As far as ingredients go, the distance between a candy bar and a protein bar isn't that wide a leap. Chocolate, peanut butter, almonds, shaved coconut, or crispy puffed rice--varied combinations of these and other beloved candy bar ingredients can also be found in your favorite protein bar.
Naturally, these similarities haven't escaped the notice of major candy companies. Famous chocolate company Hershey Co. (HSY) - Get Free Report bought the snack bar company One Brands. Hershey, which owns its namesake famous chocolate bar, is also well known for products like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties, Kit-Kat, and its bite-sized hit chocolate candy Hershey's Kisses.
Similarly, the famous chocolate maker Nestlé (NSRGY) - Get Free Report debuted its own snack bar in 2018, a product simply called "YES!" The YES! bar is less candy and more cookie, and it's made to be a delicious treat for people with multiple food sensitivities. And as recently as this summer, the owner of candy brands Cadbury, Toblerone, and Sour Patch Kids Mondelez International (MDLZ) - Get Free Report purchased the incredibly popular nutritional company Clif Bar.
Not to be left behind, family-owned Mars Incorporated brand Mars Wrigley is getting into the nutrition game--and it's using one of its most well-known brands to do it.
Mars Wrigley Introduces Snickers Hi Protein
This popular candy company owns some of the biggest recognizable names in sugary goodness, from M&Ms and Twix to Lifesavers and Skittles. Now, the company is leveling up one of its most famous chocolate bars with Snickers Hi Protein.
The concept is simple. Take the winning Snickers combo of chocolate, caramel, and crunchy peanuts and add 20 grams of protein. The performance nutrition bar, according to the press release, is aimed at everyone from “extreme athlete[s]” to the “exercise-curious”--a clever claim to make just ahead of the New Years' resolution season.
Michelle Deignan, Senior Brand Director of Mars Wrigley said about the new product, "With the demand for delicious tasting protein bars increasing, Snickers Hi Protein bars are guaranteed to be a hit whether you work out avidly, casually, or are looking for a delicious snack with more protein."
The 2.01 oz. bars will hit shelves at select stores starting in January of the new year.
Other Protein Bars Struggle to Capitalize on Beloved Brands
The move to "juice up" a product with long-standing brand recognition seems intuitive when bridging the gap between indulged and healthy snacks. After all, if you've had even one breakfast bar that tastes faintly like cardboard, it's hard to erase the "ew, gross" experience bias from your brain. But a candy bar? Everyone loves a candy bar.
Mondelez International made a clever move in scooping up Clif Bars, a nutrition bar that already came with its own signature brand recognition. But Hershey's One Brands and Nestlé's YES! bars are not the Clif Bar. The Hershey Company also struggled to make its protein-infused chocolate milk a hit with shoppers, so the drink is no longer listed on its product page.
As for Nestlé, the YES! bar serves a unique function that will drive food-sensitive shoppers to loyally purchase the product if it works for them. But for shoppers outside of that niche, it's a shame that the protein-packed candy bar concept hasn't made its way to the company's many delicious candy bar offerings like Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, or Nestlé Crunch.