FBOMB ramps up multi-channel distribution: ‘Keto and low-carb, high-fat, are still really early on the adoption curve’

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

FBOMB's brick-and-mortar presence has moved from specialty to grocery with addition of HEB stores this month.
FBOMB's brick-and-mortar presence has moved from specialty to grocery with addition of HEB stores this month.

Related tags keto diet

After honing its direct-to-consumer online model since launching in 2015, FBOMB macadamia nut butters and oils have expanded distribution into thousands of retail locations in specialty and grocery channels, targeting three-tiers of consumers.

Within the specialty channel, FBOMB launched nationwide in Vitamin Shoppe stores, and will be available in 2,000 GNC stores by the end of this month.

The Vitamin Shoppe launch, which was the brand’s first brick-and-mortar distribution deal, has been crucial to reaching more of its target audience: consumers following

FBOMB_macadamianutbutter
FBOMB updated its packaging earlier this year for easier on-the-go usage

an active lifestyle or customers looking for weight management solutions.

“We definitely wanted to start with specialty and particularly Vitamin Shoppe within specialty is a trend setter. But I think most importantly, with Vitamin Shoppe are the health enthusiasts (the term used for store employees),”​ Mike Hockenberry, founder and CEO of Disruptive Enterprises (who acquired a controlling interest in FBOMB’s parent company Love You Foods in November 2017), told FoodNavigator-USA.

“They are remarkably passionate and educated about nutrition and health and wellness. Consumers are looking for health and information, for insights, for guidance, and I think the health enthusiasts at Vitamin Shoppe will do a fantastic job at helping them on that.”

Targeting a more mainstream audience

While FBOMB has been able to tap into the keto-following community, it doesn’t want to think of itself as a purely keto brand and sees the products as having a broader consumer appeal.

According to Mintel research, keto remains a niche trend with many products being developed for the sports nutrition market, but US consumers can expect to see more ketogenic-friendly products available in conventional categories.

“As a lifestyle regime, keto is becoming more than just another low carb diet. While its original focus was on macro intakes, today’s keto options encompass aspects of free-from and clean-label diets,”​ Stephanie Mattucci, Mintel associate director of food science, said.

“On the label, it’s really not about keto, it’s about high-fat, low-carb. It’s about the benefits of fats, the high density fuel. Keto and low-carb and high-fat are still really early on the adoption curve,”​ Hockenberry said.

“I always like to think of it as the bullseye of concentric circles. Keto is probably the center of the circle, the next tier is people trying to add fat to their diet, and the big outer tier is people who are following a low carb diet.”

In an effort to target the outer tier of the high-fat, low-carb bullseye, FBOMB is moving into the grocery channel this month and will be available in 200 H-E-B stores with further national distribution in other channels to follow next year.

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