Learn More About the Protein Bars You've Been Waiting For!
Have you tried one of the latest products to drop into Handled With Care?
KINWA Bars are plant-based protein bars that are allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and don't contain any nonsense like artificial sugars, flavors, or colours. They come in five delightful flavors, so there's something for everyone! Learn more about the mission and passion behind this brand, in my interview with co-founder Daron Rosenbusch.
1. Tell us about KINWA and how the bars came to be
We obviously get asked this a lot. It really isn't a spectacular story. Short answer - we've always been interested in nutrition and we love snacking! We wanted to create a truly healthy snack that could be enjoyed by everyone (well almost everyone), that tasted better than most others in the category and was nutritionally well balanced in terms of it's protein, sugar, fiber and calories content.
After evaluating the available options in the market, we came to the realization that so many of the healthy snacks out there are marketed as healthy, yet are not. The CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.) do a pretty good job mandating disclosure requirements for packaging content like nutritional tables, ingredient lists, key callouts etc. however marketing or positioning statements are often overlooked. As a result we've ended up with so many products in the market claiming to be healthy choices but that are misleading consumers. The term "healthy" is very subjective, so we tell people to ask their trusted health professional for an opinion on our KINWA BARS versus their current favorite bar if they need reassurance.
We simply wanted to create productS (that is plural - more yummy product lines to come soon) that were actually healthy! After 18 months of development with input from dieticians, nutritionists, naturopaths and physicians we carefully honed our ingredient selection to ensure that the resulting health claims we are now confident making of our KINWA BARS are authentic. We want help fill what is currently a gap in the market.
"KINWA" is the phonetic sounding of Quinoa, our main ingredient and protein source. We thought it would make a fun name for our first product line.
2. Why is producing allergy-friendly products important to you?
During the development stage we talked to a LOT of people and influencers to get their input on what constituted a great nutritional bar. We were intrigued by how many people suggested it be gluten free. One of the paediatric dieticians we consulted suggested it be nut and tree-nut free - my eldest daughter has a close friend with a severe nut allergy so that rang close to home. With the incredible prevalence of various food related allergies today, we didn't think it made sense to make a bar that excluded so many people.
3. What measures do you take to ensure your facility and ingredients are allergy safe?
KINWA BARS are made in a certified nut-free facility. Which means everything coming into the facility has to have the required nut-free and source trace documentation. Additionally, the facility adheres to very stringent standard operating procedures under the highest international quality and safety standards (SQF Level 2). These procedures extend to each and every process to ensure that we're not just going through the paces, but instead are diligently performing tasks, measuring, testing and documenting any and all necessary data.
That being said, although it is a certified 100% nut-free facility, like most other production facilities we do process other allergens from time to time in the facility such as soy, milk, egg, sesame and sulphites.
In order to ensure that our KINWA BARS are 100% free from these above allergens (100% of the time) we have a number of stringent equipment washing and sanitization, protein swabbing and product testing protocols in place to ensure compliance with our allergen friendly claims.
4. What's your favorite flavor?
That's a tough one! Really - all the flavours are really great, but we realized early on in our taste testing that (surprise!) not everybody likes the same flavour! That's why we launched with five uniquely different flavours. I originally gravitated toward the Dark Chocolate Orange, a favourite amongst adults, but I've really been enjoying the refreshing lemon flavour over the last few hot weather weeks we've been experiencing. I'm on the road a lot, so I always keep a few KIINWA BARS in my glove box for when I'm running on empty between meals.
5. Why are KINWA bars the perfect healthy snack for people with or without allergies?
Going back to our effort to balance the nutritionals - the intent from the outset was to make a snack that kids, busy parents, desk jockeys and athletes could all enjoy without having too much protein in it or not enough taste. Despite our efforts to get the content right, we knew that if we didn't properly check the "taste box" people wouldn't really get behind the product. Ensuring that we eliminated the Top 11 Priority Allergens made sense to us from an inclusion perspective and has certainly helped to broaden the appeal of the product. KINWA BARS are also plant based and vegan which is very much on trend with living a healthy lifestyle and being more aware of what you're putting into your body.