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Exclusive interview

barkTHINS builds 'chocolate snacking' category with peanut & sea salt addition

Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

30-Mar-2016
Last updated on 31-Mar-2016 at 02:10 GMT2016-03-31T02:10:41Z

barkTHINS prefers to be its own category: Snacking chocolate  Source: barkTHINS
barkTHINS prefers to be its own category: Snacking chocolate Source: barkTHINS

barkTHINS plans to continue pioneering the snacking chocolate category by launching its latest variant: dark chocolate peanut with sea salt.

“Flavor has always been at the forefront of our innovation and as we looked at our current line-up, we realized that the classic combination of peanut and dark chocolate was something that we could do well,” barkTHINS’ CEO and founder, Scott Semel, told ConfectioneryNews.

The new chocolate peanut with sea salt, which is Fair Trade and non-GMO certified, will be available at key gourmet, conventional, natural and specialty retailers by mid-summer this year, Semel said. It will be priced in line with barkTHINS’ other 4.7 oz varieties at a suggested retail price of $4.99. 

Blurring the line between snack and confectionery

barkTHINS prefers to be described as its own category – snacking chocolate, barkTHINS’ EVP of sales and marketing, Tom Riggio said.

“Although our market share is low due to the infancy of the brand, we have seen rapid, incremental growth in all focused channels of business.”

Semel said snacks and confectionery are two of America’s biggest consumption categories, and the invention of barkTHINS blurs the line between the two categories.

“We try to differentiate ourselves from the competition by bridging the gap for consumers. They no longer have to choose between a snack or an indulgence, there is no compromise.”

As the snacking industry grows, it naturally creates more demand for snacks that are confectionery since both are growing overall, Semel added.

“We truly believe the wave of the future is in snacking chocolate,” he said. “Much like the energy drink category was created to deliver on consumer demands for alternatives to coffee and to capitalize on an emerging consumer needs.”

Fuel the rapid expansion

A couple of years ago, there was a lot of education among consumers regarding what snacking chocolate was, since the category was still relatively new, Semel said.

barkTHINS has since expanded distribution to over 20,000 doors across the country.

“With the addition of our field sales and marketing teams, we’ve been able to keep pace with the demand and grow our presence in not only our natural account partners, but into more conventional grocers and geographies as of late.”

This year, barkTHINS will look to expand into the drug and convenience space with its 4.7-ounce pack, while the 2-ounce will primarily be in travel retail, Riggio said. 

Semel added barkTHINS is also looking to social and digital as ways to connect with consumers in markets where it doesn’t have a large local presence. 

“Our biggest priority this year is to get product into the hands of consumers,” he said. “As with any fast growing venture, we want to make sure there is a solid foundation that will stabilize and continue to fuel our rapid expansion.”

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