Image: Chief co-founders Justin and Libby Babet with their daughter Izzy
For the hundreds who completed our survey in June, a huge thank you for all the amazing insights and feedback we received. We know your time is valuable and we really appreciate the amount of detail you all went into.
So, we thought we’d share the results with you! And in the process address some of your suggestions on how we can improve, and to give you a little update on where we’re at as a company.
First up, we won’t share all the data about you, but here are some of the trends and highlights.
About our tribe.
It turns out you’re a healthy bunch! Nutritionally educated and ingredient aware, almost all of you look at the back of the pack before buying packaged food. This warms our hearts, if only more people knew how to read nutrition labels! That’s part of our mission.
You’re also extremely fit, most of you exercise 3 times per week or more! And it seems, being the health nuts you are, you’re interested to learn more about nutrition so we’ll be upping our focus there. We’ll also be sharing recipes, fitness tips, behind the scenes, and stories from our community including regenerative farming and the farmers leading the way.
What you liked about our products.
Taste, ingredients, macros
We’re thrilled you like the taste of our products, plus our clean ingredients (no artificial thickeners and fillers, no dates or excess carbs, no erythritol or maltodextrin, no chemicals/additives, etc) and great macros (low sugar particularly). This is great because these are our top priorities and it’s encouraging to know we’re doing well here! Lots of you liked that we have a savoury option with our meat bar too.
Honest, premium and innovative
You felt that we’re an honest, premium and innovative business, which we also liked!
Good customer service
Despite a few hiccups (we’re working on improved order tracking) we also got top marks for customer service so thanks for your feedback there.
What we can improve.
Collagen Bar crumbliness
By far the biggest suggested change was to reduce the crumbliness of the collagen bars. We wanted to say we hear you loud and clear and have been working on this for some time. The challenge is, when you take out all the artificial thickeners and fillers, or if you take out all the sugary dates, it’s really hard to get a bar to stick together. We’ve come ahead in leaps and bounds from our first version (which melted) but we know we have work to do here. We’re working hard to make this happen. Stay tuned for tweaks without sacrificing flavour as we go.
Packaging is hard to open
Some of you said you found the packaging hard to open. Much of this is probably due to the crumbliness of the collagen bars but a heads up that the zig zag end of the collagen bars is designed to make it easy to open the bar by tearing it sideways. With the meat bars, look for the little notch in one end that is there to make it easy to tear open as well. We’ll see if we can make any improvements here too and welcome any ingenious ideas!
Some of you mentioned you felt the bars are on the pricey side. The biggest challenge here is that the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true. Cheaper products are usually cheaper because they’re not using premium ingredients (we know this because we can make bars much cheaper too, if we use the same cheap ingredients). We don’t want to compromise on quality.
At $5.50 per bar for the Collagen Bars we know we’re at the top end. A heads up that if you buy by the box it’s $4.08 per bar and it’s $3.75 per bar on subscription (all prices including GST). Our next goal is to get a single bar to under $5 on the shelf. With your support to scale this will be achievable in due course.
Our meat bars at $5.95 are pretty competitive with other meat products like grass-fed jerky. Comparing grass-fed meat bars with whey protein bars filled full of cheap powders made in a lab, for example, is like comparing apples with oranges (in some cases it’s comparing apples with candy bars). Again though, for a box you’re paying $5 per bar and on subscription it’s $4.60 per bar which we feel is pretty good. We also cover shipping when you're buying by the box.
A lot of you mentioned it’d be a good idea to work towards sustainable / biodegradable packaging. We’ve been working on this from day one as sustainability (or even better, regeneration if possible) is an important value at the core of what we believe in. The challenge to date is the technology isn’t quite there yet, but we will move on it as soon as it’s doable.
The size of the bars
One or two of you felt the bars are on the smaller size. To this we want to point out that they’ve been designed that way with purpose. For example, our meat bars begin their life as 80g of meat which is the recommended serving size for red meat, they just end up at 40g after all the water is taken out through the drying process. The collagen bars have been designed to deliver the right amount of collagen with minimal sugar and carbs, and without delivering too many calories in one serve. In our experience, the bars are very filling but it’ll take about 15 min for that full feeling to show up. If you eat quickly until you’re full you might be overdoing it. That said, if you’re replacing a meal on the move then 2 bars might be a better option.
Issues with some meat bars
Some of you said you had meat bars which were mouldy. This does happen rarely and please, if this happens to you, always let us know and we’ll replace them for you for free! The reason it happens is, currently, everything is made by hand. When you’re not sealing bars with a machine, it’s very difficult to get a 0% error rate (even with machinery this is next to impossible).
Because we don’t use any preservatives, these bars aren’t like a Macca’s burger which will sit on your shelf for a year without even bacteria wanting to eat it. If even a little oxygen gets in, the bar will mould. It’s the same mould as cheese so it’s harmless, but it doesn’t look or taste great. We are very close though to getting in the new machinery which will solve 99.99% of this and the added benefit is they’ll last longer too!
Bring back the lamb bars!
Many of you said you want the lamb bars back! We have good news and bad. The good news is based on your feedback we've done another run and they're available now. The bad is this will be an irregular thing because lamb prices are out of control right now and we don’t want to pass the cost on. The bottom line is, we hear you and it’s on our priority list to solve.
In addition, we’re relaunching the beef bar (in our new branding finally!) with both the current chilli flavour as well as a non chilli ‘traditional’ flavour. The new formulation will also be nut free and using organic grass-fed and grass-finished meat (we currently use grass-fed and finished). At the same time we’ll be launching our new biltong in 30g and 100g bags with matching flavours so you can mix it up. The biltong will be to the same standard as the bars, low sugar, no preservatives, etc. Oh, and it’s REALLY good!
New flavours and options
Thank you SO much for all your flavour and product ideas. We have two new flavours of the collagen bars in the works and will continue to add new variations from your incredible requests over time!
There were also some amazing ideas that are already in our product pipeline, we can’t wait to share these with you.
In addition to your suggestions we do have quite a few new products we're working on so keep your eyes peeled for those too.
Thanks once again for all your feedback. We love how passionate you all are about the same things as we are and with your help we’re proving it is possible to make snacks that are actually healthy. Or as we like to say, showing that extreme naturalness is possible and we don’t need to settle for processed crap.
Thanks also for supporting our little Aussie business to grow! We really do appreciate each and every one of you every day for helping us on our mission to create convenient, healthy food that’s good for humans and the planet.