Nutrition Marketing with a Wilde Idea

What the rise, fall, and rise again of Wilde Brands says about innovation and perseverance.

With an all-star team of food industry veterans, a seemingly innovative product idea, and millions in funding — Wilde Brands was too big to fail. At the core of this Boulder-based brand was the idea to create a meat-based bar, less like jerky, and more like a traditional nutrition bar. In 2015, the prettily packaged Wilde Bars hit the shelves of Whole Foods.

The brand took inspiration (and their name) from Oscar Wilde who once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”​ It turns out that the eponymous writer’s words would foreshadow what was to come for the bright-eyed brand. As founder Jason Wright said, “By the time we showed up to the market, it was saturated.”

The bars were discontinued, but Wilde didn’t give up. A new idea and some tinkering time later and Wilde is back with a brand-new product at the center. Here are a few ways Wilde finally found its rightful place on the shelf:

Innovating in the Right Aisle: Everyone’s always trying to improve the nutrition bar, few people are trying to improve the chip. Walk through the snack aisle and you’ll see the usual suspects of concave Pringles and wavy Sun Chips — but Wright had an idea that would change up more than a chip’s shape.

He changed what a chip is made of. Screw meat-based bars, how about a meat-based chip? And Chicken Chips were born. Now here comes the tricky part…

Flavor: Skeptics might think a meat + chip combo to be strange at first, but remember, that’s how we got nachos! We’ve been slicing and frying up chicken in every combination since man discovered fire (basically).

Wright combined his all-natural chicken with tapioca flour and crisped it to perfection, debuting flavors such as Jalapeno, Buffalo, Salt + Vinegar, and Barbecue (which I am munching on as I type). Yum. It’s the crispiness of fried chicken with the smoky taste of BBQ.

The irregular shaped chips may not be much to look at, but it was Wilde’s Dorian who realized that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Speaking of which…

Sticking to core beliefs (and ingredients):

Looking back again at the bars — the main ingredients were hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, including grass-fed beef, pasture-raised bison, and free-range turkey.

Studying the bright bag on my desk it seems like their love for sustainable ingredients and all-natural meat has continued. The folks at the Wilde Brand might not be vegetarians, but at least their chickens are. The company is even certified to Global Animal Partnership Standards. Now that’s how you win over the Whole Foodies.

It’s a jungle out there in the grocery aisle, but with perseverance and loyalty to your core beliefs — you might just end up at the top of the food chain.

And if you’re still not sure what to do, let’s chat.

Be digestible. And thanks.

Email me at eric@thedigestiblebrand.com if you’d like a copy of my guide that outlines the steps brand new and established brands can use (or not use) to succeed while others just keep right on slugging it out with the guy next to them on the shelf.

Eric Kiker: Speaker

Author of The Digestible Brand: The Secret Sauce for Marketing Nutrition to the Confused Consumer

Agency Principal/LRXD

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