Perfect Bar Gives San Diego ‘Perfect’ Nutrition
The San Diego company has cultivated massive success nationwide with their healthy bars.
Have you noticed the colorful protein bar dubbed as the “Perfect Bar” yet? Our guess is you probably have; they’re virtually everywhere. Whether you’re visiting the local grocery store, scrolling through food blogger’s Instagram feeds or reading about the latest health products, the Perfect Bar screams out “I’m healthy, Eat me!”
The healthy protein bars are derived from San Diego local, Dr. Bud Keith, who opened the city’s first gym and juice bar- The Healthouse. Always brainstorming new ways to supply his children with healthy meals, Keith combined ingredients to make what he believed to be ‘perfect,’ thus creating the Perfect Bar.
After Keith passed away in 2005, the eldest of his 13 children vowed to transform their father’s recipe into a business. “At the time, I had nine brothers and sisters under the age of 18, so my older siblings and I knew we had to come together to support our family,” Founder and CEO Bill Keith says of the bar’s origin.
The same year of his dad’s passing, Keith passionately worked to share the recipe with consumers and create a legacy on behalf of his father.
“When we decided to start the business in 2005, I went up to Northern California to the Berkeley Whole Foods, going in every day to beg the buyer to let me demo,” Keith recalls. “For a month, I slept in my car and showered at the local gym, until he finally gave me the green light. Once I got in, I couldn’t keep the bars stocked – they were literally flying off the shelf.”
The bars stood out with their quality and clean whole food ingredients such as dried fruits, vegetables, honey and nut butter. Each bar is free from chemicals, preservatives, gluten and soy. They also deliver up to 17g of protein per bar, are non-GMO Project Verified and Fair-Trade Certified.
The brand offers 12 original flavors including: Almond Coconut, Blueberry Cashew, Almond Acai, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt, Carob Chip, Fruit & Nut, Maple Almond, Cranberry Crunch, Dark Chocolate Almond, Coconut Peanut Butter and traditional Peanut and Almond butter flavors.
While eclectic flavors, a predominant ingredient in every perfect bar is nut butter, something Keith says hits on their “two main points:” Nutrition and taste. “Perfect Bar is like the more convenient and nutritious peanut butter sandwich most kids know and love,” Keith explains. “The taste is nostalgic, creamy and delicious, plus the added whole food protein and superfoods (fruit and veggies), make it a well-rounded snack for kids and adults alike.”
With each bar having over 20 superfood ingredients, the bars require refrigeration, but can stay fresh at room temperature for up to a week. “The concept of having a protein bar that requires refrigeration wasn’t so much a decision, as much as it was the way our Dad originally crafted the recipe. With nut butter as the base, whole food protein and superfoods mixed in, and honey as the only natural binder, refrigeration is required to maintain the bar’s consistency, texture and shape,” Keith explains.
While honoring his father’s refrigerated creation, Keith admits that it made it originally somewhat “difficult” to market.
“It was extremely challenging to be the first refrigerated protein bar in every retailer we approached, as we were initially placed in dairy sets and had to compete with the sales of everyday household items like yogurt, milk and eggs. When we started 12 years ago, we helped pioneer this idea of “fresh snacking” and had to prove that it was viable amongst consumers, as their demand for fresher options increased.”
While they opted to “forgo” the refrigeration requirement, they abided by their father’s original recipe. “If we would have had the choice (and wherewithal to know how difficult it would be to bring the first refrigerated protein to market), we probably would have opted to forgo the fridge. Looking back, though, I wouldn’t do it any other way,” Keith proudly says.
The family’s hard work has proven to be a success for Perfect Bar is currently sold in more than 12,000 fridges nationwide in stores including: Whole Foods, Target, Vons, Ralph’s, Trader Joes, Sprouts, Jimbo’s and 7-Eleven. Food bloggers can also be seen posting about the product on their feeds which has done nothing but create an “extended family” for the brand.
“Since we were kids, we invited everyone we knew to share meals with us – after all, there were 13 kids in the family, so what’s a few more to add to the dinner table?” Keith muses.
While there is a myriad of protein bars on the market, Keith believes their family foundation is something that gives them an edge over competitors.
“Our family dynamic today remains similar to that of our childhood; one that is built on respect and consideration, which is truly the foundation for our company,” Keith explains. Despite most siblings bonding over typical home issues such as school or work, Keith acknowledges that he and his sister Leigh (co-founder) continue to uphold their older sibling roles for their younger siblings.
“With 13 brothers and sisters, we’ve had to create checks and balances to ensure no one sibling has more than 50 percent of the company’s control, forcing us to work together to make decisions, particularly in the financial realm. It’s important that Leigh and I work together towards common goals and make decisions that are in the best interests of our family, as well as our company.”
While proud to offer nutritious snacking, Keith says that he hopes the bars reflect their underlying message that “family always comes first.”
“Of course, working with your family is also challenging at times,” Keith admits. “Dealing with issues that arise in the workplace and having to go to a birthday party or holiday dinner right after – those issues follow you into your personal life. We’ve certainly blurred the lines for work life and personal life, but I’m happy to say it’s worked out quite well for us.”
And with their success, the family stays loyal to their roots, manufacturing and maintaining their headquarters in San Diego. “San Diego is our home. We grew up in Mission Beach… this city is a hub for health. San Diegans are constantly active and focused on bettering their health. As a brand, it’s been the most welcoming and warm place to build our family business, and allowed us to really lay the groundwork to get to where we are today.”
Keith is also aware that the bar’s name can peg the question of what exactly makes the bar “perfect,” something Keith says is his “favorite question to answer.”
“The name ‘Perfect Bar’ goes back to our original story of this recipe being the “perfect” option for a Dad to feed his hungry kids a fresh, nutritious snack while on the road. Now, with two kids of my own, I can finally relate to how perfect this simple concept can really be. Feeling good about the food you’re feeding your family is one of the best feelings in the world. To be able to do that while also having that food taste delicious, be fresh from the fridge and perfect to take on the go (which we always are), I’ll echo my Dad and say, ‘That truly is perfect.”