September 27, 2023

Food Entrepreneur SAN DIEGO — Shopper curiosity in recent snacking has accelerated in recent times, driving demand for refrigerated, ready-to-eat choices positioned as premium and free from preservatives. A San Diego startup is tapping into the pattern with a line of chilled oat bars impressed by muesli.

Marketed as a “recent granola bar,” Mooski Snacks’ bars are coated in darkish chocolate and formulated with natural oats, nut butter, almond flour, coconut oil and natural agave. Flavors embody peanut butter banana, cookie dough and chocolate peanut crunch. The merchandise are bought in espresso outlets and specialty markets in California.

“We’re rolling out into Mom’s Market now and Bristol Farms shortly, half of a bigger, targeted push into greater retailers within the Southwest market,” mentioned Robert Broome, founder and chief govt officer. “We’re within the late levels of finalizing a nationwide launch for later this yr.”

Previous to launching Mooski final April, Mr. Broome held innovation and advertising and marketing roles for distinguished vitamin bar manufacturers. He started his profession at RXBAR, tasked with main the event of a savory snack bar that includes chickpeas and lentils.

“I spent eight months each single day within the lab working with chickpeas and understanding how binder syrups work,” Mr. Broome recalled. “Truthfully it gave me the muse to discover ways to create bars. I spent actually three months attempting to determine methods to create a non-sweet binding system. It’s not straightforward… I used to be working 80 hours per week attempting to determine a binding system that might work with these flavors like Buffalo and chili lime. I discovered a lot about elements and sourcing elements and making bars.

“That was mainly the foundation of producing my curiosity in bars. Mooski in some ways, it was, how are you going to create this granola bar with out all the everyday granola bar options like utilizing a considerable amount of binder syrups and excessive sugar? That’s how I began fascinated about this product.”

He started experimenting with the idea a number of years in the past, initially aiming to create a bar primarily based on in a single day oats previous to touchdown on thicker and firmer Bircher muesli, a breakfast staple of his Swiss heritage.

 Keen to flee Chicago winters, he moved to California on the onset of the pandemic and joined Clio Snacks, the maker of coated Greek yogurt bars, as model supervisor for almost two years, gaining perception into the refrigerated bar phase.

“As I used to be working at Clio, I had this itch,” Mr. Broome mentioned. “I knew I needed to go away to (launch Mooski).”

He produced early batches of Mooski bars in a industrial kitchen, hand-dipping every bar in chocolate, previous to snagging used manufacturing gear “at a closely discounted fee” by means of an business connection and splurging on a chocolate enrobing machine.

“Now we’ve got a full-scale mini operation facility that we constructed out in 4 months,” Mr. Broome mentioned. “From an (mental property) perspective, we are able to make the product we need to make. We’ve full management over it … there’s completely different concessions it’s a must to make when going to a (contract producer). Each single co-man I talked to mentioned to make use of compound coating for the chocolate with palm oil … I used to be like, ‘No, I need to use an actual chocolate coating.’”

He recruited a number of bar model veterans to fill his staff. Stano Lio, a former meals scientist at RXBAR, is analysis and growth scientist. Chelsea Sherman, beforehand a provide chain supervisor at RXBAR, is head of finance and provide chain. Austin Temple, following a virtually 14-year stint at refrigerated bar pioneer Excellent Snacks, joined Mooski as operations supervisor.

“We’re 4 bar individuals,” Mr. Broome mentioned. “It’s intentional in some ways as a result of whenever you’re a startup you don’t have time, and with the ability to discuss with and work with individuals you recognize or those who know the business of bars, it saves a lot time. We belief one another as a result of everyone knows this very effectively.”

As Mooski Snacks enters its second yr of enterprise, the startup is planning to lift a seed spherical of funding and is assembling an advisory staff “with superior and really related business expertise,” Mr. Broome mentioned. The model additionally is about to exhibit at Pure Merchandise Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., March 7-11.

Future product growth could “faucet into the upper protein event,” Mr. Broome mentioned, noting “being rooted in freshness, indulgence and oats are our model and product guardrails.”

“I believe if there’s one factor I’ve discovered at RXBAR and Clio, it’s that a number of manufacturers attempt to add on too many (stock-keeping models) manner too quick,” he mentioned. “So, I’m attempting to be conservative … use these three SKUs which have confirmed they’re winners on this space and scale these nationally.”

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