Clif throws hat into the ring with new smoothie bar

Organic food and drink maker unveils energy bar flavour at Toronto boxing event.

For an instant energy boost, many turn to coffee. But when it comes to working out, energy bars do the trick, those cereal-derived supplements that contain protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and…ingredients from a smoothie?

“Some folks actually think there’s liquid inside,” says Veronica Navarrette, Clif experience marketing manager, Canada & International, who said the brand’s new Fruit Smoothie Filled Energy bars are geared to people who enjoy smoothies – and the fruit nutrition they pack inside – and want the same flavours, but inside a more portable energy bar.

Clif debuted its Strawberry Banana, Wild Blueberry Acai, and Tart Cherry Berry flavours in Canada at a boxing workout in Toronto at Bolo’s gym, as part of an event produced by Mosaic. Clif is sponsoring four free workouts in April and gifting participants with Bolo hand wraps as well as Clif-insipred smoothies and samples of the new bar.

According to Aniefre Essien, Clif Brand Manager, the brand was looking to engage urban millennials with the product, and since bars are positioned as a quick mid-workout energy surge when biking, bouldering, and boxing, Bolo was a good venue choice.

Navarrette adds that PR agency Golin (who executed the event), identified Bolo founder, fitness influencer, personal trainer and ex-CTV producer Caleigh Rykiss as a strategic partner who shares the company’s values about community building.

Essien says the launch was an opportunity to engage media and influencers and address lifestyle and nutrition questions via Clif brand ambassador, Abby Langer, registered dietitian and “Canada’s Food and Nutrition Expert” according to her site.

Clif approached Mosaic as its experiential partner to concept out the space and offer sampling and to encourage the wellness community to “associate the Clif bar with an active city life.”

Clif is touting its organic and non-GMO formula.

“What makes us different is that our bars contain fully organic oats”, according to Navarrette, who adds that the company emphasizes that it sources its oats from Canadian farmers.

To reach winter-sport enthusiasts Clif also did sampling with the bars heated up straight out of the oven at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, held April 10-14.

The new smoothie product innovation builds on the 2017 release of Clif nut-butter filled bars, whose packaging highlighted endurance cycling with a Tour de France design aesthetic (Clif is also a sponsor of the BC Bike Race, a 7-day mountain bike race).

The new Clif fruit smoothie filled energy bars retail for $1.99 and are sold at major drug, grocery and natural retailers across the country. Clif’s competition includes Lärabar, which brands itself as a “mind body spirit” product rather than one that’s tailored for athletics and Taste of Nature, which highlights its sustainability, and emphasizes enjoying the outdoors with its tagline, “find your taste of nature.”

According to a February 2019, “Dietary Supplements in Canada” report from Euromonitor, the sector, which includes energy bars, is a mature one, so brand owners are aiming to gain value share by offering a higher number of product innovations and new product developments. Mordor Intelligence data shows that energy bar penetration is higher between the age group of 18-44 years rather than those aged 45 or older in major markets. Data also shows that health and wellness is the key factor driving the energy and snack bar sector.