EMERYVILLE, CALIF. — PowerBar is in the midst of “a massive relaunch,” with new products, updated packaging and a redesigned web site debuting this year. The energy bar brand, which St. Louis-based Post Holdings, Inc. acquired from Nestle S.A. in 2014, is set to launch its first advertising campaign in recent years, which will reposition the brand as no longer exclusively for marathoners and triathletes but suitable for all active lifestyles.
Having relocated to its roots in the Bay Area, PowerBar is now managed by a team of athletes, foodies and trend experts.
“Sports have evolved, athletes have evolved, and now, after a long slumber, PowerBar has evolved,” said Doug Cornille, vice-president of marketing for PowerBar. “For a long time, our products did not meet what athletes wanted. We’re changing that, and are improving all of our products to meet consumer demands for the right macronutrients, lower sugar, whole food ingredients, easy-to-understand labels, and superior taste. As you’ll soon hear, ‘Welcome to the new us.’”
New PowerBar products launching this year include PowerBar Protein Shakes, featuring 30 grams of protein, 2 grams of sugar and 160 calories in chocolate and vanilla flavors; Reduced Sugar PowerBar ProteinPlus 20-gram bars, with 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar and 200 calories in lemon poppy seed and chocolate peanut butter flavor; and PowerBar Simple Fruit Energy Food, a line of gel purees containing fruit and a blend of glucose and fructose in apple mixed berry, apple pear raspberry, and apple orange lemon flavors.
Post has been working to pivot the PowerBar brand over the past year. Following the acquisition, Rob Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Post, said the brand had been “neglected” and required investment and a “restart of its overall marketing strategies.” Last June, Post closed the brand’s manufacturing facility in Boise, Idaho, and transferred production to third-party facilities under co-manufacturing agreements. In addition to cost savings, the move was expected to enable more flexibility in product development to adapt to consumers’ evolving tastes.
“The brand hasn’t had much attention to the actual product form in recent years, as the whole category has changed,” Mr. Vitale said during an earnings call with analysts last February. “It has stayed mostly a slab product with limited innovation. We need to innovate around the brand. The brand has terrific equities, and we think can be extended beyond the bar into different forms like powders and shakes.“So we think it needs to be proliferated. We think the marketing message needs to be refreshed. Obviously, it was a very small brand within the Nestle ownership, the Nestle portfolio. And we think it simply needs more attention and more focus.”