Banabar: “We Are the Only Organic Bar Brand in Europe Using Dried Banana as a Base”

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The organic energy bar market has become a booming industry on a global scale. In 2020, the market size for these products was valued at $329.4 million, according to Allied Market Research. By 2030, that value is expected to reach $644.9 million, with the population of health-conscious consumers continuing to rise.

Banabar is a Netherlands-based organic bar company, offering 100% vegan fruit bars composed of dried bananas from South America, along with a variety of other flavours. Founded in 2019 by food technologist Marco Mega, Banabar was chosen by Lidl Netherlands for the FutureGoods week, which took place in June 2019, when 17.000 bars were sold in 420 stores in the Netherlands in just one week.

We caught up with Marco to find out more about what makes Banabar special, along with his plans for the future of the brand.

© Banaba

Who is Banabar and what does the brand stand for?
At Banabar we are obsessed with creating mind-blowing and delicious organic bars based on dried banana. Bananas are a natural energy booster. Along with nuts, seeds, cacao and other superfoods, it makes for a perfect snack on the go in between meals and a great energy bar before or after sport. Our four flavours have been winning people over wherever we go as a new alternative to cereal, nuts, and date-based bars.

“We use only rejected bananas not suitable for the export market and commit 1% of our total revenue to support the organic farmers we work within Ecuador.”

Our mission is to promote healthy and pleasurable snacking experiences and create a positive social and environmental impact. Banana is the second most-produced fruit worldwide, but it is also the second most chemically intensive crop after cotton. Banana crops are particularly susceptible to infestations as most are grown in the tropics, favouring conditions for pests. Up to 200 L of very toxic pesticides are sprayed per hectare/year up to 45 times/year, creating a harmful impact on people and the environment.

We make sure to use only organic ingredients. We source our organic bananas from Ecuador, where supporting the growth of the organic banana plantations is our way to fight against the industry norm of using highly poisonous and carcinogenic pesticides. We use only rejected bananas not suitable for the export market and commit 1% of our total revenue to support the organic farmers we work with in Ecuador.

© Banabar

There are many bars on the shelf, why should retailers choose you?
There are different reasons. Banabar is an innovative product. We are the only organic bar brand in Europe using dried banana as a base. We have fantastically combined health and great taste in a unique product. The pursuit of healthier eating is driving interest in products that successfully balance enjoyment and health without compromise. Some category managers might say that Banabar could be a niche product.

“Having a good product is no longer enough without having a purpose as a brand.”

We still do not understand why. Who does not like banana? Date and cereal bars have invaded the shelves of shops, and consumers need something new. Our four flavours have been winning people over wherever we go as a new alternative in the bar category. Reviews from customers are very good and sales performance is also in line or even better than our competitors. We are a mission-driven brand. Consumers are looking for convenience and peace of mind, nutritionally and ethically, when it comes to snacking. Having a good product is no longer enough without having a purpose as a brand.

Marco Mega, founder © Banabar

Which varieties are in the current range?
We have four flavours in our current range, Banabar Goji & Chia, Banabar Cacao & Hazelnut, Banabar Lemon & Almond and Banabar Cacao.

Banabar Goji & Chia is our gourmet flavour. The flavour of banana with the micro crunchiness of the chia seeds and the almonds combined with the zesty red goji berries reminds many people of the taste of figs. In Banabar Cacao & Hazelnut the taste of banana comes sharply together with the delicate flavour of the crunchy cacao nibs and the whole nutty hazelnuts. The freshness of the dried lemon together with the nutty almonds makes it perfect for a fresh and sweet snack. Banabar Cacao is our classic, we made it for the chocolate lovers, and we are actually addicted to it ourselves. The combination of banana, nuts and cacao mass is mind-blowing.

What new products are in the pipeline?
We will be launching one new flavour in the final quarter of 2022, and we are developing new products to launch in 2023. We have a few options we are working on within the vegan and snacking categories. We want to have more than just a bar brand. We want a diverse portfolio while keeping the same spirit and innovation in mind.

Marco Mega, founder, and Shonali, creative strategist © Banabar

This is a very exciting time, one that is also crucial for our growth. At the moment, we are quite busy preparing for our next fundraising campaign. We are ready to grow faster and launch our products in new markets.

How do you support retailers with sales (social media, OH advertising, advertising)?
We normally plan sales promotions in-store and advertise on social media to increase brand awareness and boost trials from new customers. Whenever possible, we find samplings very effective. We love to show our faces and tell our story to customers. People can really connect to you and your brand.

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