Cognition and Ambition with Will Nitze of IQ Bar | re:COGs Podcast Episode #28

IQ Bar: Fueling Success in the World of Brain and Body Boosting CPGs

Join re:COGs Host Mike Gelb for a deep discussion with Will Nitze, the Founder & CEO of IQ Bar, who shares his remarkable story of trials and triumphs in building IQ Bar, a functional food brand with products designed to support sustained cognitive energy, performance, and health.

In this episode of the re:COGs podcast, host Mike Gelb interviews Will Nitze, the Founder & CEO of IQ Bar, a company redefining the world of functional food and beverage CPGs. Nitze takes us through the fascinating journey of creating IQ Bar, emphasizing the importance of developing a product that can be manufactured at scale. Working closely with manufacturers, IQ Bar iterated prototypes that were delicious and capable of being produced efficiently. The secret, as Nitze reveals, lies in achieving the perfect balance between wet and dry ingredients to create a bar that stands out.

Manufacturing Functional Foods: From Cognition to Ignition

IQ Bar’s journey is one of tenacity and innovation, and it all begins with the quest to develop the perfect recipes and find a manufacturer willing to take a leap of faith. Nitze, who had no prior experience in the CPG industry, candidly shares the trials and triumphs of convincing a manufacturer to partner with IQ Bar. Nitze had to make sure that his product was manufacturable and viable on a larger scale and explains how he and a co-packer iterated on the product until it was commercially viable. Nitze also talks about the cost breakdown of the products, factoring in logistics and shipping costs and creating enough demand to have leverage with the co-packer to whittle away at material and labor costs.

Navigating Turnkey vs. Owning Supply Chain

In the conversation, Nitze explains the strategic decisions faced by IQ Bar – whether to opt for a turnkey model or own the supply chain entirely. He provides a glimpse into the complexities of sourcing inputs, negotiating with suppliers, and the intricacies of managing freight. Nitze also talks about his transition to full ownership and the valuable lessons that came with it.

Cracking the Retail Code: Pricing, Packaging, and Presence

IQ Bar’s foray into the mainstream market is nothing short of inspirational. Nitze delves into the critical elements of pricing, packaging, and identifying trends that enable their products to shine in the competitive landscape. Hitting the perfect price point becomes a key to success, especially when dealing with industry giants like Walmart and Costco.

Pricing Strategies: The Art of Finding the Sweet Spot

The IQ Bar story reveals the complexities of pricing strategies across various distribution channels. Nitze explores the dynamics of trial versus repeat purchases and the importance of creating low-barrier-to-entry offerings. Managing pricing intricacies between online and brick-and-mortar sales becomes a crucial factor. Avoiding pitfalls in omni-channel pricing is imperative for long-term success.

Sustaining Demand: The Operational Challenges of a Food and Beverage Pioneer

The conversation continues by delving into the operational challenges that IQ Bar encountered along their journey. Topics such as inventory management for food and beverage, the critical role of cash flow, and the art of proactive problem-solving during challenging moments are all explored in depth.

Tune in for an enlightening glimpse into how this functional foodie founder built a groundbreaking brand from the ground up. Will Nitze’s insights offer a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone navigating the dynamic world of brain and body-boosting CPGs.

Listen In:

Will candidly shares his inspirational journey of developing nutritious and delicious products and an effective business model poised for growth as he and Mike Gelb discuss:  

  • Creating a CPG food and beverage company involves finding a manufacturer, designing a viable product, and achieving competitive pricing
  • Bars are complex products requiring specific food science for mixing wet and dry ingredients
  • Iterating with manufacturers is key to creating a product that can run on production lines
  • Pricing must be competitive for mainstream retailers like Walmart and Costco
  • Discussed the pros and cons of a turnkey model vs owning your supply chain
  • Sourcing inputs, negotiating suppliers, managing freight, transitioning to ownership
  • COVID disruptions showed the importance of controlling your supply chain
  • Pricing, packaging, and trends critical for mainstream market success
  • Examined pricing complexities and impact on trial/repeat purchases
  • Creating a low barrier to entry offerings is important
  • Managing online vs brick-and-mortar pricing intricacies
  • Avoiding omnichannel pricing missteps and risks
  • Challenges of demand planning and inventory management in food and beverage
  • Emphasized ensuring product freshness and adequate shelf life
  • Cash flow is critical for successfully operating a CPG food and beverage business

About IQ BAR: Built by a small team of functional foodies, IQ Bar’s products empower active lifestyles through superior body and mind nutrition. The company’s functional food and beverages are specially formulated to fuel the brains and bodies of fellow doers and people on the move.


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