By Maggie Gioia | Marketing Coordinator
July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and since CLIF BAR was born on the back of a bike, who better to power the outdoor adventures of consumers than CLIF BAR? Best known for their namesake bar made with rolled oats, CLIF has expanded throughout the years to include protein-focused Builders Protein bars, kid’s Z Bars and protein Z Bars, Minis, Cereal, Nut Butter Bars, BLOK Energy Chews and Gel, LUNA Bars, drink mixes and artisan-made grocery items.
During a one day, 175-mile bike ride, “an exhausted and hungry Gary Erickson” knew that he couldn’t “choke down another unappetizing energy bar.” And thus, the idea for CLIF BAR was formed. Crafted in his mom’s kitchen, Erickson’s first CLIF BAR recipe hit the shelves in 1992. Though CLIF was recently acquired by Mondelez for $2.9 billion this past June, the business has remained family owned and operated since its inception.
For the last thirty years, CLIF has demonstrated its commitment to people and the planet. For instance, the brand founded the CLIF BAR Family Foundation to support local nonprofits, raising over $61 million in the last 12 years. Moreover, CLIF uses only sustainably produced, Rainforest-Alliance Certified, organic ingredients in their products. Operating from certified green facilities, 90% of CLIF’s waste is diverted from landfills through recycling programs and eco-friendly packaging. Similarly, CLIF utilizes 100% renewable energy and transportation that doesn’t pollute.
While sustainability is a key pillar of CLIF, championing the community is also a priority. The business incentivizes volunteer work for employees, clocking in nearly 19,000 volunteer hours. What’s more – all employees are part-owners of the company, supporting vision and direction.
In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Kit Crawford – wife and co-Chief Visionary Officer of Erickson – explained that her and Erickson “wanted to create a company where we would want to work… Employee ownership is one more way we could run a different kind of business: one that inspires a team of people to make the kind of delicious, nutritious food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world.”
As it turns out, CLIF’s dedication to the community and a better tasting bar proved successful. In 2020, 10.53 million people consumed CLIF BARS in the United States. Since the functional eating and better-for-you food trends have continued to grow over the last two years, CLIF’s sales are expected to rise right along with it.
“CLIF BAR and Company has been the leader in the bar category for more than a decade. When you think of how significant that is, there have been so many brands that have come and gone throughout the years, but no one could touch the market share that CLIF built on their brand integrity and loyal cult-like following,” said Erin Mercolino-Nigro, National Convenience Distributor’s senior director of chain sales and innovation.
“[CLIF has] continued to evolve with brand innovation throughout the years and yet [they] have not compromised who they are. There is certainly something to be said for that. Unlike so many others in [consumer packaged goods], this brand has been able to reach such a vast demographic from young Gen Z’ers to the traditional c-store shopper. They all know and love CLIF.”
Designed for sustained energy, CLIF began as a favorite treat amongst cyclists, appearing in bike shops and sports equipment stores. As their exposure grew, CLIF grew to be the go-to snack for all outdoor adventurers and sports lovers, helping to nourish athletes from hikers, skiers and kayakers to soccer players, runners and swimmers.
Now, as the number one energy bar, consumers can find most – if not all – CLIF BAR products in grocery and convenience stores. Despite having countless flavors to choose from, CLIF’s nutritional integrity is uncompromising. Derived from whole, non-GMO ingredients, each product provides a significant serving of fiber, plant-based protein and energy.