Based in Austin, Texas, Christensen launched the functional bar brand (formally MCTco) which uses a variety of functional ingredients such as collagen, plant protein, prebiotic fiber, and MCT oil to deliver a line of nutrition bars with 10g of protein, 7g of fiber, and zero added sugar (in its Dessert Bars line).
In 2021, NuSkool was selected to join the inaugural Mondelez SnackFutures CoLab startup program and since its launch has attracted a number of investors including the founders of Super Coffee, Jim, Jake, and Jordan, DeCicco; co-founder of Liquid I.V. (acquired by Unilever in 2020); Hayden Fulstone; and Jackie Fast, managing partner are Sandbox Studios.
Tebow will be joining NuSkool as an investor and chief mission officer acting as public voice and face of the brand.
“I’ve tried to eliminate sugar from my diet for close to 20 years, and it’s been tough to stay fueled up with few trusted snack options readily available. NuSkool Snacks has made it easier and more enjoyable to eat on the go, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Joe and his incredible team to make delicious, healthy, and low-sugar nutrition bars available to consumers everywhere. I’m excited to help NuSkool Snacks increase their retail presence and bring more options to more people through collaborative marketing campaigns," Tebow told this publication.
"He will definitely play a key role in mission, brand, and voice," Christensen told FoodNavigator-USA, adding that the partnership came about organically from Tebow trying NuSkool Snacks independently and reaching out to Christensen about collaborating on the brand, which is centered on reducing added sugar in the American diet.
"There’s a large sugar consumption issue in America and nutrition bars should not be where sugar consumption takes place," said Christensen, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, adding that one of the sobering statistics that stunned him into action to create the brand was the fact that roughly 10% of US adults have diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) and another 34.5% of US adult population has been diagnosed with prediabetes, according CDC 2020 figures.
"We are very steadfast in our mission to advocate for low-sugar snacking," said Christensen, who is working towards distribution in the Midwest where he feels the brand can have a huge impact.
"The whole point of building this is to deliver tasty, healthy snacks to middle America."
Bar category, back to normal?
Asked how the bar category has recovered since taking a significant dip during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when on-the-go consumption took a backseat to bulk buying and pantry loading, Christensen said the category has made huge strides in the past two years.
"It’s certainly recovered. The overall sales volume has returned and exceeded pre-COVID figures," he said.
"There’s also an acknowledgment [from retailers] that yes, it’s a crowded mature category, but it’s also segmented out quite a bit. Now I think is the era of hitting three or four [nutrition] pillars (i.e. plant-based, low-sugar, and added protein) with one single product, and that’s where we feel that we deliver that to the market."
For NuSkool, Christensen noted how the brand has found success taking a slower, measured approach to distribution, which he anticipates will accelerate with the addition of Tebow to its leadership team.
"We’ve gone deeper and wider into existing accounts. It’s really about continuing to stick to our plan and not overextending our flavor counts. In this environment of supply chain, we’re actually cutting a few SKUs, and simplifying the entire operation," added Christensen.