Liz Watson, brand manager, CLIF, Emeryville, CA, says that due to the pandemic, outdoor activities have been popular, which bodes well for bars. “Outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and biking have been a welcome and safe escape for many these past couple years. Products such as our classic CLIF BARs and more protein-dense CLIF Builders have continued to be popular with consumers who have been keeping active while social distancing,” she says.
“In terms of lighter snacking options, we recently launched CLIF Thins in retailers nationwide,” continues Watson. “New research conducted by CLIF shows that 72% of Americans increased their snacking since the start of the pandemic. The past several months has also been a period of ever-evolving lifestyle changes, whether it be transitioning to a hybrid-remote work model, or finally returning to travel after years of staying put. Consumers are hungry for an on-the-go snack that won’t weigh them down, as two in three Americans report they have returned to their pre-pandemic routines.”
Top trends and new products
Zink says that consumers continue to look for products that aren’t packed with net carbs and sugar while providing significant amounts of protein—without compromising on taste. “Quest has delicious, indulgent options to support [consumers’] nutritional goals, offering both the macros and taste consumers want. In particular, texture continues to be important to consumers. We see strong sales trends on our crispy textured Quest Hero Protein Bars,” she says.
The brand is launching new Quest Protein Bar Minis to capture more snack occasions for protein bars. “These 80-calorie bars offer 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of net carbs, and less than 1 gram of sugar per mini bar—and are perfect as an anytime snack,” says Zink. “The Quest Protein Bar Minis are great to enjoy at home, on the go, between meals, or whenever you need a protein pick-me-up, and will be available in two fan favorite and best-selling Quest flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookies & Cream.”
Bar consumers often seek to fulfill multiple needs through the products. Watson says CLIF’s research shows that when choosing a snack, consumer decisions are most influenced by flavor, nutrition, and sugar content. “At CLIF, we are always working to meet the needs of consumers. That is why we work to create products available in a wide variety of flavors, containing real plant-based ingredients and offer products, like CLIF Thins, that are perfect for everyday snacking.”