Meet the Maker with a sweet tooth who built a new way to snack
When Daniel Berg, founder of Berg Bites, a protein packed gluten free energy bite, was growing up in New York City, he was an active kid. He loved sports, playing basketball, and sugary snacks! But once he developed a passion for health, he was desperate to build a business that would satisfy people’s sweet-tooth without loading up on sugar. In order to make his dream a reality, he had to get approval from his family, tackle an education, and beat out dozens of competitors in one of the largest collegiate new venture competitions in the country.
Berg Bites, a health and wellness food brand, sold in over 300 stores nationwide, started simply enough with a family recipe, an entrepreneurial high schooler, and a desire for better snacking.
As he entered his high school years and became more health-conscious, Dan realized his family’s recipe of delicious protein-packed snacks, were a fantastic alternative to the usual chips and candies that young athletes, just like himself, were consuming. Already a budding entrepreneur with a t-shirt company he started with high school friends, Dan always had an eye out for ways he could solve problems for others. And what’s better than when that solution also happens to be something delicious? Dan began to connect the dots that his family’s recipe could solve the problem of unhealthy snacks for young athletes.
It wasn’t until Dan started college at The George Washington University that he shaped that dream into a reality. He developed the recipe into a full-blown packaged product and began selling in select retail outlets. Things really took off when he decided to apply to the university-wide new venture competition. “A lot of the ideas in the competition were just that, ideas, we already had revenue and a product you could, see, touch and taste,” Berg said. Dan thinks that is what set Berg Bites apart and eventually landed them the second-place spot in the competition. Winning the venture competition, built the brand name and put Berg Bites on an accelerated trajectory.
As the product began to gain popularity and the prospects of the company outgrowing their manufacturing capability became very real, Berg thought he would handoff manufacturing to a co-packer to make Berg Bites for him. A co-packer, or a contract packer, is a company that manufactures and packages a certain product for a client. For emerging brands, outsourcing their manufacturing to a co-packer allows them to scale-up and meet growing demand, without having to invest in their own industrial setting. But Dan quickly realized by keeping production in house, he would have a lot more control over the quality of his product. The decision to keep manufacturing in house has allowed him to experiment with the recipe more often and perfect the flavors, and test new ideas at a much quicker pace than if he outsourced. “It’s like having my own test kitchen” Berg described, which allows him to create and innovate in all-new ways. This is perfect considering his motto is just to do it and figure it out along the way. Learning through doing might just be the key to his success as he is always eager to jump in to get something done without the need for writing in-depth business plans. His action first spirit has proven successful as berg bites are now sold in 300 - 400 retailers as far as the west coast.
Looking forward, Berg wants to continue maturing the brand and focusing on never taking anything for granted. Perhaps the most fun fact about Berg Bites, is that the original color scheme was selected based on Daniel’s grandfather, an entrepreneur himself whose favorite color was purple.
Like most people, Dan has a sweet tooth, but he also wants to eat healthy. Berg Bites are a handy nutrient dense snack that delivers long term energy and will satisfy your cravings.