The Salad Bar, a new, veggie-based nutrition bar to help you eat better while on-the-go. Team members: Eleanor Foote (MBA 2016), Kevin Fitzgerald (MBA 2016), Emily Schofield (MBA 2016)
How did the idea for your company come about?
I was personally frustrated by how hard it is to eat well on-the-go. Most leading ‘nutrition’ bars contain just as much sugar as candy bars (often over 4 teaspoons in one bar)! I know how much better I feel when I eat well and felt like it shouldn’t be so hard to find a good option while on the go. A few months after finding other classmates who shared this vision of making healthy, tasty products more accessible we launched the Salad Bar.
What does your company do? How is it distinct in its product/service category?
The Salad bar is a low-sugar, high-fiber, veggie-filled nutrition bar made with organic and natural ingredients for healthy snacking. We worked with a food scientist to design a strong nutritional profile and now have two flavors, Carrot Spice & Kale Quinoa. While there are a number of other bars on the market, we have now sold thousands of bars and continue to hear from customers that the Salad Bar is unlike any other snack product on the market. We are currently selling online and in targeted retail outlets (e.g. premium juice shops, gyms, natural food stores).
Where do you hope to take it in the future?
Given the state of the current snacking landscape, we see a lot of opportunity! There is growing frustration about the amount of sugar in most snack products and people are becoming increasingly health conscious. We are planning to continuing scaling our existing bars (and hopefully adding other vegetables flavors) and then expand into other vegetable-based, nutrient dense snack products. We want to be brand that consumers can trust and create products that help people eat well on-the-go.
How has your time at HBS influenced your efforts on your company?
We have felt extremely supported by the iLab & Rock center community (mentors, faculty, programming) and have enjoyed getting to know other students also working on startups while in school. In many ways I think working on a startup has helped me to be more engaged in some classes because it makes some of the material a lot more relevant. For example, decisions around whether to incorporate as an LLC vs. a C-corp or how much funding to allocate to working capital are not just hypothetical case questions.
Any advice you’d offer to other young entrepreneurs?
Know who your target market or customer is and don’t be deterred if your product or service doesn’t appeal to everyone. If we had listened to the broad feedback, we likely would have gone nowhere; we have had to decide which customer voices and opinions to listen to. We continue to have people skeptical of the idea who tell us they don’t think people want vegetables in a bar or that we won’t be able to sell a product with such low sugar, and that’s okay because those aren’t the consumers we are focused on right now. We are looking for the customers who ARE really frustrated by the current options and are looking for a products that are actually healthy! The best part has definitely been getting to see a product go from an idea on a white board to something on retail shelves that people (who we don’t know!) are enjoying (and paying for)!