NPD EXCLUSIVE: 'We're going to deliver more protein with a third of the sugar,' says CEO

KRAVE Jerky to launch low-sugar protein bars

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

KRAVE protein bars will blend meat, fruit, veg and grains - a shift away from its traditional jerky products
KRAVE protein bars will blend meat, fruit, veg and grains - a shift away from its traditional jerky products

Related tags Clif bar Nutrition

Hershey-owned KRAVE Jerky will go head-to-head with Clif Bar, Kind and Lärabar as it readies to launch protein bars with one-third of the sugar towards the end of this year.

The protein bar line will blend meat, vegetables, fruit and grains; packing high levels of protein but low levels of sugar – around 4g per serving.

Jon Sebastiani, CEO and founder of KRAVE (now part of Hershey​), said sugar content would be significantly lower than Clif Bar, Kind or Lärabar.

“Seeing that we’re in Hershey’s booth it’s hard for me to say, but sugar is the evil, we believe, to a healthier diet,”​ he told at Sweets & Snacks Expo 2015.

“The proposition is basically that we’re going to deliver more protein with a third of the sugar than your Clif Bar, Kind bar and your Lärabar,”​ he said.

Clif bars contain between 17 and 25 g of sugar per serving; Kind bars contain between 5 and 16 g per serving; and Lärabar products contain between 5 and 24 g sugar per serving.

Veggies and grains

Sebastiani said the KRAVE Jerky bars would be launched nationally across the US, either this fall or winter.

“The flavors are designed, the packaging is done; it’s just a matter of introducing it to the marketplace.”

The basic ingredient would remain meat, he said, but there would also be grains, fruits and vegetables blended in – “everything from mango to quinoa to oats”.


The development of these bars had been hugely helped along by Hershey’s capacities, he said.

“It’s a whole new manufacturing process because we’re introducing fruits and vegetables and grains to our co-packer, but as you’d expect one of the biggest assets [Hershey] has is their supply chain – I mean, they are absolute experts at creating quality products that can scale in a very material way.”

Beyond jerky

Asked who the target consumer was, Sebastiani said the health and wellness consumers.

“Our expectation is that the brand and the bar will be merchandized right alongside the Kind bar; the Clif bar, so we’re going to be in a different part of the store than jerky and we hope that the consumer is sort of not agnostic to the protein source: where it’s not a turn-off that it’s meat.

“We totally recognize, particularly to the female consumers, that the idea of a meat bar or even jerky takes a little bit of getting used to,”​ he said.

However, he said taste had been top of the NPD agenda. “Our objective is that this is something you reach for, not only because it’s less sugar and more protein than a Clif bar, but because it tastes exceptionally well.”

Discussing the next five years, Sebastiani said the KRAVE team had been experimenting with alternative protein sources – veggies in particular – so there was hope for a vegetarian jerky launch ultimately.

“We have played with all kinds of vegetable base, non-meat protein jerky. I think the KRAVE brand is able to support even a fruit-based snack,”​ he said.

“What I can say about me is - I hope to, with Hershey, even design the next KRAVE,”​ Sebastiani added.

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