Having a blast

Since exploding onto the scene in 2009, Grenade® has shaken the very foundations of the sports nutrition market with its bold, colourful approach to business and its refusal to compromise on ingredients, quality or attention to detail

The brainchild of CEO and Founder Alan Barratt and his wife Juliet, the origins of Grenade® stem from Alan’s past dissatisfaction with the quality of sports nutrition goods and the pair’s desire to create products – and subsequently a brand – that people would remember, love, and that would inspire them to get more out of life. Beginning with its first product – the aptly named Thermo Detonator® weight-loss formula capsule – the company today boasts a range of instantly recognisable Carb Killa® protein bars (made up of 12 varieties including Caramel Chaos, Peanut Nutter, Cookies & Cream and Birthday Cake), shakes, spreads and biscuits, Reload® high protein flapjacks, and a comprehensive assortment of sports and gym supplements.

“Broadly speaking, by splitting the business in two, you have our sports nutrition side, which is derived from our performance heritage and is typically sold through specialist locations to specific consumer segments such as the military and to elite athletes, and our active nutrition/healthy snacking side made up of bars, shakes and so forth,” Alan explains. “It is in the latter that we are delivering the biggest numbers, recording a share of the confectionary market that now exceeds 40 per cent, and have the top nine best-selling products in grocery according to market research from IRI. I do believe, however, that this has been made possible as a result of our work in performance products, which has helped solidify our reputation for quality.”

Alan, Juliet and the rest of the Grenade® team are self-confessed fanatics when it comes to making the best product and using the best ingredients. “We have a well-defined line in the sand when it comes to what is acceptable to us in terms of the products that bear the Grenade® name and we will never cross that,” Alan adds. “While we try not to take ourselves too seriously, we do have a clear mission which is to provide consumers with great tasting, healthy and innovative performance products, and when we create something if we don’t love it, we don’t take it any further. That is the passion we have for what we do, and is the way, in my opinion, that we continue to successful build this brand up.”

In less than a decade, Alan has seen “his baby” – as he affectionately calls his business at one point during our conversation – grow exponentially. It is perhaps inevitable, therefore, that what drives both himself and the company has evolved over the years. “What I would say, firstly, is that one thing we have always strived for is to build a brand that consumers would love and that could be considered to be something akin to the ‘Red Bull of sports nutrition’, but the journey to that point has taken a number of different turns along the way,” he states. “For instance, when we started Grenade® I couldn’t necessarily see us having a protein bar, so if someone was to have told me then that I would be sitting here today and that my sales book for bars would be comparable to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, I would have found it hard to believe, yet here we are!”

Growth potential
So, what is it that motivates Alan in 2019? “I guess one motivation I have now – besides from continuing to build a legacy – is to see how big we can make Grenade®, and if you ask me if we can make this a billion-dollar brand then I believe the answer is yes we can. There are many ways that this can be achieved, beginning of course with making great products, forging strong relationships with suppliers, retailers, investors and so forth, and by placing healthy products in as many locations as possible, even those you wouldn’t normally expect, such as Costa Coffee. From there we need to target further expansion internationally – where we have seen a number of big retail wins in recent times – to continue to hire brilliant people that love what they do, and retain our reputation for having the kinds of amazing, experiential content that no other brand thinks of doing.”

Such is the ongoing growth potential of the business that Alan estimates that just by putting its four best-selling protein bars in all locations possible it has the ability to double to size rapidly. As stated above, however, there is much more to Grenade® than just its bars, and the company is constantly looking at breaking into different formats that tick the boxes of its consumers. “In much the same way that we have successfully disrupted the confectionary segment with a functional product, we have designs to do the same later in 2019 in another category with an exciting new product launch in the offering,” Alan reveals.

“When it comes to 2020,” Alan adds, “we have three further new product launches planned, however much of our focus will be on taking our marketing and consumer engagement activities to a whole new level. For example, we have recently purchased a Grenade® hot air balloon – in the shape of our grenade logo – and we will be flying this around the UK, Europe and further afield from the start of the year, appearing at various events and races, which we expect to help to create more awareness of the brand, and ultimately drive sales. Our primary aim is to engage with as many consumers as possible, in the hope that they will fall in love with Grenade® the way that so many others have done. Therefore, 2020 will be our biggest year by far in terms of content and marketing, and we intend to raise the bar when it comes to getting the Grenade® name out there.”