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Nature’s Bakery overhauls branding, launches new SKUs to become the ‘Little Debbie of the natural snack industry’

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By Elizabeth Crawford


Nature’s Bakery overhauls branding, launches new SKUs

With a goal to become “the Little Debbie of the natural snacks industry,” Nature’s Bakery is expanding its portfolio beyond its flagship Fig Bar line, and overhauling its branding to ensure the company name isn’t lost among the multiplying stock-keeping units, according to the company founder Dave Marson.

“We are kind of known as the Fig Bar company because when we launched during the recession in 2011 branding was less important to us than giving people a product they would know” and buy even when money was tight, Marson said. As such, he explained, the company played up Fig Bar in bold font on the center of packages and Nature’s Bakery was in significantly smaller font near the top.

“But now we are making a shift to where we have many items under the Nature’s Bakery brand, not just fig bars,” and we want consumers to associate the products with the larger brand, he said.

To help tie the line-extensions together, the company undertook an intensive, seven-month effort to create new branding. With the help of several focus groups, the company landed on a design and logo that is similar enough to the previous package that consumers won’t be confused, but which also better highlights the company name.

The new design includes a “stacked logo” that still has the product name front and center, but gives more space to the company’s name at the top of the package. The company logo also now has a white background, instead of the same color as the package, so that it pops better.

The company also prominently features the USDA Organic certified logo, along with the Non-GMO Project Verified badge and soon will add the Whole Grains stamp on the front of pack. It also makes the increasingly common list of free-from claims, including free from cholesterol, dairy, trans fat and GMOs. Plus, it notes the bars are kosher and low-sodium.

In their place, the products include real fruit, whole grains, less sugar and “the simple stuff that moms are looking for,” Marson said.

Honey & chocolate top consumer demands

As for the new products, they include a gluten-free version of its original Fig Bar, an organic Honey & Oat bar and a soft baked organic brownie.

Each variant reflects a unique consumer demand revealed during Nature’s Bakery’s focus groups.

For example, the company opted for honey and organic cane sugar to sweeten the Honey & Oats bar because 80% of consumers told them that honey was their ideal sweetener, Marson said.

“Honey is desirable because it is naturally sweet and the glycemic index is better than sugar,” he said, explaining that parent’s want to know if their child will “be really hyper and then fall off the cliff” after eating a snack, “or if it is something more sustainable and they will get the carbohydrates in the right fashion.”

Honey also is attractive because it is easier to digest, Marson said.

Similarly, the company decided to launch a brownie that is soft baked on the outside and filled with a light chocolate center because chocolate is the No. 1 selling item in the world, and this allows consumers to indulge but in a “little bit of a healthier way,” since each brownie is only 70 calories and still has whole grains.

New products, but same low price

Even as these snacks have yet to fully roll-out on store shelves, Marson says he is already thinking about the next products that the company wants to develop. He wouldn’t share specifics, but promised they would be in “billion dollar categories” and provide the same high quality ingredients and emphasis on flavor as the current offerings.

He also assured that the new products, as well as any future launches, will preserve the company’s dedication to providing healthy snacks at an affordable price-point.

He explains that as a direct manufacturer in control of every aspect of product, Nature’s Bakery is “able to keep our margins down so a mom making $23,000 a year can still purchase us. We are not a buck 39 or a buck 59 or a buck 89 energy bar. We sell for 50 cents or 32 cents a serving so that mom can still put a healthy option in her kid’s lunch.”


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