Sunbelt Bakery's Protein Delights to compete with Kellogg and General Mills protein bars, says brand director

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

A new offering from Sunbelt Bakery offers a unique twist on the protein bar.
A new offering from Sunbelt Bakery offers a unique twist on the protein bar.

Related tags High fructose corn High-fructose corn syrup

Sunbelt Bakery has launched a protein-based bar without preservatives and containing 6 g of protein that it hopes will compete with the likes of General Mills' Nature Valley protein bar offering and Kellogg's Special K bars.

The company’s new Protein Delights are in two flavors, Peanut Butter Crisps and Fudge Dipped Peanut Butter Crisps. These bars also tout no high fructose corn syrup and 9 g of sugar per bar, lower than what else is on the market in similar brands, according to what Jeff Badger, brand director for Sunbelt Bakery, told BakeryandSnacks.

“I really think the key is to get it in someone’s mouth, cause once they try it, they love it,”​ he said. “It’s different. I think getting someone to see something that looks more like a cookie but they can feel good, it’s going to be more about getting past that initial hurdle.”

Getting cleaner

Sunbelt had a similar crisp product to this nearly 30 years ago, Badger said, but it was likely far ahead of its time. One component that product didn’t have that will likely set this bar apart is the 6 g of protein, something that is seeing huge popularity on the market.

“We saw the protein craze hitting,”​ Badger said of launching Protein Delights. “People got more and more interested in protein. For us, having peanut butter gives a leg up … This format was very attractive to us. It’s something we could deliver an incredible taste and texture in the protein bar category with the equipment we had.”

In addition, the product has no high fructose corn or preservatives added. While losing high fructose corn syrup is becoming the norm, Badger said losing preservatives is something unique for the brand and something they are “very proud of”.

“Our products have really short shelf life relative to competition,”​ he said. “We get to market fast. That is kind of special to us. It’s fairly unique … I think consumers are looking for snacks they can really feel good about.”

He noted the competition is likely bars such as Nature Valley, Kellogg and Special K bars and other similar cereal or snack bars with protein.

Less for bodybuilders, more for everyday people

Although Badger and company taut the protein content of the bar, he said this product is more for average everyday Americans rather than people looking for a way to make huge muscle gains.

 “We’re not trying to sell to someone trying to put on 20 lbs of muscle mass,”​ he said. “This is for the average American looking to be fit, who wants to be fit and make good food choices.

“That’s kind of a nice niche that we’ve found … we’re really more of a mainstream protein bar for a family, for a person who likes to jog, ride a bike or does yoga. Children in school sports looking for fuel, but it’s not a body builder.”

With the crisp format, Badger said they have a different texture than anyone else on the protein bar market right now. If the first two flavors are successful, he believes they can roll the format out to other flavors and grow the brand further.

Currently, Protein Delights are available in 48 states in the mainland US at retailers such as Walmart, Woodman’s and Hy-Vee.

“It’s early in the launch and hope they take off for us,”​ Badger said. “We’re really expecting that now, with school getting back into session, interest will start to pick up in these snacks.”

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