It's Time to Customize

The Lempert Report
December 03, 2015

How can food businesses offer a more customized experience and still make it pay?

Just as we called it out in our 2016 Trend Forecast, personalization, or customization is opening up the food world’s eyes to the possibilities. Big brands have always sought to convince us that by purchasing their mass-produced wares we are somehow expressing ourselves (although it’s hard to argue that buying a Coke – even with your name on it - is a bold expression of individualism). 

The question is just how can food businesses offer a more customized experience and still make it pay?

Los Angeles-based YouBar, has built a hugely successful ‘build-your-own-nutrition-bar’ business that gives its customers exactly what they want. It has no minimum order quantities (unlike most contract manufacturers), and still turns a healthy profit.

Anthony Flynn – co-author of The New York Times bestseller Custom Nation  – created YouBar in 2006 as a b2c online operation making it easy for consumers to create their own bars for events… or just for the thrill of having a bar with their name on it… just as Customink enables you to create your own tee-shirt for your sports team, or Walmart lets you print a mug with your holiday snaps on.

Flynn says it quickly became apparent that the real business opportunity was in the b2b market, serving the needs of a growing number of enterprising entrepreneurs looking to build a brand, from Mommy bloggers, event managers, wedding planners, crossfit gym owners, coffee shops and personal trainers; to high-profile TV personalities, diet book authors, celebrity dietitians, and fitness gurus building their own branded goods empires.

“We were getting these orders for 10,000 bars and 50,000 bars, and we realized we were onto something.  

YouBar is a one-stop-shop - product developer, designer, marketer, branding expert and online retail expert rolled into one.says Flynn in FoodNavigator-USA.

An interesting side benefit to YouBar’s business is that by working with smaller start-ups they see the trends faster than most. He says that on the protein side, whey protein isolate remains the gold standard protein, but more customers are now asking for pea, hemp, and rice protein, while cranberry protein powders are also gaining traction. He’s also had requests for cricket protein, beef protein powders and egg white protein.

Hmmmm.maybe there is a SupermarketGuru Protein Bar in our future? What do you think it should contain, drop me an email at Phil@ and share your protein bar requirements.