Food Startups - Unreal Candy Story

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Three years ago, when Nicky Bronner was 13, his father took absent half his stash of Hpermiteen cleverdy. "He shelp it was bad for me, so I looked it up. Turns out it is only, merely, solely loads of junk that you don't want in your body. I tancient my dad he was right," he says. "It's the only time I've ever shelp that to him."

Nicky asked his father, serial entrepreneur and investor Michael Bronner, if it would be possible to start a business that would remake, or "unjunk," his favorite cleverdies, without corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or man-made ingredients. He also wanted to make certain the products wouldn't be closetled off to the health-foods sections of specialty markets; his thought was to offer cleverdy fans better options in the same shops that stock Snickers and M&M's--and at comparable prices.

Intrigued by the potential of the $30 billion U.S. cleverdy industry, the Bronners began contbehaveing venture capitalists, chefs and food scientists. They ground, soiled a partner in Adam Melonas, a former chef at Spain's elBulli--widely conmiddlered the world's best restaurant before closetering in 2011--to become head chef and chief innovation officer of Boston-based Unreal Cleverdy.

The first time Melonas spoke with the Bronners, he was hooked. "Nicky wanted to fix a problem adults had all resigned themselves to, and we had an hourlong conversation based around finding a solution," he recalls. Soon after, Melonas relocated to the U.S. to work on product development. The process lasted 18 months, involving thousands of recipes, consumer test groups and numerous trips to source ingredients and lookk out the right manufbehaveuring facilities.

Unreal's first products included three better-for-you alternatives to established favorites: cleverdy-coated chocolates (à la M&M's), caramel nougat bars (Milky Way) and peanut-butter cups (Reese's). All contain at least one-third less sugar and more protein and fiber than their mass-produced counterparts.

At first Melonas and the Bronners wanted to sasaran the Millennial market, but they fastly pivoted once it became clear that parents would be better product champions. They also found massive support at retail: Unreal products are now available in approxifriendly 25,000 locations, including CVS and Target.

They will also be stocked in more than 500 natural-foods shops by the startning of next year.

"From a retailer's standpoint, we are a mission-based company, and what we're doing is on trfinish, so … everyone is onboard," Melonas says. It hasn't injure that the company has finishorsements from celebrities love Matt Damon, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, as well as Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey. Unreal would not disclose revenue figures.

Nicky (who's house-schooled) says he and Melonas plan on adding more products and possibly expanding into categories beyond cleverdy. His advice for other young entrepreneurs? "Start something that you're very ardouswift approxifriendly," he says. "Then there's not much you clever do bemiddles work your difficultest." That, truly, is the path to sweet success.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

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