A strong social mission & unique nutritional profile helped Kuli Kuli Bars cut through the competition

Social mission unique nutrition helped Kuli Kuli Bars beat competition

Only a small fraction of the hundreds of nutrition bars that launch in the U.S. annually will survive the first year, but among those that have are Kuli Kuli Bars, thanks in part to their unique nutrition profile and the manufacturer’s strong social mission which each resonate with today’s consumers. 

Lisa Curtis founded Kuli Kuli after volunteering with the Peace Corps in Niger where she witnessed and experienced first-hand the detrimental effects of malnutrition and the health saving benefits of moringa tree leaves, which became the key ingredient in Kuli Kuli’s bars.

Gram for gram the moringa tree’s leaves offer two times the protein of yogurt, four times the vitamin A of carrots, three times the potassium of bananas, four times the calcium of milk and seven times the vitamin C of organs, according to Curtis, who joked that moringa is “an all in one green.”

“We like to talk about this as the plant you can almost live off,” she added.

Yet, despite its highly nutritious profile, its ability to help relieve malnutrition in West Africa and the fact it “grows like a weed,” Curtis said very few villagers where she volunteered grew the trees and harvested the leaves to eat because there is not a market demand or financial incentive.

So when Curtis returned to the U.S. she set out to create a market demand for moringa to encourage more villagers to grow the ingredient in an effort to help improve their physical and financial health.

“Kuli Kuli’s mission is to provide everyone who wants to access the nutritional power of moringa with the knowledge and resources to do so,” according to the company’s website.

The young company does this by partnering with nonprofits in West Africa that help organize local women into co-ops that grow moringa in exchange for fair wages and a donation of 10% of sales that are reinvested in their communities to improve local nutrition through educational and school feeding programs.

Curtis is in the process of taking this mission to the next level by having the co-ops certified as Fair Trade.

“Hopefully we will get it done this year” by finding a grant “so we can show the world these are our values and what we stand for,” Curtis said.

New products on the way

Slightly more than a year after launching the Kuli Kuli Bars, which come in three flavors, the company is expanding its product line to include tea and powder.

The protein rich, vegan, raw and gluten-free Moringa Powder will launch in 8-ounce containers in retail stores this June, Curtis said.

She explained that while the powder is easier to make and more versatile to use than the bars, Kuli Kuli waited to launch it in retail stores until Americans were more familiar with the ingredient, its benefits and how to use it. The bars were a more approachable and familiar format for introducing a new ingredient, she added.

Sales from the powder are promising given that within a month of its soft launch online, it quickly sold out and the company had to struggle to meet demand, Curtis said.

More recently, the firm launched online an Organic Moringa Tea, which the company’s website describes as “earthy and full-bodied.”

Curtis also noted the firm has a “couple of more products” in the pipeline, as well, that it will announce over the course of the next year.

Best advice: Keep your day job

While encouraged by the success of her company, Curtis remains level-headed in her approach to the food and beverage industry in the U.S.,noting the best and worst advice she ever received was: “Hang on to your day job for a while to test the market and to make sure your product will sell.”

She only recently gave up her day job, which she said was “really scary” because she didn’t know when her next paycheck would come.

“We have made it this far, though, which is really exciting,” especially given the deep competition, Curtis said, adding that other start-ups will know when it is time to go all in when they have enough stores distributing their products that the business requires more than their full attention. 

Related News

Source: Kuli Kuli

Kuli Kuli expands portfolio, mission with energy shot launch

Kuli Kuli's moringa superfood shot line. Source: Kuli Kuli

Kellogg's eighteen94 leads $4.25m funding round in moringa superfood start-up Kuli Kuli

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa steal kale's top superfood spot?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa knock kale out of the top superfood spot?

Nutrition bars expand market share by tying into wellness, athleticism

Nutrition and health bars expand market share by tying into wellness, athleticism

Reinventing US breakfast: Nutritional & cereal bars an ‘efficient platform’ for food engineers

Reinventing US breakfast: Nutritional & cereal bars an ‘efficient platform’ for food engineers

The Eat Think Smile range of food bars and other products from Hershey is functional and indulgent

Line between cereal bars and energy/nutrition bars is blurring, says report

Related Products

See more related products

Comments (1)

Michelle - 07 May 2015 | 10:05

Kuli Kuli

To find our bars, powder and tea, check out kulikulifoods.com/products. Many thanks for the feature, Elizabeth! We're proud to share our mission and stick it out in the market.

07-May-2015 at 22:05 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.