- Dang Foods has introduced the 11% plant-based FATBAR, which the company touts as “keto friendly,”Food Navigator said. This is the first foray into the crowded bar market for a company best known for coconut chips and sticky rice snacks.
- The FATBAR is high in fat, has moderate protein and low carbs, and is nut-based with no added sugar, feeding into the keto-diet craze. Dang’s founder, Vincent Kitirattragarn, is a recent convert to the ketogenic diet. He’s quick to point out in Food Navigator that other bars have ditched high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, but replaced them with dates, honey, maple syrup or rice syrup, which are still sugars.
- FATBAR, on the other hand, is sweetened with stevia extract and comes in three flavors — almond vanilla, lemon matcha and chocolate sea salt. It will launch on Amazon in September and Whole Foods in early 2019.
Everyone is looking for the perfect way to lose fat and add muscle, and one popular way to do that is through the ketogenic diet. But not all fats are created equal, and consumers are aware of the dangers of saturated fats with 11% saying they are healthy and 40% unhealthy, according to the International Food Information Council.
Still, consumption of animal fats is on the rise, and the trend is led by millennials, according to a 2016 survey from Coast Packing Company and Ipsos Research. About 13% of all survey respondents said they would be willing to consume animal fats, up from 9% in 2015. In addition, 9% of respondents said they increased their consumption of animal fats compared to 6% the year before. In terms of millennials, 20% reported having increased their intake, up from 13% in 2015.
Despite the hesitation about “bad” fats, some recent studies have found it may be better for consumers to embrace rather than avoid saturated fats, particularly in meat and full-fat dairy, which has also seen a resurgence. Increasingly, food manufacturers are showing a tendency to add ingredients like lard and tallow to their recipes to offer in-demand health benefits. Bloomberg reported in 2017 that butter consumption is skyrocketing as consumers look to it as a better substitute to margarine and transfats.
As for FATBAR, it also is mostly made up of cashew butter, which has unsaturated fats. The product also contains cocoa butter, which uses saturated fats. It remains to be seen whether consumers see the product as a truly healthy alternative in a crowded convenience bar market.
Then there’s the question of why Dang is marketing this product in the first place, aside from Kitirattragarn’s interest in the keto diet. Dang markets itself as a upstart company best known for challenging the traditional food industry by creating coconut, onion and sticky-rice chips.
The company highlights the fact it uses minimal ingredients, which are non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, dairy-free and cholesterol-free, and most are vegan and full of fiber. So the FATBAR seems to be the odd man out in the company’s food focus, and one has to wonder the reason for moving into this category.
The company says the FATBAR is an easy choice for breakfast or to satisfy a dessert craving. Still, with no history or previous interest in producing bars, it will be interesting to see how far Dang can take this new venture in a bar space dominated by Kind, RXBAR, Clif, among others.