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Updated. Upgraded. NEW Picky Bars!

August 14, 2018

Updated. Upgraded. NEW Picky Bars!

 

Hello Picky People!

As you likely have heard, potentially even through the rumbling of your stomach, we’ve had some fairly serious supply chain problems lately and have been flat out of stock of all bars for about four weeks. Yikes! Well, I let my employees relay all the bad news and saved the good news for myself... So, finally, here is some good news!

Our NEW bars (yes, updated, upgraded, NEW bars) are available, in all flavors, and we have plenty! So cheer, rejoice, and buy as many as you need to stop that tummy growling!

Picky Bars New Wrappers

[SHOP NEW PICKY BARS]

I’m super proud of this moment in Picky history as it’s not only turning a corner from maybe our “lowest low,” but is (more importantly) the culmination of a year's worth of super hard work by our entire team. While this has an obvious and very exciting impact now, it's also very exciting for our big picture, allowing us to better fulfill our mission of fueling great experiences for as many people as possible.

First some backstory. For the first few years, Picky Bars were made by hand in mine and Lauren’s home until Lauren’s hands nearly fell off and we literally couldn’t get enough helping hands in the kitchen to keep up with demand. We upgraded to a boutique co-packer in Spokane - also a small and growing business - where we’ve had our bars made for the last six years. In the last 18 months or so we began straining their capacity, realizing with each out of stock headache that we needed more room to grow.

Around the same time, we identified two other “problems” we wanted to tackle: Packaging and ingredients. As we added more retail channels to the mix (natural grocery, outdoor stores, specialty, etc), we heard feedback that while the packaging was certainly cool, community-driven, and on brand, it was hard to understand what the product and flavor was, particularly to those who were discovering it for the first time. We also heard resistance about our use of agave, which makes the bars soft and chewy and provides a little bit of readily available energy to balance the slower digesting nut butters and whole fruits. While we source responsible, high quality agave, widespread use in the industry of low-grade uber processed agave has turned a lot of people off, so we took the opportunity to explore alternatives to see what we might like better.

So we had this mega multi-problem to solve, all in one big swoop - Find a new co-packer with more scale, redesign packaging, and tweak our recipes. As I mentioned in episode 12 of our podcast, changing direction for a “big ship” takes a lot of time and effort from everyone involved, and boy did it ever.

Well, after almost 12 months of ups, downs, taste-tests, contract negotiations, and extensive conversations over ampersand usage, that ship is ready to set sail! We found a great new co-packer just over the hill in McMinnville, OR to work with, and Lauren, the team, and I are super proud of the final product -  We’re super excited for you to see and taste it (them)!

SO, WHAT’S NEW???

With our “new” bar launching you will find -

  • New packaging! Our new iteration of #lifepoints wrappers (designed by in-house artist, Kelli Meyer) better shows what our bars are, what they’re made for, and how they stand out from the competition:
    • Balanced Energy. No fads, trends, or extremes, just real food athletically balanced in a way that tastes great, energizes you, and keeps you going strong.
    • Fun Flavors. Clearer flavor descriptions and fun ingredient imagery.
    • All the "-Free’s." All Picky Bars are still gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO free. We are proud to make super delicious recipes with options that are inclusive of people with gut sensitivities and/or allergies. (Non-GMO Project Verified stamp coming soon!)
    • #Lifepoints Lives On. We re-imagined some customer submitted #lifepoints photos that speak to our enjoyment of activity and the outdoors, like the giant blueberry in Alysia Montaño’s arm on Blueberry Boomdizzle and the vanilla bean blossom in her hair.
  • Switch from agave to tapioca. Nutrition-wise, tapioca (from the cassava root) uses natural enzymes rather than acid to process the starch into sugar and is lower in fructose than agave. The taste is less sweet, allowing the nuts and fruits to be the real stars, and we’ve found the bars have an awesomely soft and chewy texture less prone to crumbling. Score! It also decreases our added sugar content in each bar to about 4-5g for most flavors, about enough energy to power you through about a lap around a track on its own, and when paired with the other ingredients, you get energy that both fuels and sustains. While we are aware that sugar is the latest fad ingredient on which to blame all human suffering, we simply don’t think a rock hard sugar-free brick is appetizing, or necessary. We are very confident in the sports nutrition profile and performance of our recipes.
  • More consistency. Bar size, flavor, and packaging will be improved with better equipment and processes.
  • Freshy fresh. Thanks to better packaging and a wrapping process that removes most oxygen from inside the wrapper, the bars are going to taste fresher than ever, longer.
  • Fewer out of stocks. Hopefully (knock on wood), we'll have little to no supply chain interruptions as we continue to grow, while adding more retail and online options for you to purchase the product.

New Picky Bars

[NEW PICKY BARS]

WHERE WE’RE HEADED NOW

There are a lot of advantages with this move, but maybe most exciting to you is that we’ll have more capabilities for developing new products and marketing activities. No promises on whats or whens or whosits, but you have my permission to get at least little excited about what’s down the road! For me as an owner and CEO and spreadsheet guy, it’s exciting because it’ll put the business in a much healthier place financially, help a ton with forecasting, and we'll be able to (hopefully sooner than later) start digging out of this hole we've gotten ourselves in over the last 18 months. It’s also our hope that these improved processes will eventually allow us to get our price point down. This is not an easy thing to do when you make high quality products at a relatively small scale, but I wanted you guys to know that we are doing our best working towards that goal of being more accessible to more people. Lots of good stuff to come...

Thank you all so much for encouraging and supporting us through these changes! The positive responses - from Picky Clubbers to our biggest retailers - have been overwhelming and much appreciated during the rough last few weeks. We’re stoked to get this product to you! As always, if you have any feedback, questions, or comments please feel free to email me at jesse@pickybars.com. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to reply to every one, but I’ll definitely read and take them all to heart!

Thanks guys!

Jesse


Jesse Thomas Lauren Fleshman Picky Bars Owners

PS - I wanted to give a massive public thanks to all of our employees for the individual contribution they all made to make this step possible.

  • Bernadette - for navigating the crazy supply chain world and managing the biggest transition in Picky history
  • Kelli - for the amazing, clean, near perfect packaging and for keeping smile through the many delays, changes, and extra feedback
  • Mel for being on the front line with Picky Clubs and all incoming customer service probs during this out of stock and transition
  • Nadine, Sarah, and our intern Julia for communicating to the club, managing the OOS and creating awesome content to launch with the new bars
  • Ben and Liz for managing the expectation and feedback from our retailers keeping an eye out for them, communicating thoroughly and thoughtfully and being patient as hell waiting for product to come in
  • Collier for doing the same thing with our international customers, keeping a level head through the transition and communicating with them throughout
  • Matt for navigating a lot of the older supply chain issues and pricing financial analysis support throughout this one
  • Noah and now Erik for waiting, repacking and dealing with all the crazy stock issues we’ve had in house over the last 18 months!



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