When Mediterra launched at Expo East in 2014 with six nutrition bars based on the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle “we noticed that … there is a lot of sweet bars in the marketplace and we saw a lot of white space or opportunity for savory bars to gain traction,” said Paul Pruett, CEO of Mediterra, Inc.
To test the subcategory’s potential, the company included two savory stock-keeping-units in its original line up – Sundried Tomato & Basil and Olive & Walnut – “which have definitely gotten the most interest in the marketplace,” Pruett said.
In addition to trying to fill an unmet need in the market, the firm launched the savory SKUs “because in the Mediterranean diet a main source of fat is olive oil and it is plant based with a lot of vegetables, seeds and nuts,” which the firm wanted represented in the portfolio, said Telemaque Lavidas, the company founder.
He also noted the firm was drawn to savory bars because the Mediterranean diet has little added sugar. As a result, the savory bars have only 1 to 3 grams of sugar each, compared to other bars that have grams of sugar in the teens and low 20s.
To build on the momentum of its first two savory bars, the company launched at Expo East this year two more savory bars – Bell Pepper & Green Olives and Kale & Pumpkin Seeds, Pruett said, adding the firm likely will introduced more savory flavors next year given the “rave reviews” these received from attendees at the trade show.
Other companies are starting to follow Mediterra’s lead into the savory bar space, but Pruett says they are notably different from Mediterra’s bars. These competitors include Kind and start-up Savory Harvest. In addition, meat bar companies are starting to push into the space.
But Pruett is not threatened by the newcomers. Rather, he thinks additional players in the space will help expand the overall size of the market and sales potential.
“There is absolutely a huge opportunity in this sub-space to grow the brand – and for all brands for that matter,” said Pruett. He added: “We feel in the next year or two there will be more and more savory bars entering the market, but we are taking the lead.”
Pruett also said that Mediterra will use that lead to its advantage to launch more savory bars and likely to launch products in other categories in the coming years. Not all the new products will be savory, but they will all build on the value of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, he concluded.