bar expert

Meet The Bar Experts - Paul O'Mahony

Paul O’Mahony, Product Strategic Manager Dairy and Plant Proteins at Glanbia Nutritionals, has seen the bar category in the snacks market grow immeasurably in the past five years. Here he talks about the shifting trends in the market and what we can expect in the future.

The Explosion of the Bar Market

In the past few years we have seen an explosion in growth in the bar category with bar launches in 2019, according to Mintel, reaching an all-time high in the UK1. There has been a real shift from the traditional high protein sports nutrition style bars used by core athletes, to bars that encompass added functional ingredients, such as protein and fibre, which are used by mainstream consumers as part of a healthier on-the-go lifestyle. One of the fastest growing categories for bars is those with a high protein claim – more than 400 product launches featured this claim in the UK alone in the past five years. With availability more widespread than ever, and popular manufacturers such as Mars and Cadbury appearing on the market with their own high-protein bars, consumers are seeking high quality, clean tasting, functional nutrition in their bars, all with a hint of indulgence.

One of the fastest growing categories for bars is those with a high protein claim – more than 400 product launches featured this claim in the UK alone in the past five years1 .

Technical Challenges

Whilst reducing bar hardening is still an important issue, Glanbia Nutritionals’ focus is now on creating a point of differentiation for manufacturers. We work in partnership with manufacturers and brand owners across the industry to address some of the more complex challenges that companies face such as creating new innovative taste and textures with improved mouthfeel, in addition to using multi-layers to create stand-out products in the market. Using Glanbia’s Nutritionals unique protein range of ingredients including BarPro®, BarFlex®, Crunchie™ Milk Protein Crisps and plant-based proteins helps brand owners and bar manufacturers differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Whilst formulating with new solutions may present technical challenges, Glanbia Nutritionals’ R&D experts are well positioned to help companies deal with these. Glanbia Nutritionals’ global presence ensures that it delivers ingredients with consistent quality internationally.

Speed of Innovation

With new products being launched all the time and disrupters in the marketplace growing their market share massively, leading the way over traditional players, what can we expect next? In the forthcoming years we will see bar manufacturers continue to introduce new formats, examples include protein bites, clusters and chips, designed to make indulgence more permissible but also fit with the healthy on-the-go lifestyle mainstream consumers crave. We will also see more layered bars, creating new textures with added ingredients such as caramel, lighter aerated fillings, and new flavours to tempt consumers.

At Glanbia we believe in the importance of insights to ensure we are at the forefront of innovation.

At Glanbia we believe in the importance of insights to ensure we are at the forefront of innovation. Our strong R&D and technical team along with our dairy technology, means we can facilitate requests for new product development. In such a fast-paced market, it is definitely challenging to meet this speed of innovation, but as an industry leader we know how important it is to stay ahead of the curve.

Collaboration Across the Market

Partnering and building relationships is key to our model. From ideation to scale-up, and everything in between, we provide the technical know-how and support to companies. We work with companies to create their own, innovative recipes. We provide insights, access to our extensive Bar Library, which offers a range of prototypes to spark ideas, and custom concept development, to help solve challenges together. Our unrivalled formulation expertise and specialist bar scientist team can help with development, along with our broad portfolio of ingredients and world-leading laboratory facilities, to ensure you have the right product to meet your needs.

At Glanbia Nutritionals we believe that for products to succeed in the market, a rigorous testing and validation phase should take place. We can help companies with shelf life and texture testing in addition to ensuring the nutritional profile of a product. We pride ourselves on covering every aspect of getting a product to market to ensure our customers lead the way in their markets.

Global Presence

Overall as the bar category continues its pace, manufacturers will need to speed up their time to market in order to gain a competitive edge and stand out in such a crowded industry. At Glanbia we have a long-standing heritage in the bar market with more than 15 years’ experience helping customers produce innovative, tasty products that resonate with consumers. We have global expertise at the local level offering unrivalled market insights and formulation know-how. We collaborate intensively with customers to develop innovative solutions so that they can launch faster and expand in their markets.

Broad Range of Solutions and Expertise

Bars are not the only thing we do at Glanbia Nutritionals, we are a leading nutrition specialist bringing together leadership expertise in nutrient premix manufacturing, dairy and functional proteins, micronutrient straights and bioactives, as well as plant-based solutions into one nutritional powerhouse. We are seasoned experts in food technology, seeking new ways to make food perform better. We will explore different areas of our fast-growing business in our Meet the Expert series over the coming months.



1.Mintel Global New Product Database, September 2019

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