by Matt Weik
For as long as I can remember, protein and nutritional bars have been a hot commodity. These convenience items have flown off the shelves and more and more people are entering the room. Quest, Kind, RXBar, Atkins, Clif and similar brands introduce nutritional bars in many different flavors and profiles. I was blown away by what I was reading online and the data I saw because it doesn't make sense to me but I don't like the numbers.
The sale of nutritional bars is declining
I read an article from Food Navigator USA about nutritional bars and their growth (or lack thereof) and the numbers made me take a double shot. At the beginning of 2020, all listed nutrient bars showed growth until February. When March and April arrived, the bus was thrown backwards and the accelerator pedal was pressed.
Some major brands are experiencing a drop in sales and some of the names should surprise you. At Quest Nutrition, which sold for $ 1 billion in two months in 2019, its nutrition bar sales fell 20%. Atkins is another bar on the list that has dropped 11%. The other three big players in the data were Clif, Kind and RXBar, all of which saw a 5.8% drop in sales.
According to what was mentioned in the article, they attributed much of the decline to where the nutrient bars are in stores – the beauty and complementary aisle that doesn't have much pedestrian traffic these days.
Why sales and growth data shock me
Generally speaking, when you think of the people who consume these nutrient bars, it is people who focus on improving their health, controlling their weight and leading a more active lifestyle compared to those who spend the night on the couch sit and watch Netflix and think A dumbbell is her uncle Barry. What would make these people change their behavior?
I can only speak for myself and some close friends in the industry, but our behavior and eating habits have not changed throughout our stay at home. In fact, many of us prefer healthy snacks in the form of nutritional bars to prevent us from raiding the pantry and reaching for chips, pretzels, and other unhealthy treats.
Nutritional bars are a matter of convenience. If you want to get protein quickly and easily, nutrient bars are a good choice. Quest Nutrition has some of the best bars on the market and from the brands I mentioned they have had the greatest success of all.
Should these brands be concerned?
I am not a Nostradamus, but what we are experiencing will end and the decline we have seen in the economy will reverse. The main reason for the decline is that people don't go to work, don't make the money they were when companies were open, and are more conservative with their finances. I can't blame them, it makes sense.
I think if companies open up, the demand for these bars will increase again and the decline these brands are currently experiencing will only be a small slip on the radar. All of these nutrient bars mentioned are growing year by year, which shows that there shouldn't be much concern about the lasting impact this will have.
When gyms are open and people spend more time walking around and browsing grocery stores, sales increase. At the moment, people are stuck at home training, are not traveling and want to get in and out of the grocery store as if a historic snowstorm hit their area and they have to hurry home.
Not everyone is fighting in the bar market
I look around my office or desk and have a number of protein and nutrient bars lying around that I bought at home when I ordered, along with some samples that many of my customers sent me to try mine to give feedback on. My plan for buying food bars was to use them as healthy snacks between meals or late at night when I ask for something bad. I found that I had to stop my wife and son from stealing my bars.
One of the most popular bars in my house (and I happen to have a lot of them) are the outright bars. I was wondering how these nutritional bars are doing, so I turned to Marc Lobliner to see if he was willing to share his sales data with me, and I honestly didn't expect him to be so open. He told me that sales were still solid, despite what everyone around him is going through in the room. He contacted his team to get the numbers and he gave me the data that the Outright Bar had risen 637%. That's a HUGE increase considering that other key players like Quest Nutrition are kicking their shins.
Overall, I don't think we have cause for concern or concern. Assuming the brands of these nutritional bars can hang tight on the chin for the time being and eradicate the storm, sales should return. Until then, I'll sit here and eat my outright bars and wait for the latest flavors to drop so I can spend all my money on nutritional bars.
Source: Food Navigator USA