NuttZo Bold BiteZ contains 10 g protein, 5 g sugar and 1,600 mg of collagen.

SAN DIEGO — Changing perceptions of processed products and the rise of grocery stores’ fresh perimeter have snack manufacturers fighting to keep center-store items relevant and profitable. And while many are scrambling to reformulate with clean label ingredients, others such as San Diego-based NuttZo are breaking away and moving to the perimeter by offering refrigerated bars.

Developed as a way for consumers to enjoy the brand’s 7 Nut & Seed Butters in a grab-and-go format, NuttZo Bold Bitez were first created in founder and chief executive officer Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi’s kitchen for family, friends and local events.

“NuttZo has always been high-energy and low-sugar, but fans wanted something that was more portable than a spread to put on crackers or a banana,” Ms. Dietz-LiVolsi said. 

Hoping to stand apart from traditional bars and snacks and appeal to consumers’ proclivity for fresh products, Ms. Dietz-LiVolsi worked with suppliers to create a bar that can be chilled but also stay shelf-stable for up to two weeks.

NuttZo’s nut and seed butter accounts for 60% of the bar’s ingredients. The butter’s blend of cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, flax, chia and pumpkin seeds creates a palate-pleasing base. Cacao nibs and rice crisps are added to contribute texture and added health benefits while 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of sugar and 1,600 mg of collagen provide a marketable and nutritious kick. It is one of the first bars to include collagen as an ingredient, which is believed to improve the health of skin, teeth and hair.

Although many co-packers pushed the company to use other ingredients, Ms. Dietz-LiVolsi resisted straying from the brand’s original formula. 

“Scaling the recipe to run on manufacturing equipment without adding unwanted ingredients was challenging,” Ms. Dietz-LiVolsi said. “The recipe is only half the battle. When it came to partner with a co-packer, some wanted us to use additional ingredients that help the bars run easier on their machinery, but the ingredients tasted horrible.”

The company originally thought it would also have challenges setting up a distribution network for a refrigerated product. However, because the ingredients are shelf-stable, the company was able to keep the same operational procedures and get them into stores quicker.

Retailing for $2.59 to $2.99, the 1.41-oz bars are available in two flavors — Power Fuel + Collagen and Peanut Pro + Collagen — with two vegan flavors expected to launch in March. 

“It’s been a wonderful challenge to come up with a completely new way to enjoy our nut and seed butter — no spoon required,” Dietz-LiVolsi said.