General Mills launches vegan snack brand, LÄRABAR, in UK

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LÄRABAR (www.larabar.com), the cult US vegan snack brand and creator of the original fruit and nut bar, will finally hit UK shores this month with listings in Sainsbury’s and Amazon (Prime Now, Pantry and Fresh).

The brand will debut with three multipack SKUs: Apple Cinnamon, Banana Choc Chip and Peanut Butter Choc Chip, RRP £2.90 for a pack of three.

Founded by female entrepreneur Lara Merriken in 2000, LÄRABAR has taken the Northern American market by storm with sales hitting $200m in 2018. Larabar is the fastest growing Wellness snack brand in the Nutrition category, having achieved 25% growth in the last year and nearly tripling market penetration over the past three years[.  The brand is now a household name in the US, with a huge celebrity fan base.

LÄRABAR’s  launch ambition is to be the leading bar in the ‘real food’ segment and plays a central role in General Mills’ vision to become UK’s number one snack bar manufacturer. It is the business’ first 100 per cent vegan and ‘real food’ brand launch this side of the pond and will allow the company to secure greater penetration of the UK’s health and wellbeing market, meeting demand from consumers wanting to enjoy delicious tasting ‘food made from food’ on the go.

A £700K marketing campaign will support the launch with activation focus on experiential and in-store sampling, shopper marketing, PR, social media activations including an influencer-led strategy plus a range of like-minded partnerships and collaborations to come throughout the year.

The three varieties launching in the UK have been deliberately handpicked from a mix of top sellers in the US and on-trend flavours that resonate with British consumers.

The LÄRABAR launch range will offer snack bars with no more than six ingredients for consumers demanding vegan and free-from snacking options that are minimally processed with no added flavours or sugar (45g bars, RRP £2.90 Multipack of three):

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Inspired by that traditional transatlantic favourite, apple pie. It is made with just five real ingredients: two dates, nine almonds, half an apple, raisins and cinnamon
  • Banana Choc Chip
    • A delicious pairing of bananas and choc chips, and made from five ingredients: one and a half dates, one third banana, six almonds, choc chips and apple
  • Peanut Butter Choc Chip
  • A classic combination of peanut butter, peanuts and choc chips made from six ingredients: two dates, ten peanuts, peanut butter, choc chips, apple and peanut oil

The LÄRABAR brand started back in 2000 after founder Lara Merriken was on a hike in the Rocky Mountains in her home state of Colorado. Her mission was to combine real ingredients such as fruits and nuts to create a simple, real food bar that was a joy to eat: the first of its kind. The first batch was made in Lara’s kitchen and LÄRABAR was acquired by General Mills in 2008. The brand now distributes millions every year in North America.

Richard Williams, business director of new ventures, General Mills Europe says: “The launch of LÄRABAR is a key part of General Mills’ strategy to become the number one snack bar manufacturer. As our first 100 per cent vegan and ‘real food’ snack bar launch in the UK, this launch will allow us to address increasing consumer demand for simple, minimally processed snacks.

“Having launched in 2000 in the US with great success, LÄRABAR is the trailblazing and original fruit and nut bar in the snacking category and we’ve picked a range of flavours to appeal to the UK market.

“This is our most ambitious launch ever in the real food space with deliberate investment on touchpoints that drive brand awareness and engagement such as social, targeted experiential sampling and partnerships with key influencers in the nutrition/wellness space. E-commerce will also be a key focus for UK growth in order to attract shoppers that seek minimally processed real food who predominantly shop online.”

LÄRABAR joins Fibre One and Nature Valley in General Mills’ fast-growing portfolio and represents a significant opportunity for General Mills into the UK vegan/free-from market and further category-driving growth of its snacking portfolio.