Companies only have a chance at true greatness when they are driven by a mission.
Our mission is to revolutionize food and make clean eating fun.
Quest Bars were created from a simple idea: food should taste as good as it is good for you with zero compromises. We set out to deliver something that no one had done before and believed that with enough hard work and innovation food could be delicious and good for you. People eat for enjoyment rather than sustenance. That’s why Quest is driven to engineer foods that don’t compromise on taste or nutrition.
A small group of wellness enthusiasts gather around a kitchen with a vision for a NEW kind of protein bar that we actually want to eat. We know that we can’t be the only ones in need of a product that doesn’t compromise. Others were looking for a better way to cheat clean, and it isn’t out there. So we decide to make it. Not just for us, but everyone who wants to eat better and enjoy every bite.
We spend several months huddled around @QuestCreator Shannon Penna to mix and test various sweeteners, ingredients, and formulas. Slowly but surely we learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s challenging work, but not without its rewards.
Finally, we get them to the point where they are delicious and nutritious enough to sell.
Day One. We launch with two flavors: Vanilla Almond Crunch and Peanut Butter Supreme. In need of more space, our operation graduates to a tiny commercial kitchen we rent by the hour. We make Quest Bars with rolling pins and hand-held knives. It’s more hard work, but we’re propelled forward by a clear goal to change lives.
Quest Bars start to generate buzz among bodybuilders and fitness models—a tribe of humans that are the embodiment of taste deprivation and dietary discipline. They taste our bars, study the nutritional profile and realize, “Wow, I can actually enjoy this… AND eat toward my goals.”
Word of mouth spreads. Suddenly we have fans. Other people—not just us—want to eat our bars. It’s exciting! It creates a small wave of demand and we’re over the moon about it. As sales increase we realize it’s time to take this to the next level.
Little do we know what we were up against.
We research equipment and collect quotes from contract manufactures. Nearly everyone we talk to tells us that what we want to accomplish is impossible. It’s a moment of truth —if we are truly serious about ending obesity, we need to gamble not simply pride or reputation, but our personal, fiscal well-being… and risk losing everything.
After searching the globe, we shake hands on a machine to replace our rolling pins and knives. To house the equipment we upgrade from our hourly test kitchen to a new space and a new lease. The dream is coming to life.
The machine arrives. Unassembled. Imagine the most complicated Lego set you’ve ever seen. The most industrious of our crew remains undaunted. It’s intimidating, but not paralyzing. It’s better than mixing with our hands, right? We look for an owners manual. Nope, that didn’t come with the set. We’re all in. We have to be all in. There is no “Plan B.”
We stand in our lab coats a few weeks later, eyes fixed on the fully assembled machine as it whirrs with promise. One team is dedicated to the old method of mixing with rolling pins and hand cutters. Another pours a batch of ingredients into the new mixer and watches it stir to life. It’s exhilarating. For maybe twenty minutes. Then, kaa-chunk! The mixer stalls out. Our faces drop. We begin to troubleshoot.
Decrease batch size. Cool machine every ten minutes. Clean rollers. Repeat.
The next day is more of the same. Not only is the machine overheating, the bars aren’t cutting properly. More troubleshooting.
Slow the belt down. Speed the belt up. Adjust cutting speed.
We call the machine owners for assistance. We describe in detail what we’re facing, but they can only do so much… our formula is unlike any that’s been tested.
Over the next few days, weeks and months we invent clever ways to increase production. We double how many bars we can make in a day. Then double it again. We continue to research, make calls and meet with various manufacturers and engineers.
Every consultant and industry expert recommends we change our formulation; cut some corners or add some sugar. We know what’s down that road: compromise. A failure to uphold our stated mission. This wasn’t just about starting a business. It was about revolutionizing the way people eat. Everyone else is adding sugar and junk. For us, it’s personal. We have friends and family struggling with obesity and diabetes in desperate need of an alternative to what’s available. So we forge ahead. We fly to different production labs to meet with engineers that promise a solution. Time-and-time again Quest Bars proves too much for any pre-made equipment.
Finally the head of a manufacturing team pulls us aside. “Look, if you want to see this through, you need to build your own equipment. It’s that simple. There’s no standard for what you’re doing. You’re creating a standard. We can build what you need. But it’s going to be expensive.”
In order to house custom-designed equipment, we move yet again. It’s a larger facility capable of higher production output than ever before. Our custom machines are built to task. We hire and train a production team to keep up with demand. A few small rooms attached to the manufacturing warehouse serve as our corporate headquarters.
Word of mouth continues to spread through social media. It’s more than encouraging. It’s validation. We believed there were people out there on a quest. Now they were finding us and contributing to a movement. A community. A support system. It’s no longer simply about launching the latest-and-greatest flavor (even though R&D is hard at work on the chocolate chunk inclusions we need to launch Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) it’s contributing to an emerging lifestyle.
Plus it’s not simply bodybuilders and athletes. The community expands well beyond the weight room. Active moms and dads, teens and young professionals, start sharing stories and asking questions. We engage, of course, posting images, updates, and blogs. But the most exciting thing to watch as the community takes on a life of its own. Customers engage with other customers.
Then something pretty amazing happens. GNC—an international leader and pioneer in nutrition—awards us as Protein Bar of the Year. We’re stunned. Humbled. “Weren’t we just cutting and mixing these by hand?” we wonder. “This is crazy!”
With great anticipation and excitement we launch a flavor nearly a year in the making: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It’s a hallmark flavor because it’s the first to use inclusions made from scratch. It opens up possibilities we never before imagined, and R&D goes into overdrive.
As R&D starts to cook up test batches of white chocolate inclusions, a small ripple in our community starts to make waves.
Customers and fans are baking with Quest Bars. Quest-inspired recipes pour in from kitchens around the country. And we’re not talking about one or two. It’s hundreds.
Suddenly it’s not us huddled around the kitchen island trying to invent something new, it’s our community. To them, it’s not only a protein bar. It’s an ingredient. They use our bars to bake cookies, cake, and crepes. We pick a few out and give them a try. Our reaction: “Whoa! This is delicious!”
Now we are the ones being inspired. We dedicate a team in R&D to review and test recipes as well as create our own. We begin to share 15-second recipes on Instagram to get the community in on this exciting new way to cheat clean in the kitchen. We finalize another flavor: White Chocolate Raspberry and get a call from GNC.
They congratulate us on being named Protein Bar of the Year for the second year in a row. We’re over the moon. Once again reminded that none of could’ve been possible without the continual support from our friends and fans in this community.
Orders for Quest Bars are coming in from all over the world. Logistically we start analyzing what it means to be an international company. A few calls come in from Vitamin Shoppe and BodyBuilding.com We are the bestselling protein bar. “Can this really be happening?” we wonder.
Double Chocolate Chunk arrives. Meanwhile more and more recipes pop up on Facebook, YouTube and cooking blogs. So we collect some of our favorites and shoot an original series with Cassey Ho called Cooking Clean with Quest. It’s a hit.
As demand increases we realize it’s time to move again. Production takes over a 100,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. Corporate headquarters finally gets its own building.
Just one year after inclusions changed the game with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, we blend two inclusions into one bar: Cookies & Cream. Both made completely from scratch.
As we get settled into our respective facilities, we shoot and launch Cooking Clean with Quest Season 2. Our online community approaches 1 million. And we start testing a handful of “secret products” that move us beyond the “protein bar” category.
For us, it’s still Day One. We push forward daily on our mission to transform global health and eliminate obesity for good. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to share this quest with you.