Among these brands is Freida’s Pantry, which is launching in the US following success in its home market in the UK.
The Freida’s Pantry range is designed to give moms the nutrients they require following childbirth, and is inspired by traditional Eastern food eaten by moms to replenish nutrients, increase energy levels and support breastfeeding.
“Freida’s Pantry was born from necessity after the difficult birth of my third son,” said founder Sharon Kaur, who adds that many moms need a nutrient-rich, quick and easy option after giving birth.
Single bars retail for $2.60 and boxes of 12 for $31.20 from the brand's website and Amazon Prime. The range, which contains no GMOs, preservatives or additives, comprises:
- Feeding Food: Designed for breastfeeding moms, this bar contains fennel to naturally increase a mom’s milk supply
- Supercharged Food with Maca and Chia: This snack contains maca to provide a natural boost of energy and chia seeds
- Supercharged Food with Goji and Fennel: The antioxidant-rich goji berries and fennel nourish and revitalize on-the-go, said the manufacturer.
Also targeting a specific need is California-based business Amsety, which says the Amsety Bar it launched this year is the first nutrition bar designed to support liver health.
Sold exclusively online by Amsety, it is available in two flavors - Peanut Butter Superstar and Dark Chocolate Bliss - and is free from sodium, gluten, added sugars and is non-GMO. The bars are sold at $33.99 for a box of 12, with a 10% discount for consumers who take out a subscription.
The bars contain a propriety blend of 16 vitamins and minerals that has been shown by research to support liver health, said Amsety.
"For more than 20 years, I've been treating liver patients who have had no access to convenient food options specifically formulated for their health conditions,” said Dr Tarek Hassanein, medical advisor to Amsety.
"There are hundreds of products available for diabetes patients, for example, yet no options for the 30 million people suffering from liver disease.”
"Ready-to-eat solutions can help patients regain control of good dietary habits and these solutions serve as an excellent complement to a meal plan rich in grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables."
Research by analysts Canadean has shown cereal bar consumers are open to new ideas. Cereals and cereal bars (grouped together by the analysts) ranked seventh out of 30 food categories based on the percentage of consumers that said they ‘often’ try new and different varieties.
Potential market niches
Both Amsety and Freida’s Pantry deserved credit for pinpointing potential market niches yet to really be addressed by existing products, said Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Canadean.
He added that consumers might not actively look in the snack bar aisle for products that solve either of the health conditions these bars address.
“Liver health is something beverages are more likely to address – especially functional teas – but food products that address liver health are few and far between,” he said.
“The same could be said about a bar for postpartum relief. By its very nature, a bar that addresses postpartum issues is aiming at a very narrow slice of the market.”
However, Canadean research suggested women in the prime childbearing years of - 25 to 34 years old – are more likely than other consumer groups to believe foods and drinks can provide the same health benefits as non-prescription drugs can.
“This leaves the door open to snack bars with pharmaceutical benefits,” said Vierhile.
Sales of nutritional/health bars have risen 5.3% year on year in the first half of 2016, according to IRI, in a total snack bar market up 1.2%.