Five Friends Hit Refresh on Their Snack Bar
Apple-banana-almond-raisin bars didn’t fly off the shelves when Fresh Bar launched in 2012. After all, consumers were used to dried, shelf-stable granola bars. But with more people seeking fresh snacks, the Minneapolis company rebranded with simpler packaging aimed at grabbing the attention of kids and their health-conscious parents. Now sales are growing at a healthy pace.
Five Friends Food, a nod to its founders (you guessed it—five longtime friends from Mankato), is the creator of Fresh Bar. Now called Nomi, their snack bar is the first fresh fruit and oat bar of its kind, a claim to fame that seems to be resonating with consumers: Same-store sales are up 50 percent since the rebranding in April, says CEO Will Handke.
The company raised more than $500,000 in February to help fund Nomi’s rebrand, expand its marketing efforts, and build a sales team outside of Minnesota. The five founders are the only salaried employees, but they contract about 40 employees for production, sales, and marketing.
Nomi bars are produced in Shakopee and sold in nearly 400 locations in 15 states, including Lunds and Byerlys, Hy-Vee, Target, Wegman’s, and several co-ops.
Available in six flavors, Nomi bars are made with simple ingredients, naturally sweetened with honey, gluten-free, and rich in fiber, whole grain, and protein. Peanut butter-banana-chocolate chip is the most popular flavor. Because there are no artificial preservatives, the bars are kept refrigerated, but they can last up to three days at room temperature. A single bar costs $1.99 and a four-pack goes for $6.99, which is competitive for refrigerated bars.
“We wanted to create a fresh product that was affordable for families,” Handke says.
In addition to changing the bar’s name, the rebrand included new messaging and packaging that highlights the bar’s key features and storage information. “After a lot of research, we found that young families with kids were our biggest target market,” says marketing director Tom Johnson.
With the rebrand behind them, Handke and his team are exploring a brand ambassador program, a low-calorie option, new flavors, and new markets to further grow the company.