We are athletes. Specifically, we are mountain bikers. Mountain biking is an endurance sport. When we are in the middle of the woods, we need convenient energy. We want natural energy. Easy nutrition has been a need since man was building the pyramids, but let’s only rewind to 2009. Back then the energy ‘gel’ of choice was peanut butter. Some guy decided real food fuel was a good concept and put peanut butter in a tear-off pouch. Endurance athletes were purchasing and consuming the all-natural energy nutrition like it was liquid gold. The organic whole food fuel was working, but one day standing
in the kitchen, slurping down yet another pouch of this non-gel, endurance food, thoughts of innovation struck: Why are we paying $3 for 3 ounces, when a jar of peanut butter is $3. We work in branding products; we have built brands; we can figure out how to make peanut butter. Can’t be THAT hard, right? Why can’t we create BETTER natural energy nutrition; why can’t WE put something BETTER in a pouch and sell it?
First, we needed a name. What were we trying to accomplish? We were trying to provide endurance athletes with nutrition so they can go on and on and on without the BONK. (For the novice, when an athlete falls out nutritionally and cannot proceed with riding, swimming, running, jumping, or whatever craziness that they are involved in, it is called a BONK.) No one wants that. We wanted to fix that.
How were we going to do this? Using peanut butter, adding more whole food energy, surpassing what the energy gel was providing, putting natural energy in a pouch and slurping it all the way out of Bonk town…. BONK BUTTER! That is a name! Step one complete.
So, peanut butter cannot be that hard to make, right? Go to the store, buy some salted, roasted peanuts. You know the ones on the bar, in a bowl? Put them on a tray and roast them. Note to self, roasted peanuts do NOT need to be re-roasted. Epic, inedible failure.
Ok, fresh peanuts. Buy those, roast them, squish them and, not bad. Tedious, messy, but not gross. Wait! Why re-invent the butter? Research and employ a manufacturer. Mix up this organic butter of the nut with some organic honey (same honey used today in B-Line Natural Energy), sea salt, and palm fruit oil. Tasting, mixing, testing, riding. Not too shabby. Not convenient on the trails in a Tupperware container so we put it Ziplocs and cut off the corner for the slurp. Obviously, packaging needs to be next.
Mock up a packaging design, talk to package makers, take business classes, find a mentor, look for financing. It all seemed to be coming together but, as the story goes, a BONK does not just happen on the trails . . . It can happen in business as well. Bonk Butter was a trademark infringement . . . That name is out. Big companies have figured out that this is a good idea too . . . The market is getting saturated. No one wants to invest money without a product. We proceed anyway with sugarplums dancing in our heads. We have an order of 100,000 packages on the ready but decide to create a couple of samples before we pull the trigger.
The big day arrives. The samples of our all natural, energy gel alternative is delivered. We lace up our shoes, go for a run, grip the top of the package in our teeth tear it off and . . . OIL EVERYWHERE. The peanut butter of our dreams has separated. This may be the day that Bonk Butter died, but unexpected obstacles do not stop us! Endurance does not only apply to our athletic pursuits but also to our pursuits for a real food, natural energy gel alternative!