Superfoods with scientifically supported health benefits, such as spirulina, turmeric, goldenberry and acai “shouldn’t just be a hidden secret. These ingredients have been used for centuries by different cultures and they offer so many health benefits. Yet, not everyone knows about them,” said Lauren Feingold, who along with Ashanty Williams launched Organically Raw LLC in 2012 and the Shanti bar brand in 2015.
She explained that part of the roadblock for many superfoods is that while most consumers might have heard of them, they likely don’t know their specific benefits, where to buy them or how best to consume them. Plus, superfoods tend to be sold at a higher price point – placing the stakes too high for experimentation for many consumers.
To help consumers overcome these barriers and experience the flavors and benefits of several well-known and some lesser-known superfoods, “we went ahead and put them in easy-to-eat bars, which most people feel comfortable using,” and which are sold at a low enough price point of $2.99 to encourage trial, Feingold said.
The duo packs into their eight Shanti bars two to three different superfoods along with “the very best ingredients that consumers are hearing about, raving about and wanting,” Feingold said.
For example, the company’s best-selling energy bar – Fat Burner – blends coconut, which the company says in marketing materials “is not only delicious and creamy, it is also known as a fat-burning agent,” with “life-giving” maca and naturally protein-packed almonds.
The second best-selling bar is the Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric bar, which balances the earthy flavor of turmeric with dried mango, goji berries and cardamom, said Williams.
The lineup also includes a Detox bar with spirulina, sweet greens, hemp and chia; and an Immunity bar with Goldenberry, lemon tahini, hemp and chia.
Consumer education is a top priority
Recognizing that not everyone will automatically know that turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties or that spirulina is traditionally used for detoxification, the women strategically named the bars for their primary health benefit.
But their “biggest asset” for consumer education, is their website, which Feingold said explains the benefits of each superfood and touches on the scientific and clinical support for the claims without overwhelming consumers.
Because the company is focused on the health benefits of the superfoods, the duo ensure that each bar has “a good dose of spirulina, goldenberry, cacao or the other superfoods. We are not just sprinkling in the spirulina at the end of the product. It is very balanced in flavor, but it is very much a top ingredient of that bar so the benefits are available,” Feingold said.
In addition to packing the bars with superfoods, the company ensured the products complied with as many specialty diets as possible, so as not to exclude consumers. As a result, the bars are raw, paleo, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and 100% organic. They also use plant-based protein, and have no additives or preservatives.
“We really don’t want to have a barrier between the product and the consumer, and for them not to be able to enjoy and thrive with it,” which is why it is so important to Shanti that its bars be suitable for a wide variety of dietary standards, Feingold added.
To further boost accessibility, the company also recently launched Mini bars between 16 and 20 grams and under 100 calories.
“It’s definitely a lower price point and also suitable for kids and moms who maybe just want a quick snack, or something immediately after a workout,” Feingold said.
Beyond the website and eye-catching, clearly labeled packages, Shanti teamed with Olympic Gold Medalist Hope Solo to help spread the word about the bars’ high quality.
“We partnered with Hope Solo in May and it is really helping us, as a startup, be very competitive in the marketplace by giving us credibility. Having Hope Solo back the product and say that it’s her bar of choice, is a really big push for us,” Feingold said.
She explained that the endorsement is helping the brand penetrate not just the natural channel but the sports and fitness segments as well as hotels throughout the country. And as of this month, it also is distributed at Whole Foods Market South Florida with hopes of eventually being available nationally at the chain.
Going forward the company will continue to make the product more accessible and has plans for new flavors, possibility including moringa. But for now it will stick to bars – with a goal of perfecting the format and becoming a leader in the industry category, the women agreed.