Our Happy Wolf journey started when I couldn't find snacks that felt good enough for my daughter Joey. I found myself going grocery aisle to grocery aisle, looking at label after label, wondering why every kids’ snack bar I found was full of sugar and ultra-processed, weird ingredients I never used at home. (I was actually SHOCKED looking at this exact wrapper!)
Do you bake with locust bean gum? Modified palm kernel oil? Agar? Carrageenan? Me neither!
When we set out to create Happy Wolf, we wanted to offer a simpler snack that kids loved and parents could feel great about.
Once my co-founder Derek and I finally landed on the perfect recipe, we got to work commercializing the product. It quickly became clear why these weird ingredients are so ubiquitous. These ingredients make products cheaper, last longer, and easier to produce…they’re better for the manufacturers and companies selling them but not the kids eating them.
We didn’t set out to create a refrigerated product. And even though the fridge adds cost and complexity at every step, we learned that we would have to compromise on ingredients or add preservatives if we wanted our bars to be shelf stable. The fridge acts as a natural preservative and keeps the product fresh without us having to add real preservatives.
It was nearly impossible to source ingredients that met our MANY standards. Every single ingredient we source is 100% USDA organic certified, non-GMO, top-allergen free and free from heavy metals and pesticides to meet the Clean Label Project Certification standards. Finding ingredients that check one of these boxes can be tough, requiring all of them presented a unique challenge. When we couldn’t find an ingredient that met our standards (like our date-sweetened chocolate chips), we custom created it ourselves.
We also had to relentlessly experiment on the manufacturing side. Dozens of co-manufacturers told us that we’d have to use syrups or stabilizers in order to get them to run on a line. Finally, we found a likeminded manufacturer who worked with us to get our bars to run smoothly without sacrificing on ingredients.
We are soooooo proud of our fridge-fresh bars, and we are so glad that we didn't give up or compromise on ANYTHING throughout the process. Every time a kid tries and loves them it makes the whole journey worth it!