UK start-up The Frank Food Company will target the free-from, nutrition and energy sectors with its new cereal bar range, its managing director says.
The natural ingredients specialist has launched its first product range of chocolate-coated cereal bars in five variants – Double Chocolate, Strawberry, Blueberry, Oat and Orange. The products are gluten, nut and dairy free and made from 100% natural ingredients with no additives.
The bars have been on the UK market for three weeks and are available in smaller, independent outlets including health food stores, farm and coffee shops and convenience stores.
Richard Wilson, MD of The Frank Food Company said the new range targets the free-from sector along with the nutrition and energy markets.
“It’s not an energy bar, it’s a healthy cereal bar but the energy content is high,” Wilson told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Exclusive energy hits
The bars include an energy blend – ‘Energy Smart’ – from US supplier Advanced Ingredients Incorporated. Wilson said The Frank Food Company has struck an agreement for exclusive use of the trademark for the ingredient mix in cereal bars in the UK.
The blend is made of concentrated fruit juices and natural starches, he said, and has undergone clinical trials in the US to prove its efficacy.
“It acts as an energy punch but gives a quick hit that doesn’t fall off. It ensures sustained release over a period of time,” he said.
The managing director said there are extensive opportunities in the free-from sector in the UK that the range hopes to profit from.
“A lot of consumers are trying to avoid various allergens and foods that cause intolerance,” he said.
According to research from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), about 17 million Europeans suffer from food allergies and in Anglo-Saxon countries hazelnuts, peanuts and walnuts are the most problematic.
Wilson said that in particular, there are huge opportunities in the UK gluten-free segment given increasing numbers of consumers with intolerance to wheat.
According to Coeliac UK, research conducted in the last ten years shows that 1 in 100 people across the UK have celiac disease, but it is estimated that less than one in five of these are diagnosed.
The bars are manufactured at a dedicated nut, gluten and dairy-free site in Cambridgeshire.
A point of difference in the market?
Wilson said the range offers something different to a “bland and insatiable” health food market.
“We don’t feel we match what is already on the market, we beat it in a lot of cases. There are a lot of cereal bars that are not what they claim to be in terms of health. We’ve also got all the free-from attributes that a lot of cereal bars don’t have.”
“We are different in terms of flavour and texture – the texture that we’ve achieved is remarkable… It’s not a grainy bar; it’s got more of a cake, fudge-like texture. This definitely adds appeal,” he said.
Eyeing broader markets
Wilson revealed that The Frank Food Company is currently in negotiations with a US distributor for the cereal bar range.
“US expansion is only a matter of months away. We’re aiming to be in this market by summer,” he said.
He added that Europe also represents huge opportunities and the company plans to be present across Europe by the end of 2013.
In terms of UK growth strategy, the company will broaden its distribution network and eventually target larger retailers, he said.