Available exclusively at 2,000 Walmart stores across the US from this month, the new bars were developed after the retailer approached Awake about bringing innovation to its portable snacks category.
The launch comes three-and-a-half years after brand founders Matt Schnarr, Dan Tzotzis and Adam Deremo - former PepsiCo and Kraft Foods employees - launched Awake caffeinated chocolate bars in Canada.
Awake granola ingredients
The Dark Chocolate Caramel Awake Energy Granola bar contains: rolled oats, semi-sweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla extract), invert sugar, diced dates (dates, rice flour), brown rice syrup, soy crisp (isolated soy protein, tapioca starch, salt), roasted peanuts, fancy molasses, caramel flavor, sunflower oil blend [sunflower oil, antioxidants (mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract)], sea salt, caffeine, soybean oil, cobalamin, agar
Stating that response to the chocolate bars had been “overwhelming”, the company said it believed “consumers shouldn’t have to settle for a bitter cup of coffee, or funky tasting energy drink to get that pick-me-up”.
Awake Energy Granola is available in four flavors: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Caramel, Cinnamon Bun, Coconut Apricot. The bars - with a recommended price of $3.99 for a box of five - contain no artificial colors or flavors, have 5 g of protein and are 150 calories or less.
Not recommended for children
Each 1.2 oz bar contains 50 mg of caffeine and carries the warning that they are not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, or people sensitive to caffeine. Consumers are advised not to eat more than four bars in a single day.
The granola bars will be exclusive to Walmart until June, and Awake will then look to sell them more widely in the US.
The strongest retail channel for the Awake brand "by far" was colleges and universities, Schnarr told BakeryandSnacks. "We are a top seller in nearly 5,000 campus stores, and we are also listed with many major accounts across US and Canada such as Walmart, Walgreens, SuperValu, Meijer, HEB and Shoppers Drug Mart."
Schnarr added that the business was currently focused on growing distribution of its chocolate and granola bars in Canada and the US but said that "if the right opportunity came along in other parts of the world, we would certainly consider it".
The granola bar launch is being supported with activity including social media advertising, PR, digital coupons, sampling, and in-store feature and display.