While developing this year’s Top 50 Snack & Bakery Companies list, I dug into the story behind Quest Nutrition and its stratospheric rate of growth over the years.
Founded in 2010, by 2014 sales of its bars in the nutritional/intrinsic health value segment had reached around $2,881,800—an impressive start. This year, Quest Nutrition sales in that same segment hit over $209,716,800. That’s over 7,000 percent growth in four years—and that just represents Quest Nutrition’s business in one bar segment as tracked by IRI. Today, the company is hitting global sales north of $1 billion—and it’s sitting at the No. 32 slot on our Top 50 list.
When Tom Bilyeu—along with co-founders Ron Penna and Mike Osborn—launched Quest Nutrition in 2010, did we need another protein bar? No. But we did need someone to approach the market in a different way, driven by passion and higher ideals—and a willingness to buck convention. And that’s made all the difference.
Quest seeks to offer good food that tastes good. The company is reportedly investing millions of dollars into research to investigate possible connections between cancer and metabolic disease. This ties it to a higher purpose.
Quest bars don’t contain any added sugar. They’re viewed as better-for-you alternatives to traditional treats. Quest has expanded into offering “Hero Bars,” a protein bar meets candy bar mashup. Most recently, they’ve launched protein-rich cookies, chips and even pizza.
They adopted social media early on as a way to truly engage their audience. They gave away a lot of free product. They built loyalty.
The story of Quest Nutrition is more than its rapid rise to success—it’s about an upstart business on a mission that took a DIY ethos and ran with it.