November 16, 2017
This Bar Saves Lives. That’s a pretty bold name for a granola bar.
But it probably doesn’t mean what you think. While This Bar Saves Lives products are non-GMO and loaded with good-for-you ingredients (like 14 essential vitamins and minerals), it’s not only your life that benefits every time you eat them. More importantly, the purchase of every bar helps to save the life of a malnourished child.
Here’s how it works: When you buy any bar (try the kid-friendly Wild Berries or Chocolate Chip flavors), a life-saving nutrient-rich meal packet called Plumpy’Nut is sent to a child who needs it most, in places like Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Plumpy’Nut is a nutrient-fortified peanut butter that’s shelf stable and requires zero cooking or preparation. According to UNICEF, three packets a day for seven weeks can take a child from near-death to certain survival.
The idea came from co-founder Ryan Devlin and three other friends: actors Kristen Bell, Todd Grinnell, and Ravi Patel. They were inspired to found the This Bar Saves Lives after learning about Plumpy’Nut firsthand on a trip to Africa. For the idea to take off and really make an impact, the group realized they had to make their granola bars taste really good.
“We didn’t know anything about making a healthy product except that it had to taste awesome,” admits Devlin. So, they hired food scientists, private chefs, and nutritionists to help develop a healthy and incredibly tasty granola bar. The resulting line of products boasts flavorful, nutritious ingredients like Madagascar vanilla, rich honey, dark chocolate, and non-GMO nuts and berries. They’re all gluten-free, too!
“By giving people a delicious granola bar with non-GMO healthful ingredients, we’re helping our customers do good by their bodies,” says Devlin. “In turn, they’re helping us save thousands of lives across the world.”
We caught up with Devlin to chat about the company’s progress so far, the challenges of running a business with a social mission, and to find out if he has a favorite bar (hint: he does).
The inspiration for This Bar Saves Lives: “We took a trip to Liberia and saw how Plumpy’Nut absolutely lifted kids from the depths of malnutrition. We thought there had to be a sustainable way to keep getting these kids the food aid they needed. Instead of making a bag or a necklace that you might wear once, it was important to us that our product became part of our customers’ everyday lives. That way, you’re reminded daily of your impact.”
The hardest thing about his job: “There are plenty of challenges, but in running a social impact business like ours, it’s really like we’re running two businesses: Building a great product, and focusing on our social mission. That can get tricky sometimes—but at the end of the day it’s so worth it.”
The amount of Plumpy’Nut donations: “We give a few different types of aid in addition to Plumpy’Nut. To date, we’ve donated approximately 3.5 million nutrient packets, helping save the lives of over 20,000 children, which is just so inspiring.”
The coolest ingredient: “That’s gotta be the bee-friendly almonds that we make our bars with. The bee population is facing some serious problems, so we support bee colonies by sourcing almonds that are grown alongside other crops, which creates a far healthier environment for bees.”
The best way to learn: “This company was started by a bunch of actors—we didn’t know anything! I ask a million questions a day and learn as much as possible from our incredible team of experts. Asking questions opens up important conversations.”
His favorite healthy snack: “My wife taught me this trick: Eat the Madagascar Vanilla Almond and Honey bar with a square of really rich dark chocolate on top. It’s unbelievable.”
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