UK-based food supplements innovator Tom Oliver Nutrition has launched a vegan protein bar that looks set to quickly gain a global fanbase.
The Tom Oliver Vegan Protein Bar range follows the same philosophy behind the brand’s successful launches into the omega-3 and protein powder segments.
“We always aim to create products with a sufficient number of USPs to stand out in the crowd, and which have a touchpoint with consumer”, says the brand’s founder, Tom Oliver.
Explaining the thinking behind the new vegan bar range, he says: “The philosophy was to create something that the market was demanding – a vegan based snack that’s high in protein and low in sugar.
“What was striking was that no one had done it. Most of the vegan bars currently on the market are packed with fruit, which gives you a massive amount of sugar. We know that sugar in any form has pretty much the same net effect in the body, so we were determined to get away from that.
“The philosophy was to create something that the market was demanding – a vegan based snack that’s high in protein and low in sugar. What was striking was that no one had done it”
“The product we’ve created, if we compare it to our nearest competitor, is 25% bigger, contains 15% less calories, 38% less fat, 75% less sugar and 15% more protein.”
But Oliver knew that he needed to look beyond nutritional credentials. “Just as with our protein powders, we wanted an emphasis on a really standout flavour. Each of the four flavours in the range – Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Orange and Chocolate Raspberry – take inspiration from premium chocolate brands. We’ve very deliberately premiumised them. So, all of the bars have organic cacao nibs running through. The Chocolate Raspberry bar has freeze-dried raspberries running through – and also sprinkled on top – which gives intense taste and a lovely, deep colour. The Mint Chocolate Product contains mint crystals while Chocolate Orange has caramelised orange pieces running through.”
The naming of range was also carefully considered, says Oliver. “Vegan Protein Bar tells the consumer exactly what the product is. There’s huge, and growing interest in vegan and plant-based, so why complicate the issue? We want to be transparent and to communicate directly with the consumer from the shelf. So, if you’re looking for a vegan product, this product is clearly aimed at you. But the exceptional taste profile and approachable branding mean that the bars also have cross-over appeal. And, honestly, you don’t go to jail if you’re a non-vegan found eating a vegan bar!”
Response to the new bars from both retail buyers and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive, says Oliver, particularly from overseas markets. “We’re getting a lot of interest from India, where we’ll be in 6,000 vending machines by end of the year, and in a further 500 retail locations by the same time. There’s been a great reaction from Singapore, where we work with Holland & Barrett. We’ll be in 500-600 stores in the UAE by the end of September, including Waitrose and Carrefour. Qatar has taken two pallets, that’s 18,000 bars, and we’ll be in 600 outlets of a pharmacy chain in Saudi Arabia by the end of September.
“In Europe, we’re in advanced talks with the UK’s Superdrug chain for the range and we’ve just secured a listing with a really cool skincare-based pharmacy group in Norway. In total, we’ll have done about 100,000 bars in our first month.”
Bolstered by the addition of the vegan bar range, Oliver predicts that his business is on course to double its sales over the course of the new year.