Lärabar – the energy bar owned by packaged foods behemoth General Mills – is a US$200 million business and a market leader in its biggest market, the United States.

But when General Mills looked to launch the fruit-and-nut based snack in the UK, where the brand was almost entirely unknown, it pushed the company’s marketers to get back to basics with sharp insights, smart partnerships and thoughtful execution.

Lärabar is part of the ‘natural and organic’ business unit at General Mills. The category which is worth an estimated US$1.5 billion to the company, according to Arjoon Bose, Head of Brand Experience, Creative and Culture for Europe at General Mills.

“Lärabar has tripled household penetration over the last five years… after a huge success in the US, we were ready to bring it to the UK,” Bose said at the POPAI Retail Marketing Conference in London recently.

Setting the brand compass

For General Mills, which later acquired the brand, one of the major market strengths of the Lärabar brand was its origin story: the Lärabar product was developed by Lara Merriken, a Colorado-based hiking enthusiast, who created the all-natural energy bar in her own kitchen using friends and family as taste-testers.