Healthy nut butter fats (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews) and seeds are packed with organic superfoods, vitamins, minerals and organic honey in a myriad of flavors. The non-GMO, project verified, certified gluten-free, kosher, whole food protein is void of emulsifiers, whey, soy lecithin, hydrogenated oils and artificial preservatives and sweeteners. Organic honey binds ingredients while refrigeration keeps the bar fresh for up to six months.
Co-founder and CEO Bill Keith claims to have “put the nut in nutritious,” while never compromising “taste for health, no matter how busy life gets.”
The legacy of Perfect Bar began with Bud Keith, Bill’s father, a health food pioneer before health food was cliché. Dad, a self-taught naturopath, worked with Jack La Lane, formulating nutritional products and supplements while traveling – with the family homeschooled and living in a motorhome – to universities to lecture on nutrition.
Bud introduced his first protein powder in the ’70s and owned and operated Healthouse, the first gym and juice bar located in Mission Beach. Bill describes the elder as one of the founding fathers of the health and wellness industry.
Bud manipulated mega health and super foods into protein powders, supplements and “food on the go” to keep the family well-fed. Bar recipes included super foods like kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and lemons, and supplements mixed with freshly-ground organic peanut butter, organic honey and whole food proteins.
“Dad’s concoctions were made of nutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals made from concentrated mega food sources versus chemicals and synthetic derivates,” said Keith. “Through trial and error, Dad tinkered until we took one bite and declared, ‘It’s perfect!’ and the Perfect Bar recipe was born. We sold our bars the way other kids sold lemonade, rolling them in small batches and selling them to anyone who’d buy them.”
When the patriarch fell victim to skin cancer, Bill, the oldest of 13 siblings, gathered the family now living in Northern California to find ways to sustain the family’s financial responsibilities. While tossing ideas around, one constant remained, “turning Dad’s refrigerated protein bar recipe into a business.”
The family purchased a packaging machine and moved to Sacramento. Mom and Dad returned to Mission Beach where Bud wished to spend the remainder of his life.
As with most businesses, the first year was “tough.”
“We had a great product but I had little traction securing appointments,” said Keith.
With one month of finances left, Keith met the Berkley Whole Foods Grocery team leader at a Harmony Festival who “made it her mission to put me in that single store,” for 30 days. Determined, Keith slept in his car and showered in the gym while driving between Berkley and Sacramento where family members were rolling and packaging bars.
Sales exceeded expectations. Ten more stores were added. The family moved the operation to Mission Beach – to be closer to Mom and Dad – leveraging sales through “natural brands like Whole Foods and Sprouts.” Keith expanded regionally from Colorado before expanding nationally in 2009.
By now, the Keith’s had been hand-rolling bars – with rolling pins – for almost seven years. Refusing to give in to automation – extruding machines of dry bars – that would shortcut quality, they opted for semi-automation by tweaking cheesecake making equipment.
Trademark and rebranding the bar’s packaging to “clearly” articulate their “off the beaten path” story worked in tandem with the acquisition of an investment company and a string of “talented folks” to fill the “executive suites.” Four years later, sales landed Perfect Bar to the No. 3 best-selling national food brand bar.
Food scientists continue to “create flavor extensions” from the family’s original seven flavors. Successful sales dictate successful flavors.
“Flavors need to make dollars and cents,” said Keith. “While Dad taught us the how of nutrition, you just can’t take a scientific approach, it has to taste good.”
The Keith’s recently launched, Perfect Snacks, Perfect Bites and Perfect Kids because “happy kids start with happy bellies.”
The family has no intention of slowing down.
“We’re invigorated by emails that say our bars helped patients get through chemotherapy because of how easy it is to eat (soft, cookie-dough texture) and digest,” said Keith. “We’ve even had doctors write prescriptions for Perfect Bar.”
Keith describes his family’s success as emblematic of the “American dream.”
“Thank God for America and the ability to do what we’ve done,” he concluded. “Dad has since passed, but his spirit lives on in our bars. The Perfect Bar story is a story of triumph over tragedy.”
Find your Perfect Bar locally at Sprouts, Vons, Ralphs, Gelson’s, Target, CVS, and 7-Eleven stores throughout the area.
For more information, visit Perfectbar.com.