Exploring Life & Business with Nicole Ingram of Bella Bars
Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Ingram.
Nicole, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started Bella Bars in 2018 after I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant with my daughter. After my diagnosis, The hardest part for me wasn’t checking my blood sugar four times a day or the constant thirst, it was finding items to eat. At the time, I felt defeated and lost trying to manage through an entirely different lifestyle that I wasn’t used too. I struggled, like many women to find a snack bar that was low in sugar and carbs but had enough protein to keep me going throughout day but one that actually tasted good. I tried every bar on the market that fit that requirements I was looking for and found the flavor and taste lacked significantly.
I started doing a ton of research and realized there was a need in the market for a bar was low in sugar/carbs, wouldn’t spike your blood sugar (if you were diabetic) but actually tasted good. From there, my journey began. I knew nothing on how to start a business let alone a food business. I attempted to make the bars myself and quickly realized there is a specific science to food creation and I needed help! I hired a couple food recipe developers along the way and finally found one that was able to strike the right nutritional profile with taste. After over 200+ iterations, 20 different flavors, 65 packing iterations and countless R&D, Bella Bars were created. I was able to source a co-packer who is able to produce my bars at their facility in P.A. We launched in July 2020 and saw great success. We took our finding of our first run and worked back to make our product even better than before. We have been working to relaunch Bella Bars and they will be available again end of March.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
How much time do we have? 🙂 The hardest part for me was starting a business I knew nothing about. I had to lean on others to help me with the knowledge I lacked. I have two kids and another full-time job, so there were a ton of late nights and early morning trying to get this company off the ground. You name it, it happen. My first co-packer to produce my bars called me the day before production to tell me their enrober (machine that covers the bars in chocolate) broke. I had a plane ticket booked the next day to visit them in Chicago. They were never able to fix the equipment properly and I had to have all my ingredients shipped to another manufacturer, causing months in delays in production. I launched a company during Covid. We were gaining a ton of traction with the bars on our initial samples and then Covid hit, we stopped the company for four months because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the future state. I worked with three different recipe developers to finally get the product correct. R&D took over two years until we finally felt comfortable going to make with the flavors.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Bella Bars?
Bella Bars are a gluten-free, low sugar, high fiber, keto protein snack. Like many other bars on the market that promote these features, Bella Bars taste is unapparelled to anything on the market. They are covered in rich dark sugar-free chocolate and creamy sugar-free white chocolate. I am most proud of making a healthy product that people actually enjoy eating. I am also proud that this is a female-owned and operated company. I am a one women show but have had so much support from friends, family and other entrepreneur who truly find joy in seeing other succeed. Our brand is really focused providing a healthy but tasty solution for all the moms, pregnant ladies, working parents and individuals that want to nourish their body. With something healthy and satisfyingly.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I think the protein snack bar industry is here to stay. Everyone these days is looking for a quick on-the-go snack that fulfills the needs they are looking for. With people, in general, having less time and more things on their plate, I feel that if anything in 5 to 10 years the snack bar market trajectory will continue to expand. I also see a trend in more items being offered that tailor to specific needs for consumers. Gluten-free I believe will continue to be a key focus for health-conscious consumers. Five years ago, it was extremely difficult to find gluten-free items, now I feel like those options are more and more prevalent. Lower sugar or less sugar will also continued to be something consumers will seek to find and more and more companies will be providing those options.
- Box of 12 bars is $36.90 found directly on our website
- We were able to secure some local store fronts to carry the bars. You can find them on our website but also at The Juice Bar, Nekter Frisco, Lounge Coffee Frisco and the Green Spot.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.thebellabars.com
- Instagram: @thebellabars
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebellabars