Food Entrepreneur SAN DIEGO — Mooski, maker of chilled oat bars, is expanding its retail footprint and scaling production with new backing from an industry veteran. Jared Smith, co-founder of RXBAR, has joined the San Diego-based snack startup as an investor and advisor.

The brand, which markets and distributes an assortment of bars inspired by Swiss breakfast staple muesli, is rolling out “coast to coast,” heading to shelves at Foxtrot Market, Fresh Thyme and Central Market, said Robert Broome, founder and chief executive officer. The cross-country push coincides with a new manufacturing partnership in the Midwest that Mr. Broome said has improved the quality of the bars, which are coated in dark chocolate and formulated with gluten-free oats, nut butter, almond flour, olive oil and organic agave. Flavors include chocolate peanut butter, cookie dough and peanut butter banana.

“We ran a bunch of trials there, and it was totally seamless,” Mr. Broome told Food Business News. “Usually when you scale up, you compromise. We scaled up, and things got better. The oats got smoother and softer.”

The shift from self-manufacturing is expected to significantly increase capacity as the business continues to grow beyond its California roots, Mr. Broome said.

“We were basically doing 2,000 to 3,000 a day, an eight-hour shift, self-manufacturing,” he said. “Now, we’re doing 30,000 to 40,000 in an eight-hour shift.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Broome held innovation and marketing roles at RXBAR and Clio Snacks. He began experimenting with the “fresh granola bar” concept several years ago, tapping into accelerating consumer demand for refrigerated, ready-to-eat offerings positioned as premium and free from preservatives. Shortly after launching the brand last year, he recruited Chelsea Sherman, another former RXBAR employee, to lead finance and supply chain.

Mr. Smith’s investment in Mooski marks his first in the nutrition bar category, more than five years after Kellogg Co. acquired RXBAR for $600 million. Through his family office, Villam Ventures, Mr. Smith also has invested in such food and beverage brands as Olipop, Omsom and A Dozen Cousins.

“Mooski brings novelty with a new product form in the refrigerated bar space which is a fast-growing set,” Mr. Smith said. “Owning the space and being first to market with a fresher granola bar alternative is a large untapped opportunity. Robert and Chelsea are a perfect combination, front-end and back-end focused, and have a long-lasting relationship built on integrity and humility.”

Mr. Broome said the brand is planning in-store sampling, digital coupons and other activations to support its new retail partnerships. Mooski also is introducing refreshed packaging to more clearly communicate the product’s attributes. 

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