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“From day 1, our goal is to be the Ferrari—we want to be the best product on the market,” Bonk Breaker co-owner Chris Frank says. With that in mind, Bonk Breaker has focused on using whole-food ingredients in its energy and protein bars, and making sure they taste like food, not like some of the highly processed energy bar out there.
Co-owner Jason Winn baked up the first iteration of Bonk Breaker bar in his kitchen with his mom 7.5 years ago, after racing his first triathlon. The former NCAA Division I football quarterback was looking to fuel his training and racing with a great-tasting bar, something he found difficult to find. Chris Frank, a Cat. 1 road cyclist and investment banker teamed up with Winn, and the two officially started the company four years ago. Since then, it’s grown to include nine energy bar flavors (with a 10th coming soon) and four protein bar flavors, including the recently released Cookies & Cream. It’s also now the official bar of Ironman (it’s served on Ironman courses), of USA Cycling, of the NFL and of the NCAA Division I.
So what has made Bonk Breaker bars see so much success in such a short time? Frank first credits the quality of the bars’ ingredients—the fresh-baked bars are made with all-natural, gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients. Made with just 10-12 real ingredients, such as brown rice syrup, cashews, gluten-free oats, honey, flaxseed and sea salt, Bonk Breaker bars are definitely qualitatively different than other bars, and Frank is extremely confident in the taste of his bars: “If we can get people to take a bite, they’ll be customers,” he says.
New flavor ideas, such as the recently released Cookies & Cream, come from Team Bonk Breaker, the company’s network of professional and amateur athletes (among whom are 70.3 champ Angela Naeth and two-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae). From there it’s a lot of science, working off of ingredient and flavor profiles to make a bar with real-food ingredients that tastes great.
As far as the future of the company, Frank says the protein bars have been the company’s fastest growing sector and they’ll continue to add new flavors to the lineup. The protein bars are different from others because they use a brown rice protein isolate, which is non-allergenic, easy-to-metabolize source of protein that has a very neutral flavor profile. Bonk Breaker plans to cap out the energy bars at 10 flavors, plus possibly some seasonal flavors. They’re also toying with the idea of trying out new products, like gels or chews. “We’re keeping an eye on other products,” Frank says, “but we don’t want to lose focus on what we do well.” Since they want to be the Ferrari of each category they enter, they want to make sure there’s a way to make the products they want with great-tasting and high-quality ingredients.