RUSH Bars – Snacks for a Healthy Future
The RUSH range of health bars are made with wholesome, natural ingredients, free from toxins – such as chia seeds, rooibos, baobab, hemp protein powder, quinoa and spirulina, and support local suppliers and farmers.
RUSH Bars – Fuelling A Healthy Future
The RUSH range of health bars are made with wholesome, natural ingredients, free from toxins – such as chia seeds, rooibos, baobab, hemp protein powder, quinoa and spirulina, and support local suppliers and farmers. It is now available at selected Pick ‘n Pay stores.
As a busy working mother, Lara Maré van Niekerk knows all too well the allure of convenience foods that are quick and easy to eat on the go. But the knowledge that so many of these snack options are packed with sugar and other preservatives makes them a no-no in Lara’s book when it comes to feeding growing minds and bodies. Nor are they a smart option for athletes needing a boost, or for office workers grabbing something on the run.
Desperate for a healthy alternative three years ago, Lara partnered with a former school friend turned chef and avid sportsman, Gavin Memper, to develop the RUSH range of health bars made with wholesome ingredients, free from toxins, and used as close to their natural state as possible. For Gavin it was a perfect fit with his interest in sports and performance nutrition.
The duo began to plan a product that would also support South African suppliers and farmers. Over the course of a year of experimentation with raw and natural ingredients such as chia seeds, rooibos, baobab, hemp protein powder, quinoa and spirulina, they came up with a range that offers delicious healthy options for a range of consumers – athletes, people too busy to eat, pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children who need natural energy for their lively minds and bodies.
But as great as the product was turning out to be, Lara recognised that gaining traction in the retail market was going to be tough. In fact, it was the biggest challenge for the business.
“The gatekeepers for us have very much been retailers,” she says. “You underestimate what a great responsibility they have in driving both the economic growth of this country (by supporting local small business) and the health outcomes of its population (by guarding what is placed on the shelf and ultimately on our dinner tables).”
When Lara entered Pick n Pay’s Boost your Biz competition in March 2016, she says, she realised that the retail giant was committed to supporting small businesses using wholesome products.
But her dedication to creating a product that would appeal to the health and environment conscious consumer was not guaranteed to ensure her success. RUSH was up against more than 540 businesses that hoped to go home with a win. As it turned out, RUSH bars took a top award when the 24 winners were announced in June, recognised for the most ‘Innovative Idea’ for their unique first to market solutions.
The competition provides a huge opportunity to businesses looking for retail opportunities. Each will have direct access to Pick n Pay’s shelves, with preferential trading and payment terms, as well as packaging development and design, guidance and on-going expert advice in all aspects of business such as financial planning, strategy, mentorship and distribution.
The finalists took part in a six-week intensive training programme, that included expert advice on financial planning, strategy, mentorship and other important aspects of supplying Pick n Pay and the retail sector in general.
Says Pick n Pay’s Suzanne Ackerman-Berman: With unemployment rate being higher than ever, I urge big business and individuals with skills to share, to take the challenge and invest time and transfer of skills and knowledge into small entrepreneurs.”
Lara was impressed by Pick n Pay’s commitment to the development of small business. “There was phenomenal support from Pick n Pay’s top leadership throughout (the competition),” says Lara. “I was also inspired by the number of women taking part in the competition.” More than half the finalists were women.
Lara says the group of winners has formed a close bond and remain in regular contact since the competition, offering each other advice, support and encouragement.
Her advice to businesses starting out is: “Do not create for the masses. Create for just one person. Make something amazing for just one person. Make it so special that they can’t help but tell just one other person. The rest will take care of itself”.
She also cautions that balance is important. “Don’t be too busy making a living that you forget about actually living.” There will be the late-night emails, the struggle for compliance and the frustration associated with the red tape of starting a business, she adds.
“You really have to be passionate about what you are doing.”
She emphasises that in South Africa’s climate of high unemployment, more people need to be encouraged to live their dreams. “We need to encourage dreamers and build confidence in the fact that failure is okay and forms part of the journey. There is no such thing as an overnight success. But when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone; that is when the true magic happens.”
Products are available from selected Pick n Pay stores. For more information, click here ….
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