For decades the nutrition bar category has been dominated by classic sweet flavors, such as chocolate chip, peanut butter and brownie, which more easily mask the blends of proteins and other ingredients that could make bars bitter.
But recently that has started to change with the introduction in the past two years of bars that are more salty, savory and spicy than sweet.
Now, That’s It. fruit bars will showcase zesty.
“Everything we do is gauged toward mass appeal,” and right now consumers increasingly are shunning added sugar and looking instead for more spicy, ethnic and bold flavors, said Lior Lewensztain, the creator of That’s It. bars, which are made from real fruit and not purees, concentrates or juices.
He explained that the new Zesty line’s Apple Mango Chili will satisfy consumer desire for hot peppers, the Apple Pear Ginger will meet demand for international flavors and Apple Cinnamon will offer a classic American pairing that warms consumers.
Just like the company’s classic fruit bars, the Zesty bars include two servings of fruit in each bar and have no preservatives, added sugar or nuts. But with the addition of basic spices, such as cinnamon, cayenne and ginger, they deviate from the original bars’ simplicity of including only fruit – the basic concept that inspired the brand’s name: That’s It.
But Lewensztain is not worried that the new line, and additional ingredients, will dilute the branding. Rather, he says the new bars will provide additional snacking options to entice consumers and advance the company’s mission of inspiring consumers to eat more fruit.
Even with the addition of the spices, Lewensztain says the ingredient decks are still clean, easily understandable and short with only two or three ingredients in each bar. Plus, he says, the spices are not so bold as to overshadow the fruit, which is still “front and center.”
Chocolate-covered fruit bites
The company also will launch in the next few months That’s It. Bites – “dark chocolate truffles with pieces of fruit bars in the center,” Lewensztain told FoodNavigator-USA.
The “gumball round bites” have a notably longer ingredient list than the bars, but at five ingredients, including the chocolate, they are still “very, very clean – as clean as you can get with a chocolate product,” Lewensztain said.
He explained that because the product uses dark chocolate and real fruit they offer health benefits that are not provided by competing confections and baked sweets, which might tempt consumers.
“The bites come five per single-serve pouch with each bite about 30-32 calories, so it really provides a healthy decadence if you will. They are kind of like cheating or eating a sweet snack on the go, but consumers can still feel good because they are getting 1-2 servings for fruit and all the health benefits they provide,” including fiber.
Because the chocolate is dark and not milk, the snack also is free from cholesterol as well as free from preservatives, gluten and nuts.
Positioned as a premium confection, the That’s It. Bites will allow the company to enter new distribution channels that do not stock nutrition or fruit bars, including specialty food stores, Lewensztain said.
Likewise, the new product changes the company from a bar manufacturer to a “fruit company,” he said. This will further broaden the company’s ability to provide “a food solution” to the 2/3 of Americans who do not eat the recommended number of fruit servings each day.
For example, he mused, maybe someday the standard gift of a fruit basket will be replaced with longer-lasting and more convenient, on-the-go fruit-based snacks from That’s It.
To increase this potential, Lewensztain said the company will continue to innovate and launch new products, including additional flavors in the zesty and original lines, as well as potentially add other lines.