Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and various herbal supplements are common go-to sources for people seeking an extra boost of energy, but now there's a new player on store shelvesenergy gummy bears.
Loud Truck EFG LLC is a young Spokane-based company that makes a gummy bear candy filled with a mix of ingredientsguarana, among othersintended to give consumers an energy boost similar to that they'd expect from an energy drink, such as Red Bull or Rockstar.
"The premise was to have an actually great-tasting energy product," says Loud Truck owner and President Randy Absalonson.
Loud Truck currently makes its gummy bears available online for purchase at www.loudtruckgummi.com and soon hopes to have them available at several Spokane-area grocery and convenience stores, Absalonson says.
He adds that he's currently working with some local distributors to get the product in Spokane-area stores, including Yoke's Foods Inc. and Rosauers Supermarket Inc. outlets, as well as some convenience stores. Besides selling the product in grocery and convenience stores, Absalonson says he'd also like to build relationships with locally-owned, drive-through coffee stands that'd be willing to sell the gummies.
A single 1-ounce package containing about 10 gummies retails for $1.29, he says. The packages will be located on or near checkout counters of convenience stores in Loud Truck's orange display cartons, or on clip displays near the checkout area of larger grocery stores, he says.
Loud Truck's product was invented by Ron Hansen, the owner of a Mukilteo, Wash.-based food and beverage marketing design firm called RHSB Inc., which does business as Ron Hansen Strategic Branding. Absalonson says he purchased the assets of Loud Truck EFG from Hansen in March and now is the sole owner of the business. He's operating it out of an 1,800-square-foot office and warehouse space in North Spokane, at 6714 N. Pittsburgh.
Absalonson says that Hansen came up with the idea for the energy gummies because he'd always disliked the taste of some of the energy drinks on the market.
"He really likes gummy bears and wondered if he could infuse energy into a gummy bear," Absalonson says.
He says Hansen hired a food scientist in 2009, and they worked for about a year to come up with a mix of ingredients that would taste good as a gummy bear and also would have the benefits of an energy-boosting product. Absalonson says that because Hansen also still was operating his branding business, he didn't have a lot of time to focus on the energy gummy bear venture, so he put it up for sale last year.
Absalonson says he made the decision to buy the assets of Loud Truck from Hansen two days after they'd met to discuss the possible transaction. He declines to say how much he paid for the assets. While he's now the sole owner of Loud Truck, Absalonson says that Hansen still is providing some marketing and branding services for the company.
Absalonson says that Loud Truck is the second business he's owned, and that three years ago he sold to First National Bank of Omaha a business he'd founded and owned here for 17 years, called UPF Inc., which banks and credit unions hired to provide real estate tax services to clients.
He says that in addition to being sold in stores in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, he plans to make the energy gummies available soon in Seattle and Tacoma. Absalonson adds that he's in discussion with some local colleges and universities to get the gummies into on-campus convenience stores and book stores.
Right now, he says, his focus is on marketing the products in the Northwest, but he hopes to distribute the gummies throughout the U.S. eventually.
At the business's Spokane headquarters, Absalonson says he has about 55,000 packages of gummy bears that can be distributed, and has around 54,000 additional packages stored in two other locations, one in Los Angeles and one in the Midwest. He adds that he hopes to start a production run of 500,000 more packages in the next few months as he readies for the products to be distributed around the region.
Absalonson says that his ultimate goal for the business would be to sell as many packages of the energy gummies each week as the popular product called 5-Hour Energy that's manufactured by a company called Living Essentials LLC, based in Farmington Hills, Mich. He says he believes that company averages about 7 million products sold per week.
"That is the lofty goal," he says.
The energy gummies are manufactured at a facility in the U.S., but Absalonson declines to disclose where it's located.
He says that because Loud Truck's product is considered a dietary supplement, rather than a food product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate it. A supplement is defined by the FDA as a product that's taken by mouth and has an ingredient that's intended to supplement the diet.
Supplements can include vitamins, minerals, and herbs, among others. The FDA requires that such products be clearly labeled as dietary supplements, and also requires the manufacturer to ensure the supplement is safe before marketing it.
In addition to the ingredients aimed at boosting energy, the gummies contain three of the B vitaminsriboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and B12as well as 375 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C, he says. Currently, the only flavor the product comes in is called citrus blast, but Absalonson says the company could add other flavors in the future.
The gummy bears are bright orange, and have the same shape and texture as traditional candy gummy bears. Absalonson says Loud Truck Gummies have 13 grams of sugar and 60 calories per 1-ounce package, compared with 31 grams of sugar and 140 calories in an 8-ounce can of Rockstar. Each package contains around 10 gummies, and has about the same amount of caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of coffee.
In an effort to appeal to a wider consumer base, Loud Truck markets the energy gummy bears under two different brands, Absalonson says. The main brand is Loud Truck Energy Gummies, which come in a black package emblazoned with a bright orange cartoon gummy bear that has an excited facial expression and a lightning bolt on its forehead.
"I've gotten so many great comments on the bear; he's definitely pumped up," Absalonson says.
The company's second branding effort is targeted more toward active women, and is called Movit Sports Gummies. The packages are made of shiny pink foil and feature a simple font, and instead of the bear they have an outline of a butterfly above the brand name.
Absalonson adds that while the outside packaging of the two brands is different, the product inside is the same.
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