Today I’m chatting with Freddie Gore Browne who along with Luke Canvin co-founded the hot new brand, Prime Bar.
Prime Bar is a selection of unique savoury, low sugar bars made with whole food ingredients. They come in 3 flavours; Sweet & Spicy, Smoky BBQ and Fruity & Flavoursome.
December is a huge month for Prime Bar. They will be exploding onto the scene in Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and Ocado.
How Did You Get To Where You Are Now?
Prime Bar came about due to personal need and a spiralling frustration with the incumbent, sickly sweet protein bar fixture. Luke & I have been best friends since university and for a long while now we’ve shared a curious appreciation for the great outdoors and endurance sports.
Whether we’re competing or training, we’ve always been very finicky with regards to what we put in our bodies, scrutinizing the ingredient decks and nutritionals of all the supposedly ‘healthful’ protein bars that fill the ‘protein snack’ space. As such, we’d known for some while that the current crop of attention-seeking offerings were both hideously over-processed and overflowing with sugar, oats or dates which means that so-called ‘healthy’ bars are brimming with 15-20g of sugar, which is hardly a sensible ‘refuelling’ option.
We’d always hoped that during our travels we’d track down something savoury, dare we say meaty, something made with real protein and yet everywhere we went was flogging the same unappetizing assortment of gloopy sachets (with the appetite appeal of shower gel) and supposedly back-to-basics sweet-themed protein bars that had more in keeping with a chemistry lab than any Neolithic teachings.
Our plan was to create a snack bar out of top drawer grass-fed British beef, fruit and veg and yet the technology didn’t exist. Fortunately Luke’s career background was in food production so we embarked upon an incredibly frustrating yet intriguing period of product development working with a variety of meat experts. The journey was exasperating however we’ve ended up with a unique process that cannot be easily replicated giving us a helpful head start over any potential copycats and imitators.
Any Brand Heroes?
There’s no-one contesting our healthful meat snack space however we have nothing but admiration for meat snack pioneers like Made for Drink (check out their Behind the Biz interview) and Ember. Dan and his Maidenhead gang have taken chorizo, salami and duck crackling into the gastronomic/pairing with your favourite Friday night tipples whilst Ember have created proper biltong that doesn’t taste like your pencil case eraser.
How Did You Decide Upon Your Name?
Probably the easiest decision we had to make because we are cutting through all the flouncy ‘stardust & sequins’ marketing guff that surrounds so many brands within the protein bar space and reminded people that meat is the original protein.
We are believers of the ‘stripped back to basics’ eating space – big admirers of sincere paleo pioneers like Hunter & Gather and Puriton who champion real yet uncompromising tasty food.
What Did You Do Pre Prime Bar?
Both of us were in fulfilling careers that we loved and yet both of us couldn’t shake a nagging suspicion that our passions could be more tightly entwined with how we spent our days. Together we had a fixation with good nutrition and healthy (not faddy) diets and we loved running in ‘ultra’ marathons together. Upon identifying the big problem with the current nutrition options and not seeing any solutions coming from the big players, we decided we had a duty to bring real food solutions to the endurance sports arena!
Please Share A Real Business High & Low
Our high might on 1st inspection seem like a low but it really wasn’t. The high in question was being picked by Sainsbury’s Future Brands team to be one of the first 12 brands to be put on a 60 store trial as part of their bold plan to discover and back new, inspirational brands of tomorrow.
Now on one level you could argue that because we weren’t picked for a subsequent full rollout that this was a real low and perhaps momentarily it was because we discovered there were a few holes in our messaging, packaging and recipes. HOWEVER in truth we saw this trial as the ‘ultimate’ money can’t buy research group. Thanks to Sainsbury’s we made a few small yet meaningful tweaks to all of the aforementioned areas and almost immediately secured listings with Ocado, Selfridges and perhaps most jaw-dropping of all Marks & Spencer. Better than that we remain on positive terms with Sainsbury’s and hope that down the line our revamped recipes will secure a second trial.
In summary the real high is learning that a snacking concept that has a strong loyalist following within specialist outdoors/sports arenas like Wiggle, Sigma & Chain Reaction Cycles has the depth of appeal to succeed within the mainstream food retail arena.
In America meat snacks will be a $600m sector by 2021 and here in UK we have the opportunity to create a tasty and sustainable, nutrient-dense snacking brand that uses our nation’s famed, grass-fed beef.
In recent years plant-based has snatched a lot of headlines as it cleverly repositions itself as a health conscious eating regime. Paleo isn’t the next ‘big’ food trend, it’s the original food trend when our ancient ancestors had no exposure to soulless marketing soundbites so were able to focus solely on the right balance of prime quality meat, veg & fruit.
Advice You’d Pass On?
I think this quote is a good one to consider in challenging times when running a business.
“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” Confucius
It motivates me to keep spending my time doing interesting things rather than rushing back to security, but at the same time not take life too seriously, seeing perspective when you get too tied up by some problem or overly angered by some issue with your business!
Thank you to Freddie for taking the time to answer our Behind the Biz questions. The interview is a truly inspiring read and I hope you all enjoyed discovering the story behind Prime Bar.
I can’t wait to spot Prime Bar on Ocado and look forward to watching the brand grow in the year ahead.