“The new packaging for the Thrive is more approachable and more clearly communicates the differentiating aspects of the product,” including a new callout to highlight that the product is low in sugar and features plant-based protein, Jola Sonkin, CEO and co-founder of GoMacro told FoodNavigator-USA.
“As health experts continue to recommend limiting added sugar in your diet, we felt it was important to emphasize the low sugar content of the bars to fit with our consumers’ desire to decrease sugar,” explained Sonkin in an email. It added that Thrive Bars “are naturally low glycemic with an average of 7 grams of sugar per bar, which is in line with the sugar content in our competitors’ bars.”
The new packaging also calls out that the bars are certified vegan, R.A.W. and C.L.E.A.N., which the company obtained in late 2016 and decided to add to the packaging to help clarify confusion around some of the terms.
“GoMacro is one of the first companies to seek out a C.L.E.A.N. and R.A.W. certification, and was one of the brands to pioneer non-GMO certification. The qualifications for non-contaminated, fully organic, non-GMO and vegan ingredients has become increasingly pivotal to educated consumer groups. While the number of food manufacturers claiming to offer wholesome, healthy packaged foods is growing, there was no clear understanding of what constitutes ‘raw’ and ‘clean’ foods until C.L.E.A.N. and R.A.W certification standards were developed by key industry stakeholders,” according Sonkin.
The certification and callouts are particularly important now as the term “clean eating” is becoming more mainstream and sales of raw products are increasing quickly, according to the company.
With regards to ‘clean,’ Sonkin explained, “more and more consumers are not only interested in consuming foods made from simple ingredients, but are also becoming more mindful of the path those ingredients took from their natural form to their plates. They are looking for foods that contain these real ingredients and seeing these certifications on our packaging provides a trust mark for our consumers to know that all our ingredients are sourced from organic, non-GMO and sustainably sourced suppliers.”
In addition to the R.A.W. certification, the company tweaked the product description to better play up the fact the bars are made fresh to order without heat. Now instead of being described as an “Ancient Seed Superfood Nut Bar,” the product is labeled as “Raw Superfood Nut and Seed Bar,” according to the company.
Sonkin said the company added change comes at a time when SPINS Attribute Trends for Grocery data ending Dec. 3, 2017, found products that were “raw positioned” saw a 37% increase in sales in the prior year, which “we felt this was a strong enough trend to reposition the bar for our consumers.”
Finally, the new package also reinforces messaging that the bar contains wholesome, recognizable ingredients by featuring a larger window than previous wrappers that allows consumers “to better preview the texture and fresh ingredients in the bar,” Sonkin said.
In addition to the new packaging for Thrive, GoMacro also rolled out three new flavors of its MacroBar products online, with plans to launch them to trade at Natural Products Expo West in March.
“An important part of the innovation process for GoMacro is aligning new flavors and product extensions with feedback from our consumers,” and based on the results of a survey of existing consumers the company created Blueberry+Cashew Butter, Dark Chocolate +Almond and Mocha Chocolate Chip, according to Sonkin.
Of the three new flavors, the company predicts the Mocha Chocolate Chip will become a staple in consumers morning routine, while the Dark Chocolate+Almond is a “smart” snack and the Blueberry+Cashew Butter offers a “splash of sunshine in every bite.”
While the new packaging and flavors of GoMacro’s bars will help the company stay relevant with new and existing consumers, the company acknowledges that the company’s limited marketing budget is challenge that threatens the company’s ability to secure retail space and “mind share” in a category that is crowded with options from “some of the largest CPG brands.”
However, Sonkin said, “we stay competitive by clearly communicating the value of our story, or plant-based ingredients and by [targeting] the right consumer.”
Another challenge the company constantly struggles to overcome is the high calorie content in its MacroBars.
“GoMacro MacroBars have a calories count between 220-270 calories. Some consumers are a little wary of choosing a higher calorie protein bar, but we address this issue by emphasizing that each MacroBar is meant to be a high-protein, filling, nut butter-based bar made from simple, clean ingredients to give you lasting energy,” Sonkin said.
Despite these challenges, GoMacro is optimistic about the future of the brand in part because Sonkin said “there are very few bars on the market that are so friendly to a variety of diets (gluten-free, vegan, kosher, etc.) and actually taste delicious.”