by Carol Ortenberg
What do you get when you combine an energy shot, a multivitamin and a protein bar? No, not the diet of a college student during finals, but rather the newly relaunched R.e.d.d bar.
The Portland, Maine-based brand announced today it had added two flavors to its superfood energy bar line and raised $1 million dollars from investors including Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research Inc, and Greg Hanson, Founder and Managing Partner at Skyline Capital. Nordstrom and Hanson will both hold seats on R.e.d.d.’s Board of Directors and the capital will go towards marketing, production and distribution.
It’s a big step for the brand, which has seen several setbacks over the years. The concept was founded in 2010 by Alden Blease, a former male model looking for an inexpensive, healthy way to eat. At the time, Blease was in college and short on cash, so he purchased bulk ingredients and blended them into his own bar line. When friends started asking to buy the bars, Blease quit school and used the funds from a car accident settlement to started a bar line called “Rawgasm.”
In 2013, Blease changed the brand to its current name and stepped up production. Unfortunately, after completing his entire production run, he found that his packaging leaked toxic chemicals into the bar — the full run had to be scrapped. A year later R.e.d.d. was back on shelves, but soon after, in 2015, the manufacturer dropped the line. Blease wasn’t deterred and moved production across the country to the West Coast. The move, which took a year, gave Blease enough time to completely redesign packaging, hire a CEO and develop two new flavors.
Now, with modern, bold packaging, investment and a more robust team, R.e.d.d. Is ready to rock grocery shelves. It’s currently sold in coffee shops, independent retailers and direct to consumer but Blease said the company is in talks with retailers such as Whole Foods Market for wider distribution.
The investment will support these growth goals on both coasts. Blease said he’s thrilled to have found Nordstrom — of the Nordstrom’s department store family — and Hansen as investors. “[Dan Nordstrom] does have vast retail experience but he’s also an outdoor enthusiast, tremendous athlete and overall great guy,” Blease told NOSH. “I’d say he’s a visionary, he sees things before they happen in the market. I think the combination of those attributes is what helped him see the potential in R.e.d.d.”
This support is key for a brand launching into the crowded bar space. One difference, Blease says, is that his line isn’t a meal replacement.
“It’s a ‘meal bridge’” Blease noted to NOSH. “I don’t think that there’s any bar out there, or anything that comes in a package, that truly replaces a fresh, delicious, home cooked meal.”
And why does his product stand out above the competition? Easy, says Blease. “It’s taste, it’s function and its design. We don’t compromise on any of those things…We want to give people the best product and that product costs $3.49 because we don’t compromise, we just don’t.”
Read original article at Project Nosh.