It’s no secret that the current position of protein and nutrition bars in the health food segment presents a major potential for protein bar start-ups. Despite the temporary disruption in sales in 2020, the nutrition bar market saw a major resurgence in 2021 as restrictions eased and health food innovators found new ways to appeal to consumers looking for convenient, healthy snack options. Now in 2022, the global protein bar market is exceeding its previous value estimates to boast a value of $4.68 billion that is projected to grow to $7.07 billion by 2029. The recent acquisition of Clif Bar by Mondelez International Inc. for nearly $3 billion further supports this growing demand from big name corporations and consumers alike to find and invest in the next best protein bar.
If you are the owner of a protein bar start-up or are considering starting a business in the protein bar industry, now is the time to start making moves! We’ve identified the top 5 marketplaces that protein bar entrepreneurs should leverage to get business thriving once they are ready to start selling:
Known for its exceptional support of independent artists, collectors, crafters, and entrepreneurs, Etsy is an online marketplace that is gaining popularity in the health food industry as a “modern farmer’s market”. It has become a go-to for protein and snack bar business owners that are interested in sharing innovative products affordably. Moreover, Etsy is a popular hub for millennial and gen z customers focused on finding sustainable, healthy, buzzworthy brands.
Due to its accessibility and rising popularity in the health and wellness markets, Etsy is an ideal place for protein bar startups to begin building their brand, learning about their customer base, and testing their product’s potential. It accepts a wide variety of payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Etsy Gift Cards, making the checkout process easier for a larger volume of repeat customers.
Creating a seller profile is free. Additionally, you have the option to start advertising your listings on front pages as your business grows. Please also be aware that there are specific food and edible item guidelines that should be taken into consideration before beginning distribution.
There is no denying that Amazon is one of the top, if not the top, eCommerce platforms for industries across the board. Its massive, global customer base brings in approximately $242 billion in net sales per year, making it a major asset for protein brands in the early stages of development. In concurrence with the growing demand for protein bars in general, Amazon’s powerful platform is driving much of the sector’s growth.
Though starting out on this giant platform may seem intimidating for small bar brands due to its complicated signup processes, we highly encourage signing up and utilizing Amazon as an incubator to develop and perfect your product. By approaching your new Amazon storefront from the lens of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), start-ups can use the platform to test the market and find out whether people find value in what they offer and receive feedback quickly so you can improve your product where needed.
To make the most of your seller experience on Amazon, consider choosing a protein bar copacker that has experience with Amazon fulfillment.
3. Bubble Goods
Apart from the major eCommerce platforms, it is a good idea to seek out online spaces that are specifically designed to put you in touch with the health and wellness community. Bubble is an online marketplace specifically targeted to health food and snack consumers that emphasizes total transparency of the products they sell. People are paying closer attention to the ingredients in their products and are keen to choose healthy foods that are honest about their ingredients and productions.
Customers have become more reliant on accessible online storefronts to get their weekly, even daily, necessities. Bubble makes it easy for sellers to get their product on consumer radars by offering direct delivery, a luxury that most consumers prefer to use nowadays. Additionally, using their Stamp of Approval, Bubble further confirms for your customers the authenticity and safety of your product. This gives customers an incentive to trust your brand. You can learn more about getting set up on Bubble here.
4. Your Local Farmer's Market
Now that pandemic restrictions have eased nationwide, many consumers are eager to get out into their community to connect and find new nutritional options. Local farmer’s markets are an excellent place for start-up brands to raise awareness of their products locally and directly connect with a wide demographic. In general, farmer’s market vendors and visionaries are known for selling products that focus on sustainability, health, freshness, and organic ingredients. As a protein bar start-up, these types of vendors present a great opportunity for networking in the nutrition food market, as well.
This is a great starting point for start-ups that want more room to experiment with pricing and product presentation. Additionally, you can save on the extra expense of shipping fees to customers. Before signing up for a vendor position at your local farmer’s market, speak with an experienced co-packer and protein bar manufacturer for more information on packaging presentation options and how to best market your new brand.
5. Gyms and/or Cafes
Protein and energy bar brands have a special place in the hearts of health and fitness enthusiasts. Apart from their supplemental health benefits, they are a great pre- and post-workout snack that gym members look for at local shops and gyms. Partnering with gyms and cafes in your area can help you define the goals of your brand as a marketplace aisle item and put you in direct contact with a large part of your target audience.
Collaboration with these businesses, both small and large, is an excellent way to network within the health food industry and learn from business owners who have gone through the start-up process themselves. It also doesn’t have to be a one-way street, since you can also help your local gym or cafe bring in more revenue as your brand grows.
As a new protein bar business, your main goal is to secure your success once you have already followed through with the basic steps in building your brand. In concurrence with selling on the above major online and local marketplaces, we also recommend creating your own website where you can completely focus on making your brand known and offering customers a common touch-point to engage with you. Once you’ve become familiar with and followed the right steps, there’s a good chance that you can be picked up by even bigger brands or brick-and-mortar stores, and take a major share of the growing protein bar market.
If you're considering starting your own protein bar company, there are many factors to consider before selling. As an industry-leading protein and snack bar co-packers, YouBar empowers our clients’ brands with expert product development, packaging, and manufacturing. Contact us today to get started.