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EPIC Bars: Redefining a staid category with flavor, form, and narrative innovation

EPIC Bars: Redefining a staid category with flavor, form, and narrative innovation

Summary

This case study looks at the rise of EPIC bars and the reasons behind its rapid success in a category that has suffered a poor, low-value image for many years.

Key Findings

Reduce the risk of failure by learning from brands/products that have under-performed: failed innovation can severely impact profit and reputation.
Understand the relevant consumer trends and attitudes that drive and support innovation success.
Gain a broader appreciation of the fast-moving consumer goods industry.
Access valuable strategic take-outs to help direct future decision-making and inform new product development.

Reasons To Buy

What is EPIC bar?
How did EPIC bar come about?

Who are EPIC bar's targeted audience?
Why was EPIC bar successful?

Key Highlights

EPIC bars are meat snacks based on the ancient concept of dried meat (most commonly seen in the form of jerky), innovatively delivered in a premium energy bar format. It was established in 2013 and was the first of their kind, they grew sales from zero to around $20m in two years; the artisanal startup business has been acquired by General Mills in 2016, benefiting both brands.
EPIC's bars and other products have tapped into consumers' need for convenient, healthy snacking options. They are also aligned with rising interest in protein as a healthy diet component. The product's flavor choices, the packaging design, and natural and ethical attributes provide a solid basis for a premium positioning.
Meat snacks have suffered a poor, low-value image for many years. However, stories like EPIC's highlight the opportunity to break with such associations and develop premium products with historical (ancient production methods) and current (health, protein/paleo diets, on-the-go consumption) resonance.


>Overview
Catalyst
Summary
EPIC’s pioneering meat snack bars have been hugely successful
Initial success has driven further meat-based innovation
The natural, active/energy positioning is reflected in the brand's distribution arrangements
Jerky aligns with the explosion in interest in protein within diets has fulled the success of epic bars
EPIC bars tap into the emergent paleo diet trend
EPIC has built its name on retaining brand integrity and independence
Clean labels and transparent sourcing help EPIC to validate its natural credentials
EPIC has played a role in repositioning meat snacks as healthy alternatives
The meat snacks space offers extensive opportunity for innovation and creativity
Protein-based diets are not going away, fuelling opportunities for meat snacking
Meat snacks are emerging as premium quality products
Gender and other demographic barriers can be broken by innovation
Conclusion
Modern twist of ancient ideas coupled with strong business principles and ethos bring success
Appendix
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List of Figures
Figure 1: EPIC Bars products
Figure 2: Consumer protein consumption figure for US and UK

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