Prime Bar takes on a sports snacking market ‘riddled with sugary over-processed products’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Prime Bar
Pic: Prime Bar

Related tags Meat snacks Prime Bar

Start-up Prime Bar wanted to create a high-protein sports snack that stands out in a market that, co-founder Freddie Gore Browne says, is ‘riddled with sugary over processed products’. The answer? A meat-based bar that packs a beefy punch.

Prime Launched in early 2019 although the company’s co-founder said the team had been ‘playing around’ with its savoury snacking vision for a couple of years.

Freddie Gore Browne said that the impetus behind Prime Bar’s introduction to ‘an unsuspecting snacking community’ was a personal frustration at the state of the sports snacking market. “We love spending time outdoors and are really keen on endurance sports. Whether we’re competing in races or simply training a lot we needed to make sure we ate the right foods and yet the more we peered at the nutritionals and ingredient deck tucked away on the back of the packs the more we realised how riddled with sugar and over-processed these products were. This was hardly what we called healthy and the right way to stay fuelled.

“Everywhere we went we were greeted with sachets of gloop with the appetite of shower gel and date or oat-based bars that professed back-to-basics natural goodness but were anything but.”

Gore Browne is a vocal critic of the ‘sickly sweet snacking experience’ offered by most products available on shelves across Europe. This was what made him decide ‘enough was enough’: “We would make it our mission to launch a real food sports nutrition company that cared about ‘real’ all-natural ingredients of a savoury persuasion – a protein bar made with real protein that would provide fellow active types with a well-deserved break from all the sweet stuff.”

Meat snacking: ‘The oldest food trend on the planet’

For Gore Browne, the solution was to create snack bars that combined high-grade animal protein – in this case beef – with fruits and spices.

Prime Bar founders were inspired by their own sports nutrition needs
Prime Bar founders were inspired by their own sports nutrition needs ©Prime Bar

“Our dream of making a snack bar out of great quality beef, fruits and spices was exciting but is a unique concept in the UK so there was no existing knowledge regarding a sensible process to follow.”

While the concept might seem a little unique – or indeed unusual – Gore Browne says it reflects a back to basics approach to snacking. “We like to think we are not so much the next big food trend but the oldest food trend on the planet which people will revert to through common sense – eating a balanced diet of good quality meat, vegetables and fruits,”​ he told FoodNavigator.

“Prime is high in protein but the real benefit is the source of our protein. We use 100% British bred grass-fed beef which is an extremely nutrient-empowered protein friendly format.”

And while beef bars might not be what first springs to your mind when you think of snacking options, market research suggests that the meat snacking market is indeed in growth globally. According to Mordor Intelligence, the meat snacks market is projected to record a compound annual growth rate of 9% between 2019 and 2024.

Indeed, Gore Browne noted meat snacks are particularly gaining traction in the US, where the category is significantly more developed. “Meat bars are a booming category over there set to be $600m by 2021. In America there is a huge drive towards paleo diets where people are looking to base their diets on ingredients we have survived and thrived on for millennia.”

Putting good nutrition front and centre

Central to Prime Bar’s identity is good nutrition – and Gore Browne recalled the food science side of product development was something of a learning journey for the founders. But one which, having taken, places Prime Bar in a ‘really defensible position’ in terms of business costs and differentiation.

“There was no getting away from the fact that in order to succeed we’d have to learn all about the food science of our product not to mention all the aspects of the manufacturing process which was ridiculously complicated. Whilst going alone is inevitably harder than outsourcing it does mean that you end up with an uncompromised solution. What’s more we’re now in a really defensible position to control our costs and improve our profitability over time,​” he explained.

Nutritionally, Prime Bar feeds into growing dietary trends around paleo and keto diets. But Gore Browne said that the appeal of Prime Bar is actually much wider. “These are very influential niche markets but actually the real drivers are far wider than that and lean to what Prime is all about. Consumers are saying ‘no’ to sugar and ‘yes’ to real, whole food ingredients from sources they can trust.”

For Gore Browne, the contrast between Prime Bar’s ‘real’ ingredients and other products on the market remains the biggest differentiator for the group.

“When people realise how much sugar is in the date-based energy bars/protein ball or granola based bars there will be a real push back. These so called “healthy” bars often have between 15- 20 grams of sugar, we don’t need to tell you that that’s not healthy. A Prime bar has a quarter of the sugar of these bars and using grass-fed beef makes it an incredibly nutrient-dense snack that’s high in protein and made from only best-in-class natural ingredients.”

A shorter ingredients list also feeds into growing consumer demand for so-called ‘clean label’ products.

“Other protein bars have over forty ingredients most of which you can’t pronounce. We’re all about a homemade outlook – only using a handful of ‘real’ ingredients that make a difference – we haven’t any space for lazy fillers or second-best ingredients,”​ he stressed.

In this way, minimally processed is a central building block for the brand. “You shouldn’t have to compromise if you want a healthy, high protein snack and at the moment all the existing offering feels very artificial. Prime Bar offers an alternative pathway for people who care about what they put in their bodies,”​ the brand’s founder stressed.

Prime Bar is available in original and chilli flavours and in the new year will be rolling out a Peperami product, using its prime beef.

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