The energy bar market is highly saturated with multiple companies competing with numerous product lines and large amounts of product variation within each product line. While there are some big competitors, the easy entry into the market has allowed numerous smaller manufacturers to enter the market with highly differentiated niche products. PowerBar is one of the largest energy bar manufacturers on the market today, but it lacks the highly specialized performance bar with great differentiation from the competition. The product opportunity is GelBar, a fusion of Five Hour Energy with the typical PowerBar formula. GelBar would provide long-lasting energy with PowerBar nutrients in a compact and transportable form.
GelBar combines a gel core made from Five Hour Energy with the outer shell’s PowerBar formula
The traditional PowerBar offers ample scope for product improvement. The stick itself can hold liquids without allowing any, making it an ideal formula for enclosing a gel substance. Five Hour Energy is marketed as an accident-free energy formula for athletes, workers, and people with an active lifestyle. By combining the Five Hour Energy formula with a gel, the gel can be included within the PowerBar formula. The advantages of the gel formula are that it drips less and, at the same time, it maintains a fresher and more refreshing feeling.
Product placement as a key driver of product marketing
We believe that GelBar will probably get the most sales from the planned buying areas; this would be a dedicated section of an aisle with normal merchandise, rather than the impulse checkout area. Some locations could include Erik’s Bikes, Target, REI, Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Gear West, Wal-Mart, Cabella’s, Guitar Center, and other active lifestyle or convenience store locations. While some of these stores are geared toward your active lifestyle enthusiast, others, like Guitar Center, focus on the long-term energy impact of the bar. We believe the bar could be used before concerts or other energy intensive performances, in addition to the obvious athletic activities where GelBar is a key fit for user demands.
Relative SWOT analysis of GelBar versus a variety of competitive substitute products
GelBar’s most obvious strength is the two brands it brings together: 5 Hour Energy and PowerBar. The two logos could be used for marketing to clearly communicate the powerful formulas within the bar. Also, the bar is compact, yet large enough to be easily handled while moving. Unlike pure gel or paste products, the stick contains solids that allow the user to chew food before swallowing. The effects of the bar allow the user to maintain energy for a period of time from two different sources: the effects of 5 Hour Energy and the fats and proteins of the PowerBar formula.
However, we realize that GelBar is not without its weaknesses. The first weakness is the bar formula: gel-based products are intended for rapid consumption in the midst of physically demanding activity, such as running a marathon, while solid food products are intended for rest periods within that activity, which can prevent you from doing the most physically demanding activities. Second, the two formulas can overlap in ingredients that can reduce the effectiveness of the formulas. The body can only absorb so much of a substance before discarding the rest as excess. If the two products were superimposed on a certain energy-giving vitamin, the body may discard the additional vitamin provided by 5 Hour Energy and absorb only the vitamin provided by PowerBar, thus reducing the effectiveness of 5 Hour Energy.
However, the opportunities for GelBar are numerous. As mentioned in the store locations, we believe that GelBar can be placed in a variety of markets, from serious athletes to musicians and casual consumers. Additionally, the product line can be expanded to include different GelBar flavors by combining 5 Hour Energy and the bar flavor. Another point of product differentiation is the size of the bar. Smaller bars can be provided for compact trips, while larger bars can be provided for rest periods from an activity. Lastly, the quantity of product can be varied, from individual bars for the casual consumer to boxes for the serious athlete.
The threats to the product launch are numerous. The industry is highly competitive and there are many substitutes for the product. The product also bridges the gap between the solid bar (product at rest) and gel products (product in motion), which can cause confusion for consumers and can decrease the times the bar can be consumed. Finally, it is possible that there is no niche market for such a specialized product or that there is already a smaller and highly specialized manufacturer in this market.
The trends supporting the launch of this product focus on the activity of our target market and competition within the industry. According to the FDA, new products in the energy bar industry have increased 28% in the last four years. Additionally, the US Department of Health has released new research indicating that obesity levels in the US continue to grow, but at moderate levels. Both of these trends point to a growing demand for energy bar products from a larger market.
Focused on the primary market for GelBar
The primary target market is the active lifestyle enthusiast and athlete. We would use a multi-product, multi-segment approach with our many flavors from the bar. We believe that the active lifestyle enthusiast can be defined as living in the US (our primary market and initial launch point) in a major city or suburban area, both male and female, of any race, between 16 and 65 years, with income (or access to income, that is, the income of the parents) greater than $ 60,000. Psychographic targeting would be an active lifestyle, which would include a competitive drive to win, a desire to be active, risk, and someone who exercises several times a week. Behavioral targeting could be used to further target customers who frequent a sports or active lifestyle store more than once a month.
GelBar is highly competitive with many competitive advantages
GelBar solves the problem of a solid bar that dehydrates the consumer. While solid bars tend to be lacking in moisture, GelBar has a gel core that rehydrates the consumer while exercising. While this does not mean that water is not necessary, it will substantially compensate for the need to drink water while eating the bar. Plus, it packs more sustenance than a gel pack and tastes better. Lastly, due to the efficiency of the PowerBar manufacturing process, GelBar can be offered at a price in line with other bars, which means it offers more spin for the same price, making it the top buy in terms of value for dollar.
GelBar solves the problem of a solid bar dehydrating the user during a workout. In addition, it solves the problem that a gel pack does not taste good and is uncomfortable to eat. It does this by combining the two in a solid bar wrapped around a gel core that is made from 5 Hour Energy for an additional burst of sustained energy for the competitive athlete.
Influence the customer’s purchase decision process with four key factors
Customers evaluate many criteria when purchasing an energy bar. For some, it’s a quick purchase based on physical hunger while exercising. For others, it is a planned purchase with the goal of buying a single type of bar.
GelBar can be advertised on sports-focused channels like ESPN to influence both types of purchases. Additionally, celebrity endorsements can create a link between GelBar and the performance of an elite athlete. By using information sources dominated by marketers, such as the website and our advertising, the consumer will become aware of GelBar.
Second, during the purchase decision process, a special display or signage can be used to differentiate the product from other energy bars. This will physically attract the consumer to another location in addition to the substitute products, making them more likely to purchase our bar. Along the same lines, prices can be set below the competition for the first few months for promotional purposes, again, causing the customer to choose our bar over others in impulse purchases.
Lastly, you can combat cognitive dissonance with our celebrity endorsements. If we get enough celebrities to approve GelBar, the consumer will feel part of an elite circle of athletes buying GelBar. This can continue with “regular” athletes, highlighting top amateur athletes who use our product or are sponsored by our product.
Development of alternatives in terms of markets and expansion of the product line
Additional markets may include casual consumers, performance musicians, hiking and camping enthusiasts, and competitive workers.
Why this market
Product line extensions
Weekend Training Users
High discretionary income and desire to imitate the best athletes.
The burst of energy in GelBar keeps them going
Bars with musicians labels
Music theme packaging
Hiking and camping enthusiasts
Compact, nutrient-dense foods are essential for packing light and small foods.
Gluten-free and food allergy-free bars
More gel for greater hydration bard
Police and firefighters
Night dock workers
Labor intensive jobs
The fast pace of work and physical demand is met with the sustained energy of GelBar
Plus 5-hour energy formula
Clearly, the energy bar market has a competitive gap that GelBar fills. Financial analysis needs to be done before launch, but the marketing argument is incredibly strong for the GelBar launch. We believe that the need is present and the market is growing, so it is a good industry to play in. GelBar must be developed and launched as soon as possible to take advantage of this unique market opportunity.