Clif Bar found a toehold in a niche market and has climbed steadily up ever since. The company is a leading maker of natural energy, nutrition, and snack bars. Its high-carbohydrate CLIF- and LUNA-branded bars are aimed at sports enthusiasts and busy folk of all stripes and are distributed in bike shops, outdoor stores, and natural food markets, as well as grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail outlets nationwide. In addition to its CLIF and LUNA bars, the company offers various iterations of its product, including MOJO and Builder's bars, along with children's versions called ZBar and Twisted Fruit. The company also sells CLIF Shots -- energy drinks and gels fortified with electrolytes.
As part of the company's effort to chase after the competitive $2 billion nutrition bar market, Clif Bar has been working to maintain the double-digit compounded annual growth it has enjoyed for the past decade. To this end, the food maker has introduced products for wee customers as a way to diversify and serve a niche market others don't. Product launches have included Zbar nutrition bars, an item that is formulated for children's nutritional needs.
Bucking the consolidation trend sweeping the natural foods industry, Clif Bar remains stubbornly independent. (It claims to have turned down an offer to buy the company from Quaker Oats in 2000.) Rival bar makers PowerBar and Balance Bar were sold to Nestlé andKraft Foods, respectively. Clif Bar is owned by co-CEOs Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, his wife. Crawford focuses on human resources and the company's nonprofit foundation while Erickson concentrates on Clif Bar's supply chain. The business is named after Gary's late father and fellow outdoorsman, Clifford, who died in 2009 at the age of 83. In 1990 Erickson, together with his mom, set out to create a better tasting energy bar. Two years later, the CLIF bar came into existence. – less