Laird Superfood enters snacking category with new bar

Dive Brief:

  • Laird Superfood is launching plant-based protein bars that mark the brand’s entry into the snack category, the company said in a statement.
  • Each Laird Superfood Plant-Based Protein Bar with Adaptogens has 10 grams of plant-based protein from peas, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds, 6 grams of dietary fiber and all 9 essential amino acids at naturally occurring amounts, according to the company. It also contains adaptogens from chaga and lion’s mane extracts.
  • Functional food and beverage offerings have surged in popularity as consumers look for more than just sustenance in the products they consume during meals or while snacking.

Dive Insight:

While Laird has focused on making simple, functional foods with clean ingredients such as mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and hemp, a portable bar is key for an on-the-go consumer snacking more than ever.

Until now, Laird has packaged these and other well-known ingredients into creamers, coffees, cereals and pancake and waffle mixes. But as consumers feel more comfortable venturing out of the home to work, exercise or travel, it can be harder to consume these offerings on the go.

The bar, which comes in peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate chip, chocolate mint and lemon almond flavors, gives Laird a presence in the away-from-home category and a snack to compete with similar items from large CPGs such as Mondelēz International and Hershey, along with countless upstarts. Mondelēz recently doubled down on the category by agreeing to pay at least $2.9 billion for Clif Bar & Company, a maker of nutritious and organic snacks.

“With the growing number of consumers interested in plant-based snacks made from real food ingredients tailored to fit their specific diets, we’ve created a convenient protein-packed snack that will power them through every daypart,” Jason Vieth, Laird’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Laird bar contains several in-demand ingredients like fiber, protein and adaptogens — an attractive mix for a shopper looking to eat healthier. While the product marks Laird’s first entry into the snack category, it’s not the company’s first introduction to bars. 

Last summer, Laird acquired Picky Bars, a provider of energy bars and nutritionally enhanced oatmeal and granola, for $12 million. Picky Bars, founded by professional athletes in 2010, specializes in clean-label products with a balanced protein, fat and carbohydrate content.

The new Laird bar launch comes amid a challenging time for the company, co-founded seven years ago by big wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

Since Laird Superfood went public at $22 a share in late 2020, it has struggled, similar to a lot of IPOs around that time. Its stock now trades at $2 a share. In January, the company picked Vieth as president and CEO, replacing Paul Hodge, who previously announced his desire to step down from the post. While its products are decidedly on trend, it remains unprofitable and its desire to grow could be stymied by an unpredictable supply chain and inflation that is eating into shoppers’ buying power.