In the world of protein bars, flow wrap is the name of the game. Consumers know and understand this very customary packaging. Wilde Snacks of Boulder, CO wanted to capitalize on this consumer standard, yet give them something they had never tasted before or seen in a typical flow wrap package. When a shopper picks up a Wilde Bar they are picking up a meat-based, whole-food savory bar that delivers 10-11 grams of protein, but with very low sugar and sodium, all beautifully wrapped in a standard flow wrap package.
The idea for Wilde Snacks was born roughly two and a half years ago in Boulder. The concept was seemingly simple, combine premium pasture-raised or grass-fed lean meats from animals raised without growth hormones or antibiotics with fruits, vegetables, ancient grains and spices into a bar.
“At the time, almost all bars were packed with sugar and nuts and there was a lack of anything savory that would deliver high amounts of protein but without all the sugar. The key at Wilde Snacks is that each bar is slow-baked to perfection, allowing the consumer to experience something truly unique,” says Wilde Snack Co-founder/CEO Jason Wright.
The Wilde package
Wright wanted to create a whole-food, savory protein bar using GAP (Global Animal Partnership) certified lean meats, ancient grains, super fruits and veggies, but do it as a bar and not be labeled as “jerky”. The importance of being in the bar set instead of the jerky set was a must when Wright set out to create Wilde.
“We wanted to do it in the bar category because we were tired of the sugary, low protein snack bar options currently on the shelf. We wanted to give the customer a new savory option but with a familiar feel so we chose to flow wrap the packaging to give them a familiar bar package,” explains Wright.
Consumers are used to eating the traditional protein bar or granola bar in a flow wrapped bar package style. Since the consumer is trying something new when choosing Wilde, Wright and his team wanted to make sure they offered it up in a familiar package, on shelves next to the bars they were familiar with.
“Idea is one part, the execution and developing the innovation is the real work, and the real story,” says Wright.
So who is behind the colorful and eclectic package designs? Wright says one of his biggest accomplishments was convincing JR Crosby to partner with him and Derek Spors to launch Wilde Snacks.
Jason Wright had the vision to create a new snack bar category but JR Crosby, who owns Ptarmak, an Austin, TX- based design firm, had the vision for Wilde’s design and branding. Derek Spors, who owns Spork & Ladle, in Boulder, CO, is the genius behind Wilde’s innovative formulas and flavors. Brendan Synnott is a co-founder and the head coach to the CEO. Wright said that the most important thing he learned from his first company was to get the right people on the bus from day one.
Each package design has its own unique story and uses bright colors and artistic elements to convey the brands’ innovation. Maple Bacon Blueberry is designed to look like a pancake with maple syrup, bacon and blueberries on top. Strawberry Black Pepper uses both red and black to display a grilled strawberry topped with black pepper. Chili Lime is meant to have the appearance of an authentic Spanish design one would find on a knitted blanket. Peach BBQ should remind consumers of cooking over an open flame (or a wood fire) and what the wood looks like sliced open, exposing the ridges and the grain.
Wilde Snacks uses the word wild as its base but added the “e” to make it unique to the brand. It is a nod to both the bar’s protein source, and the bar’s innovative concept as a whole.
Wright knew that Bosch (boschpackaging.com) was known as the leader in flow wrapping so it was an easy choice when deciding on a machine supplier. In addition to the machine, he had to find a film that was strong enough to contain the bar with a seal strong enough to ensure that absolutely no air could get inside. Meat packaging can have no leaks or holes, otherwise the product can mold. Wright went with Maxim Flex Pac (maximflexpac.com) out of Irvine, CA for the film and Bosch for the flow wrapper to package the whole-food, savory protein bars.
The machine chosen was the Pack 101 horizontal flow wrapper, which is an entry-level solution that offers a wide size range. The machine is capable of packaging 150 bars per minute. Wilde Snacks is currently using this entry-level machine but has plans to move up as sales increase.
The Pack 101 comes with an all-servo motor design that enables quick and easy setup and changeovers. It also maximizes product and film usage during production, while offering low maintenance costs. The Pack 101’s fully adjustable former and multiple cutting head sizes permit a wide range of products to be packaged on a single machine, reducing the need for future investment and giving manufacturers the agility to quickly adapt to changing market demands.
Its small footprint and left or right hand execution fits most production environments and can easily integrate with Bosch feeding technology for light automation.
“We love the consistency of the machine. It produces the perfect seal every time,” says Wright.
Wilde is currently sold at Whole Foods Market locations in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Wright says the plan is to expand nationally throughout the natural channel in 2016.