The Sexy in Powerbars

Restore

Blog Post #5

Yesenia Gomez

Economic side of Consumption- Powerbars

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The Sexy in Powerbars

The Restore can be described as PLNU’s very own mini-market. Students are constantly in and out of this venue. I was able to talk with Irene Alvarado, Manager of the Restore, about the best-selling products. The Powerbar was one of the top 2 selling products in the Restore. Most people would agree that the energy bars are quite expensive but the satisfaction one receives from eating a filling, healthy bar is better than a bag of chips. The benefits of the taste and nutritional gains have obviously outweighed the financial costs. As a school, we have proved it by making energy bars one of our top 2 selling products.

Since 2004, energy bars have made steady gains even with the relatively high prices on the energy bars. In 2011, Food Management wrote an article titled Food Bars Growing Fast; Packaged Facts reported that the retail market was $5.7 million dollars in cereal and energy bars.

Energy bars, such as Powerbar, have expanded their markets from the sports nutritional market to recreational and life-style users. A 2010 Market analysis report from the International Market Bureau says that niche markets in sports nutrition are selling products in grocery stores and market outlets; they are no longer just seen at nutritional or sports stores. Sport nutrition markets are using new ingredients in new products to incorporate different target markets. The general American population has athletes, recreational users, and life-style users. The consumption of each of the groups has a different intention and purpose of purchase. Just like the general population, PLNU is a small sub-scale of the energy bar consumption; there are students, faculty, and staff that engage in different sub-categories of exercise.

According to the International Market Bureau, there are 3 specific trends seen in the consumption of energy bars. First, Powerbars have included innovative ingredients such as protein and nutritional boosts like energy; this attracts the athletic population. Second, appearance and fitness concerns have become more openly common. Third, the accessibility of these bars has grown; they are in mini-markets like the Restore and supermarkets like Walmart. The last two trends attract the general population.

The United States has become the biggest consumer for sports-related products. In the global market, it is estimated to consume two-thirds of both the value of retail transactions and volume sales. Consumer behavior has pushed sports nutrition markets to make a variety of energy bars with new specific flavors and purposes. This is why Powerbar has a total of 37 bars in 8 specific categories. Taste is a significant factor and ingredients like cocoa and whey or soy protein can manipulate whether consumers will continue to purchase bars.

Nestle, owner of Powerbar, has easily outstripped cocoa supply from plantations in the Ivory Coast. Corporations like Nestle know the value of cocoa; they know it can be transformed into a great tasting bar with high demand. The problem is cocoa farmers are not receiving a fair share of the end product being sold. Percival’s article, From bean to bar: Why chocolate will never taste the same again, discusses the problem with local community farmers being at the bottom of a multi-layered supply chain. The cocoa-nomics do not allow these farmers to economically benefit from what has become an increasingly demanded market in the United States.

This means that either Powerbar comes up with a new supplement to replace cocoa or they change the way their supply chain is currently operating. If they choose to keep cocoa, they need to be paying farmers a fair amount of the profits gained. This also means better working conditions and the stop to child labor. If they do not choose to keep cocoa, they will lose a large number of consumers, and it would not be the same product anymore.

We know that energy bars have become increasingly popular and trendy. Is it more important to the consumer to buy trendy food items? Are consumers that shallow? Is it our duty to investigate where the ingredients of a Powerbar come from? Are corporations like Nestle using our own consumer behavior for their own economic benefit?

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The Sexy in Powerbars

How much Power do you give the Powerbar?

Restore

Blog Post #6

Yesenia Gomez

Social side of Consumption- Powerbars

How much Power do you give the Powerbar?

Powerbars are associated with athletes and in many cases people will even substitute an energy bar as a “healthy” meal option. Powerbars attract a large target market especially with all the specific types of bars it offers. To narrow it down, college-students and professors are among some of the biggest consumers of energy bars. They live fast-paced lives and are always on the go! When left with little time to eat, it can be easy to get a filling Powerbar. These small, packaged energy bars are easy to stuff in a backpack or purse. They are highly marketable and trendy especially when associated with personal health and exercise.

How much power do you have as a consumer over the purchase of a Powerbar? There are pitfalls and benefits to consumption in the social aspect. The consumer can end up being all about the product to the point of one of Karl Marx’s terms “commodity fetishism”. This will not necessarily happen with a Powerbar, but it can become a necessity. Consumption can separate the relationship between the consumer and laborer, or it could also create bondage.

Powerbars contain cocoa along with many other ingredients. The CNN Freedom Project highlights in their article From bean to bar: Why chocolate will never taste the same again how laborers in the village of Kouadio-Yaokro are a perfect example of the separation of laborer and consumer. Many Kouadio-Yaokro villagers do not know the cocoa they pick will be made into a Powerbar; many consumers do not know of the hands that picked the cocoa pods.

There are a variety of cases showing the separation of consumer and laborer; for instance, Nestle the owner of Powerbar has for many years dismissed the child labor in cocoa plantations. Also, many villagers picking the cocoa themselves have never tasted a piece of chocolate from Nestle products. A village elder was surprised by the sweetness of the bar in this video.Image

On the other hand, there could be bondage in consumption. Nestle has chosen to listen to the Fair Labor Association by turning the tables and eradicating child labor for the long-term. Nestle has claimed that they will work with The World Cocoa Foundation and the International Cocoa Initiative to raise awareness about the importance of education and government polices in rural communities.

You could give power to the Powerbar to change its supplier code and stick to its responsible sourcing guidelines, or you could give it power to keep harming rural communities.

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Marketing Mate: Buzz and Appeal for the Mate Product

Restore

Blog Post #9

Jonathan Esparza

Economic side of Distribution- Guayaki

Guayakí Yerba Mate is a one of a kind product that has rapidly growing its market share abroad since it first began selling mate internationally. The company captures the demand of the North American audience by marketing its product through targeting the US market utilizing New Age names for its products (such as Pure Mind, and Empowering Mint) targeting its broad base of caffeine lovers and health conscious consumers. Guayakí is also a proud member of the Fair Trade Organization, and markets its mission of drawing consumers with its logo, as well as with its B Corporation Certification that shows its commitment to work directly with growers in creating “economic models that drive rainforest restoration and paying a living wage.”

One amazing aspect of Guayakí is that it embraces being a one of its kind of company with a growth model that pursues the triple bottom line. Guayakí chooses to establish itself as a global brand that is profitable, sustainable, and empowering to its employees through implementing its Market Driven Restoration Model. This model not only focuses on empowering the local community, but also, through replanting its forests and allowing the soil of deforested areas to heal and become arable again. By expanding the forests, not only do they help restore the environment that has been degraded and uncared for, but also allows for the development of future growth in growing more mate for their products. The more forest that is preserved and restored in the region, the more mate can be grown and collected by local communities, thus Guayakí works aligns itself with the community’s best interests for the land by maximizing profits through sustainably caring for their environment.

Guayakí has already made headway into reaching their goal in the economic empowerment of the region. As stated on its website, their goal is to restore “200,000 acres of South American rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020”. As of 2013, they have achieved restoring 40,000 acres of rainforest to the region, and have added over 150 new jobs. As the company matures, Guayakí has the potential to both serve mate to the whole world and improve the welfare of local indigenous communities at the same time.

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The Hopeful Cynic

By Maggie Jacobs

The word “cynic” has such a negative connotation. People in society who are “cynical” tend to be viewed as negative and not-trusting, but are actively searching for ways to negatively view the world. However, it need not be the case. Why can’t someone be hopeful that a company is great, but still cynical enough to not blindly accept everything these major corporations are saying. This is the experiment we conducted.

Applegate Farms is one of the meat providers for Point Loma Nazarene University. On their website they include pertinent information such as what products they sell, where they source their meat from. Applegate Farms buy their chicken for the Natural Chicken Nuggets served in the school caf from three different states, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Now, while this is not exactly a local source for those of us living in sunny San Diego, so far this seems pretty great. Applegate Farms even claims to have great personal relationships with these organic farmers, and have created and posted videos online that put a face to the farmers raising the chickens.

Acting as a “hopeful cynic,” we could not just accept their claims. So, we went digging. We looked into journal articles for studies that had been done on Applegate Farms, and any scandals that may have come up in the news, to the point where it felt like we were searching in vain to try to find dirt on this company. Until, we found one article titiled, “Deceptions in the Food Industry: Applegate Organic & ‘Natural Meats.’”

Raine Saunders, the author of this article, warns consumers to be cautious when purchasing meat products and to be skeptical of the claims of natural farmers and to not let mainstream food producers fool them with slick marketing and label claims. Saunders used Applegate Farms as a key culprit because they claim to be a more natural choice, but when the ingredients are looked at closer, it becomes plain that their food is just as processed and unnatural as many other products on the market. This is the one article found that gives a negative view of Applegate Farms and places serious allegations against the company and their reputation.

 

 

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