Clif Bar & Company, a leading maker of organic energy bars, is moving into the pet food category with a new line of plant-based dog treats.
According to Pet Food Processing, CLIF Pet’s Plant-Based Jerky will launch in early 2022 with three recipes: Sweet Potato & Blueberry, Pumpkin & Apple and Butternut Squash & Cranberry. Each flavor contains just seven ingredients and is formulated for easy digestion, with additional product SKU’s rolling out in the near future.
Clif Bar is distinguished among sports energy bars for being largely plant-based and organic. The company also owns the popular brands CLIF Kids and LUNA bars. By venturing into pet snacks, Clif Bar will become one of the few mainstream food companies to extend its products in such a daring new direction.
A winning combination
CLIF Pet is the first venture of Clif Bar’s Trailblazer Incubator, a new program which seeks to accelerate the growth of the almost 30-year-old snack company by exploring disruptive opportunities. Overseen by Chief Innovation Officer Rizal Hamdallah and Incubator Senior Director Greg Lok, one of the Trailblazer program’s top goals is to help Clif Bar double in size in order to maximize the company’s positive impacts.
Entering the pet snacks category seemed ideal due to the surge in pet ownership over the past 18 months, and the growing demand for higher-quality pet foods, the company says.
“With more than 11 million U.S. households bringing a pet home during the last 18 months of COVID, the category is exploding and ripe for new offerings2,” said Lok. “What makes this launch unique is the combination of speed and discipline to bring an innovative, relevant product to market during a global pandemic. We are truly blazing new trails by applying best practices from tech start-ups to our expertise in consumer insights and packaged goods – it’s a winning combination.”
“Just as Clif Bar was founded on disrupting the energy bar category nearly 30 years ago, the Trailblazers Incubator is built to consistently deliver our bold innovation agenda and accelerate our growth plan,” said Hamdallah. “In addition to a rapid, data-driven product development and go-to-market strategy, what makes our approach different is extending the loyalty of the CLIF® brand. By introducing CLIF Pet, we will bring energy to the whole family.”
Plant-based pet food making gains
Both cultivated and plant-based pet food continue to pick up momentum. Earlier this year, cultured pet food startup Because, Animals closed an oversubscribed seed funding round to help bring its commercial pet food to market.
In September, Wild Earth secured $23 million from an all-star lineup of investors, including Mark Cuban, to grow the brand’s plant-based dog food. Founder Ryan Bethencourt also revealed the company’s plans to enter into cell-based meat pet food. And in November, fermentation startup Bond Pet Foods announced a partnership with Hills Pet Nutrition to replace one of Hill’s most popular meat-based products with a sustainable alternative.