Peeled Snacks and Redd Bar raise capital to expand their healthy snacks empires

Peeled Snacks has expanded beyond dried fruit snacks into pea-based extruded snacks

Organic fruit and veggie snack maker Peeled Snacks has closed a private placement investment from Seurat Capital, while ‘superfood’ energy bar maker Redd Bar has raised early stage capital from a suite of high-profile investors, with Whipstitch Capital serving as the exclusive financial advisor in both cases.

Jill Brant, MD at Seurat Capital, will join the board of directors at Peeled Snackswhile Scott Case, co-founder of VMG Partners and now with the Next World Evergreen Fund, has joined the board at Redd Bar.  

What is a healthy snack?

Speaking at the recent FoodNavigator-USA snacking innovation summit, Peeled Snacks founder and president Noha Waibsnaider said consumers were beginning to wise up to the fact that many “perceived good for you snacks” including granola bars, some yogurts, yogurt-coated fruits and fruit juice snacks were in fact “loaded with added sugar” and little better for you than candy.

Truly healthy snacks should be actively good for you, not just less bad for you, she claimed. “You see these organic jellybeans and marshmallows, and it gives people permission to eat them. Or you see these nutrition bars that give you more sugar than you need all week!

“The fact that we are going to have to list added sugar on the Nutrition Facts panel is a really great first step, as consumers will be able to see that things like coconut sugar and agave still count as added sugar."

Healthy snacks should be nutrient dense

Clean labels are important to consumers, but healthy snacks should also be nutrient dense, and feature bioavailable nutrients from whole food sources, argued Waibsnaider, who launched Peeled Snacks with dried fruits, but has since made a successful move into veggie snacks via baked pea snacks under the Peas Please brand, and green pea puffs.

“We don’t just use pea protein in our pea snacks, for example, we use whole peas.”

Ultimately the fastest way for Peeled Snacks to make the biggest impact is to partner with a larger CPG company

Retailers, meanwhile, are increasingly creating destination areas in stores for whole food snacks made from fruits, seeds, veggies, and legumes, said Waibsnaider, who launched Peeled Snacks in grab & go locations such as gyms and airports rather than natural foods stores, making Peeled Snacks quite unusual: “We became known for healthy snacks on the go… We had a lot more visibility than we might otherwise have had … we didn’t go into the more traditional grocery stores and even the natural retailers until half a decade in.

“But if I was starting today, [and deciding which retail channels to prioritize], I’d say online is a huge opportunity. It’s a marketing channel and vehicle as much as it is a sales opportunity.”

Asked about her exit strategy and whether she had had offers for the business, she said: “Ultimately the fastest way for Peeled Snacks to grow and make the biggest impact is to partner with a larger CPG company, whether that is via an investment or an acquisition or some kind of hybrid, so I do believe that that is what we will eventually go towards.”

R.e.d.d. (Research Enhanced Design + Development) energy bars are the brainchild of entrepreneur Alden Blease, who started making his own snacks at college by experimenting with ingredients from the bulk food bins in his local health food store.

The brand – which underwent a major overhaul last year - has piqued the interest of a series of high profile investors in its latest funding round, including Chris Licata (formerly with Blake's All Natural), Tyler Ricks (former Plum Organic and Bear Naked), Dan Nordstrom (founder of Roundhouse Collective and former CEO of Outdoor Research, Inc.) and Scott Case (co-founder of VMG Partners and now with the Next World Evergreen Fund).

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