Author: Holly J Coley
It’s hard to keep a diet in check this time of year. There are so many cookies lying about! Naturally, we’re happy to discover Grok Bites, the moist and chewy snacks made in New Paltz, New York. They’re the perfect way to quell sugar cravings without the aid of a chocolate Santa. The mini raw fruit and nut bars fit perfectly in bags or pockets for a nosh on the go. They’re low in calories and come in a variety of flavors, including Jalapeno Surprise, Nutty Espresso, Very Berry, and Peanut Z. Once you sample them you won’t even notice that plate of Rugelach on your kitchen table.
MEET THE CREATORS
Newlyweds Peter and Heidi Coates, didn’t start out with the intention of becoming food entrepreneurs. Like so many couples, they simply wanted to eat better but finding a convenient snack that wasn’t sugar laden was like searching for the Holy Grail. Even protein bars, a product pushed as healthy, proved disappointingly deceptive in the nutrition department. Unimpressed with the options, they began to ponder producing their own bar for the public. “[We thought,] we could make these,” Peter recalls with a laugh.
They were half kidding and half serious. Neither of them had culinary experience but they were both self-starters. Before coming to the States, Peter owned and ran a hotel for 15 years in the UK. Heidi has been a life coach for a decade, specializing with women in transitions. The more they talked about it, the less the idea became idle chatter. While at the market one day, Heidi decided to take a look at the labels of the snacks on the shelves. “I looked at the ingredients,” she recalls. “It seemed like each and every [company] added something we didn’t want added or were higher in calories.” Obviously, the market was open for a health bar that was -*gasp*- actually good for you.
They began experimenting in the kitchen and their friends were more than happy to be their taste testers. “Everyone said, ‘Hey, these are really good’,” remembers Peter. “Gradually we built momentum.” Heidi adds, “We have fun doing it. Peter came up with the recipes. I came up with the visual marketing. We’re a really good team that way.”
Together they played with different flavors and consistencies, eventually creating their signature blend of Brazil nuts, cashews, and fruit. All the bites are made with quality raw ingredients, are gluten and dairy free, totally vegan and taste strangely more decadent than one would expect. “It’s the cacao powder,” Peter says, revealing the superfood ingredient that gives the treats a confectionery taste. “With cacao you get just the good stuff and none of the rubbish that you get with chocolate. We put really good things in them.”
“We’re the only ones that we’ve found that use Brazil nuts,” points out Heidi. “They’re one of the most incredible nuts! I don’t know why other people don’t use them.”
SO WHAT DOES GROK MEAN, ANYWAY?
Marketing is an important part of any business and Peter and Heidi took their time choosing the right name for their product.
“We noticed that a lot of the bars out there used four letter names,” says Heidi. “It was like a formula! Cliff, Luna, there were all these four letter words. We figured there must be a good reason for this… We started looking for four letter words and I was looking at all these lists.”
Previous to life coaching, Heidi had designed jewelry. She had a line called Intention where various powerful words were placed on pieces.When she came across the word Grok something clicked inside her head. She had used the word in one of her necklaces. It means “to understand profoundly and intuitively” and was made famous by the iconic science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. It was a word that had struck a deep chord with customers. When she suggested it to Peter he loved it, coming up with the tag line, Deeper understanding with every bite. When they look back on how it all came about, it feels sort of kismet and organic.
“It is an intuitive thing,” Heidi says. “We really would like people to know their bodies better and to put things in their bodies that feel good and [that the] body is relieved to have.”
Although they’ve only been available for a few months, Grok Bites are being received by the public with open mouths. They’ve been picked up by several retailers and were a hit at this year’s Hudson Valley Hullabaloo. “We want to be very successful with Grok Bites,” says Peter. “Come the New Year, we’re determined to hit the ground running.”
To purchase Grok Bites you can visit the official website at thegrokbar.com. You can also find them at Nature’s Pantry in New Windsor, Emmanuel’s Market Place in Stone Ridge, My Market in New Paltz, and Late Bloomer Farm in Montgomery.