Founder Suzie Yorke, who has been working in the CPG industry for decades, including serving as the VP of marketing for Weight Watchers and the ZAG Group, said the swift growth of love good fats exceeded expectations.
“I had never seen this before, which is why we had a more modest growth plan,” Yorke told FoodNavigator-USA, who had not planned to launch into the US for a few more years.
“I don’t think there’s any brand that’s done what we’ve done in food in Canada in over 20 years.”
But the company has welcomed the accelerated growth pace and is now scaling to meet US demand and building out its US team, with Yorke working in Denver for the first half of 2019 and a VP of marketing based in New York.
Over the next few months, love good fats will continue to build a network of retailers in North America that expands the growing brand's reach and in-store presence.
Building a lifestyle keto brand
Yorke started following the keto diet after reading The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz (who now serves on the brand’s advisory board), but felt there ought to be a brand that serves as the “beacon brand” for the keto lifestyle, just as the Atkins brand did for the low carb, high protein diet.
The lack of this sort of brand was even more apparent when walking the showfloor at the Natural Products Expos in the US and Canada each year.
“I realized that there’s no brand that’s playing the role that needs to be played, which is to be the beacon brand to get North Americans to eat more fat and less sugar and feel really good about it,” Yorke explained.
“It takes more than a Time Magazine cover with butter on it; We need more than that.”
Yorke started small, launching two snack bars with 1-2 grams of sugar, moderate protein (9-10 grams), and 14 grams of fat, into natural foods stores, then quickly expanded to six snack bars after strong consumer demand.
“In natural we've pretty much shot up to the #1 and #2 bestselling bars in most stores that we’re in. The in-market data tells us that natural, conventional, and mass are all buying us. The product proposition is resonating really well,” Yorke said.
Yorke added that love good fats will be expanding beyond snack bars to a broader portfolio that includes meal solutions using different types of fats for those following the keto diet.
Currently the bars use a proprietary fats blend – peanut butter or almond butter (depending on the flavor), palm stearin, and coconut oil – as the base.
“The bars on purpose do not have sugar alcohol. We don’t believe in having an overly sweet snack because if you really believe in the lifestyle of low carb and keto you want to remove your addiction to the sugar cravings.”
Keto: lifestyle or another diet trend?
As others diets come and go, love good fats is betting big that keto will continue to take off in consumer interest because the keto diet allows for more personalization and indulgence in food choices compared to other diets such as Whole30 and Paleo.
According to ingredient supplier Kerry’s consumer research, the keto diet is forming a strong following despite the lack of ‘keto-branded’ products.
“Consumers may be making their own keto meals and indulgent desserts and cocktails because they’re unable to identify which grocery and restaurant product align with the keto lifestyle,” Kerry said.
“Until this category expands, many keto-followers are shopping for paleo-branded products, which often have closely aligned nutrition and are currently more plentiful on the market.”
Keto-ish.... almost keto?
There’s also a flexible attitude forming among keto followers with books and blogs advocating a ‘keto-ish’ or ‘almost-keto’ lifestyle that celebrates cheat days and isn’t as bound by strict rules, Kerry noted.
This is where love good fats wants to fit in, by offering a convenient option to make 'going keto' more attainable.
“We really want to recommend a lifelong cycling in and out of low carb or keto, but really staying in the whole bucket of eating more fats and eating less carbs,” Yorke said.