TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The popularity of Clif Bars has hastened the addition of a third production line at the company’s Twin Falls bakery, which began operations last June.
The additional third production line to make energy and nutrition bars was in the plan from the start, but the company didn’t anticipate starting it as quickly as it did.
Strong demand, however, pushed the launch ahead of schedule, said Dale Ducommun, general manager of the bakery.
The bakery produces the original Clif Bar energy bar, Clif Kids ZBars and the company’s newest product, Clif Nut Butter Filled bars.
“Business is good, demand is good. People are liking our organic bars and can’t get enough,” Ducommun said.
Energy bars in general are a hot item, but Clif Bar’s use of organic ingredients is a big draw. The company aspires to use 100 percent organic ingredients and is currently able to source 74 percent of its ingredients organically. Some of its 19 brands and 150 products are 100 percent organic.
“We will continue to strive to expand that,” said Dean Mayer, Clif Bar communications manager.
In 2016, the company used 113 million pounds of organic ingredients and has used 750 million pounds since 2013.
The company’s products would be 100 percent organic across the board if supplies were available, Ducommun said.
The pressure is on for organic products, but the availability of organic ingredients isn’t keeping up. That’s why Clif Bar is excited to be working with its first local grower in Idaho, Mayer said.
The company uses a lot of fruits, nuts and rolled oats and not all of those fit with Idaho’s climate, he said.
Clif Bar is continuing to work with local organic growers to help figure out which organic crops will work in their rotations. So far oats are the best suited for local production that matches Cliff Bar’s needs, Ducommun said.
The company is interested in evaluating seed cultivars for oats that will perform well in Idaho. It would be a multi-year project, but that’s what Cliff Bar does — partner with local growers to help them be more profitable in their operations, he said.
The company held a conference for local organic growers last year and is continuing efforts to support growers and expand a local supply network.
“There are more local organic growers than I would have expected,” Ducommun said.
The company’s expansion of a third production line brought 75 new full-time employees to the Clif Bar ranks, upping the Twin Falls count to 290. The family- and employee-owned company — based in Emeryville, Calif., with another bakery in Indianapolis — employs a total of 1,090.
It markets its products in the U.S., Canada and 14 other countries, including Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom. Its bars can be found in grocery stores, natural food stores, sports specialty retailers, mass and club stores, convenience stores, drugstores and online.
Founded in 1992, the company celebrates 25 years in business this year and a 10-year compounded annual growth rate in revenues of 18 percent.