Author: Kevin Cleary, CEO, Clif Bar
24 Jul 2018
In the coming years, Millennials appear set to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living generation on Earth. What’s more, they are a generation that has already redefined the expectations of food and, with it, the standards by which food companies judge themselves. Gone are the days of three square meals; snacking has become the new norm. It seems Millennials want healthy food. They want authentic food. And they want it right now.
What’s most interesting about these changing expectations is that Millennials don’t just care about what’s in it for them: they want to know how their food affects other people, communities and the planet. As the CEO of Clif Bar, I’m proud to lead a company that’s long been ahead of this curve and continues to promote sustainable values.
Food made with purpose
Nearly 20 years ago, Clif Bar introduced its ‘five aspirations’ business model, which focuses on sustaining our business, brands, people, planet and communities. These aspirations guide our company; we establish key objectives for each aspiration, set five-year stretch goals and then set to work. As such, our sustainability goals are built in, not bolted on. In other words, they are the measure of our success, not an addition to it. As a result, I believe the Clif Bar team is better connected to both its work and to one another.
Millennials don’t just care about what benefits them: they want to know how their food affects other people, communities and the planet
For us, sustaining the planet begins with organic ingredients. We’ve been on the organic journey for 15 years now and have seen it positively impact people, the planet and farming communities. Since 2003, Clif Bar has sourced 888 million pounds of organic ingredients, and 77 percent of all ingredients we use are either organic or certified sustainable.
In our day-to-day work, we’re also thinking about how we can use less packaging, reduce landfill waste and work with supply chain partners to help them transition to at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2020.
Scaling our impact
At Clif Bar, we believe that it’s more important to set up our business for years of strength than to push for near-term wins, and building a presence in Europe is a major part of that. In 2017, we established a base in the Netherlands, creating a new company in the process: Clif Bar Europe. Today, you can find Clif Energy Bars in 15 European countries.
As we have grown internationally, we have been presented with tremendous new opportunities to use our size and scale to shift markets and advocate sustainable agriculture. We are excited to bring our Clif Nut Butter Filled Bar to Europe. This new bar is a great example of sustainability meeting innovation, as it mixes organic ingredients with creamy nut butters.
Connecting shared values
We’re not a company that thinks in terms of how to market to you. Instead, we’re people who love food, who need to get outdoors and who prioritise wellness. Clif Bar’s partnership with Prudential RideLondon – one of Europe’s leading cycling events – is an expression of those shared values. Being a family and employee-owned business means we take care of our teams and understand that healthy, inspired people create food that is both delicious and nutritious.
Ultimately, we see food as a force for good in the world. When made with values in mind, food has the power to create positive change in our lives, our communities and our planet.