natural food store.)
Looking to the future, the company is working on a protein bar — something just as simple as its regular lineup. Jones also notes that the company has some other products in mind that it wants to develop, but, for now, it wants to stay focused on the bars.
The Snack Bar Market
Beyond Jonesbar, other food brands are selling snack bars through digital channels. Blake’s Seed Based, in one case, sells a variety of seed-based snacks and protein bars. The company uses either seeds and fruit or seeds and chocolate to make them. (Its founder grew up with a nut allergy that limited his diet long before he started the brand.) The company sells its bars through its eCommerce website, where shoppers can order a box of 12 or a variety pack.
And, in another case, Rowdy Bars sells a variety of protein-packed prebiotic energy bars with organic yacon syrup. Its flavors include sunflower butter n’ berries, blueberry almond tart, chocolate coconut cashew, and peanutty dark chocolate. And, beyond nuts, or in the case of the sunflower seeds, the company’s bars contain egg white protein. Consumers can order the company’s products as a one-time purchase or a subscription through the company’s website.
From Rowdy Bars to Jonesbar, food innovators are aiming to connect consumers with bars made with unique ingredients as they drive product as well as eCommerce innovation.