Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Atlas Bars are keto-friendly protein bars that are high in protein and low in sugar. They are made with high-performance real food ingredients, 100% grass-fed whey protein, and an innovative blend of science-backed adaptogen superfoods (Ashwagandha + Maca Root) that help the body adapt to stress, fight fatigue and boost endurance. As if the nutritional value wasn’t enough on its own, these bars also come in a variety of decadent flavors appealing to all taste palettes: Almond Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Cacao, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Almond Chai, and Peanut Butter & Raspberry. Now, you are probably all wondering: Who is the mastermind behind the Atlas Bar?
For our first Boston Partner Spotlight, (yeah – you can find these bars of perfection in our very own Fresh Fridges!) we interviewed certified sports nutritionist and Founder/CEO of Atlas Bars, James Oliver, whose childhood fascination with the relationship between food and performance fueled his determination to create THE clean, nutritious, guilt-free snacking option we know today as Atlas.
While you can learn more about Atlas Bars themselves, as well as “What’s Inside,” on their website, I want to highlight parts of my conversation with James that I feel exemplify why we at 6AM Health take pride in our relationships with local food entrepreneurs.
The Key to Living a Healthy Lifestyle (you heard it here first!)
According to James, living a healthy lifestyle begins with the body and what makes up the body. Every second, there are about 2 million new cells in the human body. The fuel for all those new cells comes from the food we consume. So, as James put it, “we literally do become what we eat,” as in, the food we eat becomes cells which, in the end, become the rest of the body. Pretty cool, huh? Furthermore, if we think about things this way, then the quality of food we eat does have to matter to some degree.
As an undergraduate at Tufts University, James found himself doing a deep dive into what makes up the highest-quality diets. While he came across much controversy in the world of nutrition and no real consensus, he did find three statements to be true: the healthiest diets minimize sugar as much as possible (specifically added sugar), include quality sources of protein (whether plant or animal-based), and maximize clean real foods (that are not processed).
As stated on Atlas’ website: “This is the guiding principle behind every Atlas bar recipe.”
Standing Out Among ‘Other’ Protein Bars
In any given store, there might be at least 100 different protein bar boxes laid out in front of a shopper’s eyes. How does Atlas stand out? In addition to Atlas’ three guiding principles and unique adaptogen blend, James’ approach to differentiate his bar from the rest was to launch a primarily e-commerce business. In this way, he can create a dialogue with his customers that he wouldn’t be able to do in a store. Staying true to his word, James reads every single message customers send to him!
Customers as the Lifeblood of Atlas
James calls his customers the lifeblood of his business. I asked him if he could think of a time when feedback collected from his customers informed his product or processes, and he initially told me that this happens weekly. He then went on to tell me about a time last year when his team had the idea of doing a mix-and-match box of protein bars where customers could select their desired flavors. To gauge customer interest, he sent out a survey to all his current customers. Once discovering that 85-90% of customers would be interested in this mix-and-match box, James had the confidence to go forward with his initial idea. Now, both of the boxes offered on his website – both the 15 and 30 count – allow for customers to customize their order!
Keeping it Local
While Atlas Bars now sell on a national level, James affirmed that “Boston is still our home turf.” James started with a laser focus on ‘local,’ actually hitting the streets of Boston and going to gyms at every hour, leaving bars in mailboxes, calling people, etc. He has since moved on from this ‘knocking-on-doors’ strategy, but continues to stay loyal to Boston: “This is where we initially got our base and this is where I’m from, it’s an awesome part of the world, and I want to support it.” The vast majority of Atlas customers, as well as all Atlas retail accounts, are in the Boston area. Additionally, Atlas still supports many Boston-based community events, especially those that champion healthy living and exercise, such as CrossFit competitions and local 5k’s.
Favorite Atlas Bar Flavor
Is it even allowed to ask what James’ favorite flavor is?! I also was not sure but turns out, it’s a valid question! James goes through phases where he eats a single flavor for weeks before transitioning to a different flavor. His example: “I won’t have one flavor on Tuesday and then another on Wednesday.” His current kick? Chocolate Cacao.
This is the big question for many entrepreneurs, especially amidst the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the growing impact it is having on all businesses across the nation. But have no fear… Atlas has been working on a brand-new website for the last six months and will be launching this platform in the next few weeks!! The new website will take Atlas’ close relationship with its customers to the next level.
So, if you have spent your long days searching for ‘the next generation protein bar,’ and you want to support a local business, look no further! Atlas Bars are wholesome, clean, simple, and definitely worth a try! #fueltheimpossible
For those of you who are already sold fans of Atlas Bars, do you have a favorite flavor?