As part of a recent culinary tour of Los Angeles led by the Almond Board of California, our group met with several unique, forward-trending snack and bakery companies. One of these was This Bar Saves Lives, a snack bar company that has a core mission of helping alleviate hunger in developing countries and led by four actors: Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell, Ravi Patel and Kristen Bell (read more about them here).
In order to learn more about the company and its humanitarian mission, we reached out to Ryan Devlin, co-founder of This Bar Saves Lives, Louisville, KY.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What is the background behind This Bar Saves Lives?
Ryan Devlin: Todd Grinnell and I took a humanitarian trip to Liberia back in 2008 where we met children who were suffering from severe malnutrition. It was heartbreaking. It’s one of those moments that changes your life. And the crazy thing is that malnutrition is 100 percent treatable and preventable. These kids were being brought back to life by a simple packet called Plumpy’Nut—a fortified, nutritional supplement that brings a malnourished child back to health in a matter of weeks. So, we decided then and there to get more of those packets to kids who need them. The idea for This Bar Saves Lives was born—a simple one-for-one model where we sell the best dang snack bars, and send the best dang nutritional aid to those who need it. Buy a bar, feed a child, we eat together.
DJP: Who is involved with this company?
RD: This Bar Saves Lives was founded by myself, Todd Grinnell, Ravi Patel and Kristen Bell. We started out in Ravi’s apartment, but now we have a real office, and an awesome staff of do-gooders!
DJP: When did the products first come to market?
DJP: Where do you sell the bars?
DJP: Have you released any new varieties since the line launched?
RD: We’re always working on new flavors, and just recently debuted two delicious recipes in April 2018—Dark Chocolate & Coconut and PB & J. Our product portfolio includes the following flavors:
- Dark Chocolate & Coconut (new!)—packed with crunchy almonds, sweet coconut, and topped with coconut flakes and a delicious rich dark chocolate drizzle.
- PB & J (new!)—a nostalgic and delicious blend of crunchy peanuts, creamy peanut butter, and pieces of sweet strawberries.
- Dark Chocolate & Cherry—packed with crunchy almonds, tart cherries, cranberries, and drizzled with antioxidant rich dark chocolate.
- Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey—perfectly balanced with subtle notes of vanilla and honey, and packed with crunchy almonds and omega-3-rich flax seeds.
- Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter—made with crunchy peanuts, creamy peanut butter, and drizzled with delicious rich dark chocolate.
- Wild Blueberry & Pistachio—a delicious and healthy blend of nuts, seeds, and antioxidant-rich blueberries.
DJP: How many children do you estimate that you have helped through sales of the bars?
RD: To date, This Bar Saves Lives has provided over 3.5 million nutrient packets, impacting many thousands of children’s lives around the world.
DJP: Why was it important to have the bars be gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher?
RD: We pride ourselves on using premium, better-for-you ingredients in our snack bars. We want to provide our consumers with the best snacks so we can, consequently, send as much life-saving nutrition to children around the world as we can.
DJP: How do you get the message behind This Bar Saves Lives out to the public?
RD: We think that word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to get our message out. Our mission is so clear and effective, and we have an incredible product, so people are eager to talk about it and hear more about the brand. To support this, we do a lot of guerrilla sampling and demos to share our bars and giveback-message with as many people as we can. We also pride ourselves on transparency and keeping our supporters in the loop on what their impact looks like. So we update our social media platforms constantly with amazing images and inspiring stories.
DJP: What’s next for the company?
RD: Now that we’re available in over 8,000 Starbucks locations nationwide, people can find our bars pretty much anywhere. That’s awesome, and it’s going to have a huge impact on lives around the world. So we’ll be sharing a lot of those stories in the coming months. We’re also working on some pretty big retail partnerships and product innovation. We’re just getting warmed up!